Want More Instagram Followers And Engagement? Here Are 5 Proven Tactics

Instagram is known for having the highest engagement rates out of any social network. It even tops its parent company, Facebook. Yet it can sometimes be difficult generating the level of engagement you want.

There are plenty of great tools out there to buy Instagram followers and buy Instagram likes, but I know that some people prefer more organic methods. With that in mind, here are five proven tactics to help you grow an Instagram following and increase engagement.

  1. Engage with other users first

The first mistake that many people make on Instagram is assuming other users will come flocking to them. I’ve found that to rarely be the case, unless you create some truly exceptional content. The truth is that you usually need to put in some effort before you start getting any major attention.

Start by following as many people as you can. I recommend following people in your target demographics, and even your competition. If somebody gives you a follow, immediately return the favor. Don’t leave anyone hanging.

The interaction shouldn’t end there. Next you should start liking posts and leaving comments. Don’t just settle with generic comments like “nice photo” or anything like that. Give them specific compliments and feedback. Show them that there’s another human on the other side of the screen.

I think it’s important to remember that Instagram is, first and foremost, a social network. Users don’t only go there to browse content. They’re also there to meet new people and make connections, and they appreciate being recognized by others.

  1. Ask questions and provoke discussion

Within the last year, Instagram has introduced a new algorithm to sort content. It has put more weight towards certain types of engagements than others. For instance, comments are considered more valuable than likes, as they require more effort than clicking a button.

I suggest asking questions in your captions in order to instigate comments. If there’s anything I’ve learned from my years of internet experience, it’s that people are always eager to share their opinions. Sometimes they’ll do it without even being prompted.

Furthermore, you shouldn’t be afraid to have a direct call-to-action. Simply asking “tell me what you think in the comments” could be enough to prompt somebody into responding.

Once you get the ball rolling, the comments section should soon start thriving with activity. There’s one thing that I must warn against, though. I’d avoid going too controversial with any questions or discussions. You don’t want to go too divisive, or else the arguments could get nasty pretty quickly.

  1. Post during peak hours

There’s a lot of debate over when the best times to post are. It seems to vary from day to day, and even between different demographics. So there aren’t any solid answers to find, though there are lots of suggestions out there.

I would advocate doing some research of your own. Select a decent-sized sampling of users within your target audience, and monitor their activity for at least a few weeks. The findings from this investigation should give you a better idea of when to post to reach the most users at once.

Feel free to experiment a little. If a certain time doesn’t seem to be yielding enough engagement, then you don’t have to stick with it. As I said, none of this is exactly concrete. Sometimes it takes awhile to find the sweet spot. Just stay diligent and keep trying until you find something that works for you.

Don’t forget to constantly check your analytics too. That will help with comparing results and adjusting approaches.

  1. Have a strong hashtag strategy

Hashtags are the key to getting discovered on Instagram. Trust me when I say that every post should have a boatload of hashtags attached to it. Without any hashtags, nobody would be able to find your content organically.

However, I wouldn’t advise using just any hashtags. They should be relevant to the content of the post. If the tags doesn’t reflect what’s in the photo or video, then their usage will be dismissed as spam.

Furthermore, the choice of hashtags should be specific whenever possible. That’s because the more generic hashtags tend to be flooded with content. It’s easier to get noticed in the search results of the more niche hashtags.

Pay attention to which hashtags your followers use. This will increase the chances of being seen by users of similar demographics. Also, include a unique branded hashtag that can be traced back to your account. It might encourage others to use it, which will bring more viewers to your page.

  1. Hold contests and giveaways

Never underestimate the drawing power of free prizes. A particularly appealing contest or giveaway will bring all sorts of people out of the woodwork. That’s because it’s a low risk and high reward scenario.

There should be some requirements for participants to enter, though. I’d ask for them to follow your account, like your post, and leave a comment in order to qualify. Also, if it’s a contest where users are submitting content, there should be a branded hashtag for them to use.

This is also a prime opportunity to work with an influencer. Perhaps you can send them some products to give away on their account. Make sure they remember to mention your Instagram handle, to guide their followers towards checking out your account.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.