If you’re trying to increase Instagram engagement, you aren’t alone. Increasing engagement is a major goal for businesses on Instagram: High engagement means your customers are loyal to your brand. They truly care about what you do. And that will only be a good thing in the long run.

Increasing your Instagram engagement doesn’t have to be confusing or time-consuming. With a few strategic moves and the help of an engagement rate calculator, you can know where your account stands and help your engagement go up. Use these lesser-known methods to increase Instagram engagement and build a strong and loyal customer base for your brand.

Posting Patterns

One of the best ways to increase Instagram engagement is by posting consistently and frequently. It sounds simple, but believe it or not, many brands don’t. This easy fix makes a big difference, though — consistent posts can help your followers keep your brand top of mind.

How often should you post on Instagram? The answer to that question will vary based on your brand. Industry or niche in addition to audience demographics all play a role in how often you should post. As a rule of thumb, post one to three times a day. You can adjust this schedule as you go based on the level of engagement you’re receiving on different posts.

An Instagram scheduling app like Later, Buffer, or Hootsuite can help you plan posts and captions ahead of time. By using a scheduling app, you can ensure that you never miss a post. These tools make it easy to schedule your posts in advance — they’ll post automatically so you don’t have to worry about figuring out a post each day.


Hashtags are important for Instagram. Consistently using a good mix of hashtags can go a long way to help increase your engagement. As you decide which hashtags to use on your own posts, make sure you’re using a mixture of big and small hashtags. Bigger hashtags might give your posts more visibility. But the smaller ones are important, too, as smaller hashtags are typically more niched down and can help you find people who really care about what you’re posting. Switch around the hashtags you use on each post and aim for about 12 tags per post.

As you’re creating your list of hashtags to use, make sure you don’t use any banned hashtags. Banned hashtags are tags that are commonly used on spammy posts, resulting in Instagram banning those tags. If you use a banned hashtag, your post probably won’t show up for that tag. Even worse, your account could be flagged for spam. So before posting on Instagram, do a little research using the app to make sure you’re not inadvertently using a banned tag. The following message will show up if you’re scrolling through a banned hashtag:

banned hashtag on instagram

Once you have your list of existing hashtags ready to go, consider creating your own hashtag to add to your posts. A branded hashtag can be a handy marketing tool for you — your followers can use the tag, getting more eyes on your business. One of the most well-known branded hashtags is #aeriereal. Aerie introduced this hashtag in 2014, and years later, the body-positive hashtag is still popular among Aerie’s customers and fans.

Host an Instagram Contest

Hosting an Instagram contest is a great way to increase your engagement. There are a few different types of contests you might want to host. Many brands do photo contests; in these types of contests, entrees are required to post a photo of your product. Caption contests are fun, too. You post a photo and ask your followers to comment with caption ideas.

Other businesses run hashtag contests to give their followers a chance to come up with a branded hashtag. Story contests are also popular. When you use your Instagram Story to create a contest, the contest is only up for 24 hours. If your followers know that you regularly host these pop-up contests, they’ll be more likely to keep an eye on your Stories so they don’t miss out — increasing your overall engagement.

Giveaways can boost your engagement rate, too. In order to gain entry to the giveaway, you can require users to follow your account, like the photo, and/or tag a friend in the comments. Giveaways create high engagement and also expose your account to more people.

Partner with Micro-Influencers

Use micro-influencers to help promote your brand. Micro-influencers have between 1,000 and 50,000 followers. Since these micro-influencers are generally experts on a specific topic, their followers are likely to be more engaged. Studies have shown that micro-influencers get seven times more engagement on Instagram than larger influencers — making them a smart choice for your brand. Partnering with a micro-influencer helps build trust and authenticity with your followers. It also increases your audience by giving your profile more visibility.

Here’s an example of what a good micro-influencer partnership can look like. Athlete Emma Abrahamson posts photos of her nutritious meals at @onecrazedfoodie, where she has about 47,000 followers. Emma recently partnered with Autumns Gold, a company that makes granola and granola bar brands, to promote the granola bars to her followers. This influencer partnership increases engagement for both Emma and Autumns Gold.

micro influencer post to increase instagram engagement

Utilize Call to Actions

Using call to actions increases Instagram engagement rate as you directly ask your followers to do something. There are two ways you can use call to actions on your Instagram. First, add CTA buttons on your profile. If you take a look at HighKey’s Instagram profile below, you’ll see a few CTA buttons in between the bio and Story highlights:

using a CTA in your instagram bio

The View Shop button takes users to a product section, where they can browse the products that HighKey Snacks sells. Instagram business accounts are also able to add CTA buttons by linking their Instagram account with one of IG’s partners, like Yelp or Eventbrite. You can add buttons that say “Start Order,” “Book” or “Reserve.” Then your followers will be taken to that company’s website to complete the transaction.

For example, if you’re a restaurant, you could add a Reserve button with your Yelp account so your followers can reserve a table at your restaurant. You can add these CTA buttons by editing your profile and choosing “Business Information,” “Contact Options” and then “Add An Action.” From there, choose your partner and input the URL of your account on that partner’s website.

Once you have your CTA buttons ready to go, call attention to them in your bio, encouraging your followers to click and explore so your engagement rate will go up. Remember to include CTAs in your post captions and in your Instagram Stories. In this recent post, HighKey encouraged its followers to leave a comment on the post.

using a CTA in your caption

And in Instagram Stories, HighKey tells followers to swipe up:

using a CTA in your stories for instagram engagement

You can also drive more website traffic from Instagram by adding a CTA that sends your followers to the link in your bio. No matter what you post on IG, every post and most of your Stories should have a call to action to help increase Instagram engagement.

Remove Fake Followers

Fake followers aren’t good for your Instagram account. Fake Instagram accounts are mass-created (by people or by bots). At best, they’ll hurt your credibility — at worst, your account could actually be banned.

If you have fake followers who don’t engage with your posts, your engagement rate can also take a major hit. Since your engagement rate is calculated using your number of followers and the number of likes you receive, fake Instagram followers can make that engagement go down.

You can spot fake followers by looking for a few key signs. First, if a certain account has a small number of followers but they follow a big number of people, this is a telltale sign of a fake account. Comments that seem automated or flat-out spammy are also red flags. And a blank or irrelevant bio, profile photo, and username can give away a fake account, too. (Learn more about how to identify fake followers.)

Analyze your Instagram account and remove fake followers by using an audit tool. FakeCheck.co and Social Audit Pro are examples of two audit tools that can clean up your account and ultimately improve your engagement.

Increase Your Instagram Engagement

Are you ready to watch your engagement rate go up? Incorporate these tips into your Instagram marketing strategy to help your account stand out in your followers’ feeds.