Five Ways to Get More Engagement on Instagram

May 2, 2020

Do you want to know the true measure of success on your business Instagram account? Hint: it’s not the number of followers you have.

Success on Instagram is measured by engagement from your followers. Likes, comments, saves, shares, & story interactions count as engagement.

Follower Count < Engagement Rate

While it’s tempting to chase high follower counts (because, at face value, it looks & feels like “success”), driving engagement is the key to gaining a loyal following & building a community that actually supports your business off of the app. The folks who show up to engage with your content on Instagram will be the ones who are most likely to buy what you’re selling & who support your organization in real life.

Think about it. Would you rather have 10,000 followers who just scroll by your content, never liking, comment, or sharing your posts? Or would you rather have 1,000 followers who regularly show up to have a conversation about your content?

Engagement takes time & effort

It’s an unofficial secret that I’m the worker bee serving up content for the buzzing community over on the East Berlin Instagram ( I research the town’s history, write content, take & edit photos, & intentionally engage with my community of nearly 1,000 followers. I manage this account (along with the Facebook & website) as a fun way to improve my writing, photography, get to know my local neighbors, & test social media strategies to serve Humble Design Shop’s clients better.

I am intentional about putting a great deal of time & care into curating that feed, and the engagement rate is holding steady at 13%.

The average engagement rate on Instagram is only 1-3%. If I can surpass the average by 10%, so can you. And I’m about to tell you how to do it. But, first, you should find your current Instagram engagement rate so you have a point of reference to improve it.

Calculate your engagement rate

To calculate your Instagram engagement rate, add up the likes on posts #4 through #10, divide by 7 posts to get the average number of likes per post. Then, divide that average by your number of followers on the account to get the engagement rate. Move the decimal two spots to the right for the percentage.

Here’s what that calculation looks like for the East Berlin Instagram:

875 (total likes on posts 4-10) / 7 (posts) = 125 (average likes)
125 (average likes) / 991 (followers on the account) = 13%

Now that you know your engagement rate, let’s dive head first into my list of five ways to can get more engagement on Instagram …

5 ways I encourage my Instagram community to engage with my content:

  1. I publish content that delights, informs, & inspires my audience. I delight by capturing & editing eye-catching photos. I inform with historical details never before shared on the Internet. I inspire by sharing moving quotes or nostalgic, historic photos.
  2. I include a call to action or ask a question in my captions. If there’s not a clear conversation to join, your audience won’t know how they can engage. Here are a few examples I’ve used on my posts: 
    • Do you take the main roads or back roads? Let us know in the comments!
    • Do you know when this happy little home was built?
    • What’s the first thing you’re going to do when we resume our normal social lives? Let us know in the comments!
    • What’s your favorite thing about East Berlin?
  3. In Instagram Stories, I use the stickers to ask a question, to host a poll, or share a quiz. These stickers prompt your followers to give personal feedback in a fun way.
  4. I respond to all comments. Why would your community want to join a one-sided conversation? Check back on your post after publishing & respond to comments with actual words. I strive to use at least four words in my responses to comments: “Thanks so much for sharing!”
  5. I like, share, & comment on other businesses’ posts. I hope that this time in isolation has shown that community is immensely better than competition. I promise you, there are more than enough Instagram followers & more than enough customers to go around for everyone. Lifting up others (even businesses in your industry) encourages them to do the same for you, which will give your account more exposure. And if they don’t do the same for you? Well, that’s on them & that’s not your business — literally & figuratively.

Those are my 5 tried & true tips for getting more engagement on your posts! I share this guide so you can better serve, support, & connect with your Instagram community. One word of caution … your Instagram community is smart & they can smell a fake from a mile away, so they’ll quickly catch on if you engage solely for the boost it gives your account.

I can’t wait to see the conversations you start on your next post! Feeling proud? Take a screenshot of your buzzing comment section & DM it to Humble Design Shop on Instagram (@humbledesignshop) so we can give you a virtual high-five!

Have you put these tips into practice on Instagram & are still hearing crickets? Bummer. Drop a line or two in an email to Andrea at for a few more personalized tips to improve your Instagram game.