With over two billion monthly active users, Instagram is one of the largest social networks. But its popularity also makes it incredibly competitive, especially for entrepreneurs in crowded niches like beauty, wellness, or fashion. The only way to stand out is to create meaningful content that educates, entertains, or inspires your audience.

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to increasing Instagram engagement. What works for one person or brand may not work for another, so you must constantly try new marketing strategies and refine your approach. For example, some users get better results with influencer content than with their own brand content.

But what is Instagram engagement in the first place? What does it take to reach your target audience and get more followers? Let’s find out.

Why Instagram engagement rates matter

Instagram engagement can be defined as a set of metrics that show how people react to your content. It takes into account the number of followers, shares, likes, and comments. The higher these numbers are, the more exposure your brand will get.

The average Instagram engagement rate is around 0.6%. Calculating this percentage is dividing the number of comments and likes you get per post by the number of followers. After that, multiply the result by 100. So, if you have 10,000 followers and get around 100 likes and 20 comments per post, your engagement rate is 1.2%.

This number is a good indicator of how your content performs on the platform. For example, your engagement rates will be higher if your posts resonate with the target audience. That’s why it’s important to experiment with different types of content, from Instagram stories and reels to carousel posts.

Brands with high engagement rates get more visibility and hence, more sales. They also find reaching their target customers easier, building social proof, and staying competitive.

With that in mind, here are some steps to get more engagement on Instagram.

Narrow down your audience

A common mistake in Instagram marketing is trying to be everything to everyone. If, say, you sell dog apparel and accessories, you may be targeting pet owners. The problem is that not all pet owners need or want your products.

Instead, you should narrow down your audience and target customers who are most likely to buy. For example, you could create content for people who own specific dog breeds or small/medium/giant breeds.

Ideally, set up a business account on Instagram so you can have access to audience insights. This will allow you to delve deeper into your target market and create accurate buyer personas.

Experiment with different types of content

As mentioned earlier, some types of content may perform better than others, depending on your niche and target audience. Don’t limit yourself to single-image posts. Instead, experiment with social media videos, stories, guides, and carousel posts to drive engagement.

Take Instagram photos, for example. This type of content can be a great branding tool but has less organic reach than Instagram reels and other formats. Carousels, on the other hand, generate the most engagement but also require more time and work than single-photo posts.

Play around with these options to see what works best for your brand. Then, go one step further and share customer success stories, reviews, and other user-generated content to build trust.

Leverage influencer marketing

One of the best ways to promote your business on Instagram is to leverage influencer content. This strategy works particularly well for startups and small- and medium-sized businesses, allowing them to expand their reach.

First, check if there are any influencers among your followers. If that’s not the case, use relevant hashtags to find influencers in your niche. Another option is to browse the Explore Page or register on Promoty, trendHERO, and other platforms connecting brands and influencers.

Next, browse their profiles to see who their followers are and whether or not they match your target audience. The influencer’s personality, values, lifestyle, and target audience should fit your brand. Finally, check their followers’ profiles to make sure they are real.

Keep your content light and casual

Instagram is a visual platform focused on entertainment. You can (and should) use it to educate your audience, but remember to keep things simple. This isn’t the best place to share clinical studies, technical guides, or very personal views on sensitive topics.

Keep your content playful and light-hearted. Use sticker stories, short videos, memes, and behind-the-scenes shots to communicate your point. Share a link to your LinkedIn or Facebook profile if you want to go into detail on a specific topic.

Engage with your followers

Most entrepreneurs have a full plate and may not find time to interact with their Instagram followers. If you ignore your fans, they’ll assume you don’t care about their opinions. This can hinder your marketing efforts, resulting in low engagement rates.

Some of the most popular brands host Instagram Q&As, engage with their followers and act upon their feedback. They also interact with similar accounts in their niche, which allows them to reach a wider audience.

While you don’t have to reply to every comment received, it’s important to actively engage with your fans. If not, you’ll miss out on potential opportunities and lose customers.

Get the most out of your Instagram account

Getting more Instagram followers is just one piece of the puzzle. You must also engage your followers so they stick around and spread the word about your brand.

Instagram engagement is crucial for building a strong online presence, but it takes time to get results. So be prepared to create and share different types of content, perform A/B testing, and reach out to influencers. You may also need to redefine your audience and rethink your content strategy.

Most importantly, keep an open mind and be willing to experiment. Just because your brand is popular on Facebook or YouTube doesn’t mean you should use the same strategies on Instagram. Instead, try different angles to see what works, seek feedback from your fans, and seek new ways to interact with them.