Instagram started as a photo-sharing app…
To get discovered on Instagram, all you needed to do was take some nice photos and add a few hashtags. People would find you.
Then came video content. Stories, IGTV, and Reels.
With every new feature and content type, the Instagram discovery algorithms became more complex. In simple terms, it’s harder to get your content seen on the social network.
Despite the evolution of how Instagram works, one thing has remained constant – engagement is critical. The more likes, clicks, and comments you get on your posts, the more people will discover them – regardless of whether it’s a Reel, a Story, a video, or a photo.
What are the best ways to get more engagement on your Instagram posts? Here are five tactics that work better than most.
1. Comment Contests
Comment Contests are a great choice if you’re looking to incentivize engagement on your Instagram posts. The winner of a giveaway is randomly selected from all the individuals who comment on a social media post.
By design, they encourage users to interact with your social media post by commenting. They’re also super-easy to set up and simple for participants to enter.
Here is an example from Scratch Bakeshop of just how simple these contests can be. To enter, Instagram users simply need to tag a friend in the comments. The concept is highlighted in the photo in big letters to draw even more attention to the post.
Did you know that January is “National Soup Month?” Niman Ranch did, and they used it to their advantage in this comment contest. A little trick from this giveaway worth mentioning is that they gave away additional contest entries the more friends you tagged in the comments. That’s bound to skyrocket engagement and reach!
You can get started with one of ShortStack’s giveaway templates if you want to set up a comment contest quickly. The ShortStack software also collects entries and automatically picks a winner at random. Saving you a ton of manual work sorting through Instagram comments.
2. Story Re-Shares
While many users post videos as Stories, they can also be static images, text, or other animated content. You can even easily re-share one of your posts as a story to increase its visibility.
For example, Tim Hortons re-shared its Valentine’s Day contest as a Story to drive more people to enter:
The great thing about Stories – and using them to feature your posts – is that they are at the top of the screen when you open Instagram. They’re impossible to miss for people browsing content.
Collaborations with complementary Instagram accounts – such as influencers or other brands – are extremely popular at the moment. Ambassador programs, user-generated content, shoutouts, takeovers, and partner posts are all excellent ways to increase your reach and grow your following.
But you can also ramp up the engagement of your posts with collaborations. For example, if you’re running a giveaway or want to increase the visibility of a particular post, work with a close-knit group of ambassadors to share that post via Stories. From Stories, their followers can click on the post to see more. Inevitably, this drives extra eyes to your post and the chance of a like or comment improves.
Videos get over 20% more interactions than image posts and over 18% more than carousels. That’s not even considering the power of Reels, which have almost 10x the reach of static images in many instances.
What does this have to do with increasing engagement on your Instagram posts? Well, simply put, you should aim to create more video content. How-to videos, behind-the-scenes footage, and product demos are all great.
But you can also jump on the Reels bandwagon by easily re-sharing your Reels to your feed. There is a button that does this automatically when you create a Reel.
Below is a screenshot of Burberry’s Instagram feed, for example. This is what it looks like when you re-share a Reel to your feed.
By re-sharing your posts to Stories, Reels to your feed, and cross-pollinating your Instagram profile, it works in unison to reach more people and increase your engagement.
I probably sound like a broken record if you’ve read any of my other blogs about Instagram… but Games are a must-have for your strategy if you want to increase engagement.
It makes sense. Just like quizzes, brainteasers, and other interactive experiences, Instagram games are built for interaction. By nature, your followers want to comment in response to a question or to show off their answer to a puzzle.
Here are two examples of Instagram game posts from In-N-Out Burger:
You’ll notice that both make it extremely easy for Instagram users to get involved. The “Trivia” question comes with four alternatives and insinuates that viewers should put their answers in the comments. The word scramble has a similar effect – it’s fun to share your result with others and get involved with the conversation.
This Planet Fitness word scramble is another example – it has over 1,300 comments compared to the 200-400 comments they typically get on a post!
Not sure where to start when it comes to Instagram Games? You could use a tool like Canva to get some inspiration. They have a range of image templates that are pre-built with game ideas.
Or, you can even buy bundles of Canva game idea templates from Creative Market.
The truth is, engagement on Instagram is always changing. Tactics that work well one day may not the next. Right now, the Reels are hot. How long that lasts, we don’t know!
However, the core of the tactics in this article will never go out of fashion. The addictive nature of giveaways is part of our makeup – people will always want the chance to win something. Games fall into the same bucket.
The idea of working with like-minded partners to spread your reach and re-sharing your best content to other channels will also survive the test of algorithm changes. After all, Instagram wants people to stay on its platform for longer, high-quality content helps them achieve that and, they will reward you for it.