I think engagement is one of the most important elements to a successful Instagram. It’s even more important than followers, because you could have 10k followers on Instagram but only 100 likes per photo. If you’re trying to professionally grow your Instagram, your goal should be to make people more engaged with your content.
I don’t have a huge following on Instagram, but I think I’m pretty good at maintaining a decent amount of engagement on my photos, and I thought I’d share how I get more likes and comments on my photos.
1. Use hashtags
I cannot stress how important it is to use hashtags. Instagram allows you to use 30, so take advantage of it! I have a post on the best hashtags to use here.
2. Geotag your photos
Geotagging your photos is a great way for people to find your profile! People are always looking up locations, and they’ll probably like your photo if it’s recent or even follow you if they like your profile.
3. Post high quality photos
iPhone photos are totally fine, as long as they’re not grainy or blurry. @kerenzayuen is one of my favourite Instagrammers, and she shoots only using her iPhone. Brighter and higher quality photos tend to get more engagement. Also be sure to edit your photos nicely (AKA don’t put weird filters on them).
4. Like and comment on photos from similar accounts
I’ll often go through random hashtags I’m using and like and comment on random people’s photos. It’s a great way to garner likes and comments back, and I’ve done it at all the social media-related internships/jobs I’ve worked. I spent an hour doing this on my internship’s Instagram and I gained ~60 followers that day.
5. Like and comment on photos from bigger Instagrammers
A lot of people go through the comments on big Instagrammers’ accounts and like/comment/follow random people from there. I notice I get random engagement whenever I comment on big Instagrammers’ photos. Post genuine things like “I love your outfit” rather than “check out my account” or “nice”. No one really cares to check out spammy profiles, because they’re trying to garner genuine likes and comments back themselves.
6. Use your voice in your captions
Be witty, be charming, be whoever you are. People will appreciate that and will often respond to it in the comments! I always let people know if their caption made me laugh or made my day.
7. Respond to people in the comments
Not only will responding to people make them more likely to comment on more of your photos in the future, but it’ll also increase your status in the Instagram algorithm. Comments over 3 words (I hear it’s 5 now, but no one actually knows for sure) count towards the algorithm, and make it more likely your photo will appear on other people’s Explore feeds, therefore giving you the chance to receive even more engagement. Also, emojis don’t count towards the word count.
8. Engage with people you’re following
When I scroll through my feed, I try to like and comment as many photos as I can. Most people like and comment on my photos back, and we end up mutually liking and commenting on all of each other’s photos. This is a wonderful way to make Insta-friends!
9. Find out when the best times to post are
It’s really different for everyone, depending on who your audience is. I’ve read a lot of articles on this, and Sundays at anytime are essentially the best day to post. If you have a Facebook page for your brand, connect it with your Instagram so you can see the business statistics! It’s extremely useful and it tells you exactly what times are best to post everyday according to when your followers are online.
10. Tag brands in your photos
Tag clothing brands in your OOTDs and products in your flat lays. Not only will people be able to find you when they search through tagged photos on the brand’s page, but there’s a chance the brand will repost your photo and share it with all of their followers! You should also find out their hashtags and use them.
11. Don’t just create content – post everyday photos as well
Be relatable! If all your photos are very obviously sponsored or if you’re just posting graphics all the time, I’m going to scroll past your photo when I see it. Also try not to post too many selfies – I usually scroll past it if you post too many.
12. Join Facebook engagement groups
A simple way to gain a significant number of likes on your photos is to join Facebook engagement groups. The way it works is that you post a link in the designated thread, and you like everyone in the thread’s photos while they like your photo back. They also have commenting threads, but majority of people comment spammy things like “great photo”. I stopped using these groups because they’re essentially not real likes, but it’s really helpful for anyone who’s just starting out on building their Instagram. My favourite engagement groups are Instagram Fabulous and Grow Your Blog.
13. Join Instagram pods
Instagram pods are group messages where you like and comment on each other’s photos. The max Instagram allows is 15 people, so people usually join multiple groups. Having all these comments boosts your photo in the Instagram algorithm, making it more likely even more people will see your post! You can start your own pod by DMing Instagrammers similar to your account. I feel like this works better for people who already get a decent amount of engagement on their photos – it’s very obvious you’re part of a pod if you have the same 15 girls commenting on every single one of your photos.