One of your main goals when writing an Instagram caption is to generate likes, comments, and shares — all of which are considered forms of engagement. When your post generates a lot of engagement, a signal is sent to the Instagram algorithm, telling the algorithm that your post contains quality, engaging content that more people will want to see. Then the Instagram algorithm gods reward you by showing your post to more users, thus increasing your chance for further engagement.
According to several sources, the Instagram algorithm ranks comments and shares higher than they do likes, which makes sense since commenting and sharing takes more effort. That means that you should not only encourage likes and shares by producing good quality content, but you also should use your caption to encourage people to comment on your posts. How can you encourage your follows to comment and otherwise engage with your posts? Read on for some suggestions…
Ideas for Increasing Instagram Engagement
- Post consistently. Accounts that post at least once per day have higher rates of engagement (according to a study done by Tailwind, among other sources). Studies show that posting more than once per day may lower engagement slightly, so you can try posting more often but you’ll need to experiment to find the magic number that works for you.
- Schedule posts when your followers are most active. Instagram doesn’t just care how much engagement a post gets but also how quickly a post receives engagement. A couple of strategies for increasing your engagement in a short amount of time are (1) a good hashtag strategy and (2) posting at the time of day when your followers are typically most active on Instagram. You can find out what time of day your followers are most active by visiting the Insights on your business profile and then use a scheduling app to schedule your posts for that time of day.
- Use an effective hashtag strategy.
- Respond to comments. Reply to every comment and then click on your commenters‘ profiles and comment on their posts too. The Instagram algorithm will reward you for engagement. This practice also helps you to build relationships with your potential customers – thus building a community of quality, engaged followers. Also, if someone comments on your post and you never reply to them then Instagram might decrease your post visibility. So be sure to reply to your comments!
- Take advantage of Instagram Stories. If you’re worried about people not seeing your posts, Instagram stories are the way to go. Stories will show at the top of your followers’ feeds so they are more noticeable than posts. One strategy you can use is to create a teaser story that encourages viewers to check out your latest post for more info.
- Join an Instagram POD to cross promote.
- Host an Instagram Giveaway. Everyone loves the chance to win free stuff. Ask users to leave a comment/tag a friend and share your giveaway on their own accounts – each action is worth an additional entry in your “raffle.”
- Create shoppable posts. Before you can create shoppable posts, you must first set up your business account and obtain approval from Instagram. If you sell any sort of product, I highly recommend you go through the steps to create shoppable posts.
- Encourage comments with a call-to-action statement (see some examples of call-to-action below).
Using Call-to-action Statements
Effective call-to-actions (CTAs) persuade people to comment or take some other action, such as:
- visiting your website
- signing up for your mailing list
- buying a product
- answering a question
- tagging a friend
- using your branded hashtag
- swipe up
Effective CTAs make use of action words. Some examples are: “buy now,” “click on,” “subscribe to,” and “register now”. Include a call to action & other important info near the beginning of the caption to make sure it is seen.
The types of CTA statements that encourage comments are good for engagement – provided you catch your followers’ attention and actually get them to comment. Ideally, you want to convert your Instagram followers to leads (and then hopefully to customers) so CTAs that encourage followers to subscribe to your blog or email list are also beneficial.
- Ask your followers to tag a friend that would like your post.
- Ask your followers to tag a friend to enter your giveaway.
- Ask your followers a question.
- Ask your followers to click the link in your bio for more information.
- Ask your followers to purchase a product (with a shoppable post or direct them to the link in your profile).
- Ask your followers to use your branded hashtag.
Instagram Engagement Rumor
There is a rumor that comments needs to be 3 or more words (4 or more, according to some sources) in order to qualify as engagement. I could not verify this rumor to be true, as none of the sources reporting this have used any proof to back up their speculations. However, if you find your engagement rates to be low in comparison to how many (short) comments you are getting, then try encouraging longer comments to see if that helps. For example, ask a more long winded question that your followers can’t just comment “yes” or “no” to.
Conclusion: Engagement Helps Turn Followers into Customers
Instagram is all about engagement. Engage your followers and the Instagram algorithm will reward you by showing your posts to more people, which means more potential fans and customers. Engage your followers by getting them to sign up for your email list, to purchase a product, or take some other action, and you are well on your way to converting that follower to a customer or client. If your engagement isn’t all that you think it could be, try any and all of the suggestions above and you are guaranteed to see an improvement.
Pssst….see what I did there?! ↑