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How to Boost Your Instagram Engagement Rate

Content Strategy

How to Boost Your Instagram Engagement Rate

It’s easy to see Instagram as a numbers game. Feeling like the brands with the most followers are always the most successful. While followers are certainly important, they’re not everything. Especially when your followers are dead silent.

What’s really important to the success of your brand on Instagram is engagement. When you post on Instagram, how many of your followers respond?  Here I’ll go into why engagement is so important and how to calculate your Instagram engagement rate. Plus, you’ll see how you can use questions and call-to-actions to boost your Instagram engagement.


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Why Instagram Engagement is So Important

As a business owner it’s often easy to get caught up in the numbers of followers you have. However, having an audience that truly loves your brand and content is far more important. And the way to measure that love is by measuring engagement.

There are a few reasons why your Instagram engagement rate is so important. For one, when your audience is liking, commenting, sharing, and saving your content, you can be sure that they’re real. So many brands these days buy followers just to have an impressive number. But many of them are robots who aren’t manned by humans. Users that engage are sure to be the real deal.

Another reason engagement is important is that engaged followers tend to create content for you. They’re more likely to use branded hashtags and tag your Instagram account when they post a photo featuring your brand. Talk about an easy re-post!

And probably the biggest perk of garnering a high engagement rate is the ROI. Followers that have a relationship with your brand are more likely to make a purchase. At the end of the day, turning followers into customers is the ultimate goal. 

How to Calculate Your Instagram Engagement Rate

Believe it or not, there are a few different ways you can calculate your Instagram engagement rate and the way you do it really depends. The first thing you need to do is understand what engagement means to you. Engagement can be adding up the number of likes, comments, and saves your content receives over any given period. But are all these kinds of engagements created equal? Perhaps a comment is worth five likes. Or a save is worth three comments. The math is up to you.

But, we’re not done – the complications continue from there! Some say you should divide the number of engagements by impressions, with impressions being how many people saw your post. That way you’ll see the rate at which people who actually saw your post decided it was worthy of interaction.

Others say it’s better to divide engagements by followers, finding the rate at which your followers as a whole are interacting with your content. According to Later, this is the most common method of calculating an Instagram engagement rate, so when comparing your stats with that of another company, it may only be fair to use the same formula.

Regardless of which method you choose, multiply that number by 100 and you’ll get a percentage that represents your Instagram engagement rate. From there, you’ll be able to set a plan in motion to increase or maintain your current number.

Generally, a “good” engagement rate falls between 1% and 3% and as followers increase, engagement decreases. So, keep that in mind and if your numbers aren’t quite there yet, it’s time to employ a few tips.

Related Post: How to Beat the Instagram Algorithm

Using Call-To-Actions to Engage Your Audience

Ok, so now that we’re aware of why engagement is important and how to calculate it, how do we get our followers to actually engage? One way is by using call-to-actions.

In simple terms, this means telling your followers to do something. Some common call-to-actions could be offering a promo code in your bio or sharing a hashtag for people to use. Another call to action could be asking followers to tag a friend. 

Social Media Examiner explains that in addition to the Call, Text, Directions, and Email buttons that have been available from the start of Instagram business accounts, now you can engage your audience with even more buttons like Book, Buy Tickets, Start Order, and Reserve.

By giving your followers the option to make a move and engage with your brand, they’re much more likely to use your hashtag, comment on your photo, and hopefully, buy whatever you’re selling.

Using Questions to Engage with Your Audience

On the flip side of telling people what to do to engage your audience, you can ask them questions.

In the caption of your next posts, ask your followes a questions related to the topic of the post. Here’s some examples: 

    • If you’re a vacation planner posting a photo of a beautiful beach, ask who’d like to go there.
    • If you’re a food truck posting a boomerang of your signature vehicle on the move, ask your followers where they think you should stop next.


Perfect for both your Feed and your Instagram Stories, asking questions is a surefire way to get answers, and therefore engagement. On your Story, there’s even an option to “ask a question”. So, take advantage of it.

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Using an ‘Inner Circle’ on Instagram to Boost Engagement

You may have noticed that Instagram recently added a feature to Instagram Stories called “Close Friends”. It allows users the opportunity to share content that may not be necessary for a huge follower base with an inner circle. So how can we use this new update in our marketing strategies to boost Instagram engagement rate?

Choose a select group of followers with whom you have a good relationship, add them to your group of “Close Friends” and produce Story content just for them. It should be 10 to 15 followers in your niche where you agree to engage with one another’s content whenever it’s posted. Using the “Close Friend” feature on Instagram Stories allows you to alert them to a new post and only those followers will see it.

Now, this shouldn’t be an obvious “like for like” pod. It should be treated more like a private invitation to your amazing content with an understanding that they’ll provide engagement.

Plus, people who feel appreciated and like they’re part of an elite or secret club will be even more motivated to continue engaging with your brand, so feel free to add any special customers to that list if you feel so inclined. Even if you don’t have an agreement, it’s more likely they’ll interact knowing that they’re a “Close Friend” of your brand.


😎 When it comes to engaging your audience, the sky’s the limit. Get creative and think about what encourages you to engage with other Instagram accounts.

🌵 With new and exciting features being added all the time, there’s sure to be a way to really interact with those who love your brand.


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😍 Want to become a guest contributor for Social Circle? We’re currently accepting guest contributors for this blog. If you’re a business coach or online marketer with practical ideas to grow an online business, we’d love to hear from you. Send an email to info[at]socialcircleinc.com for more details.

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I'm Jacinta — branding expert, web designer, and owner behind Social Circle, a full service creative studio dedicated to helping ambitious female entrepreneurs launch the business of their dreams with ease. 


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