How to Increase Engagement on Instagram

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POSTED September 02, 2020 BY Elise Darma

Are you posting on Instagram, but everything’s coming up crickets?

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Maybe you’re creating Reels, sharing on your Stories, and commenting on other people’s posts… but STILL feeling like your growth is stalled. 

What gives? How is seemingly everyone else taking off on Instagram while you feel like you’re shouting into a void every time you create content? 

Plus, you know that views aren’t everything. You don’t just want eyeballs on your content, you want the eyeballs of your target audience! 

If you’ve been seeing your engagement numbers on Instagram go down lately, don’t worry – you’re not alone.

Social media has changed a LOT in the last few years, so today I’m going to share tactics and strategies to help you get quality likes, views, and shares so you can generate more traction in your business (without spending more time on social media).

Prefer video? Watch in full here 👆🏽

How To Increase Engagement On Instagram

1. Tell People What You Want Them To Do

The first tip to boosting your engagement on Instagram is to include call to actions everywhere! Your target audience actually wants to be told what to do (because they’re looking to you for a solution to their problem). 

So be sure to include a clear Call To Action (CTA) in your bio. 

That can include things like: 

  • Land more clients  
  • Take 10% off Today – Friday 
  • Book a 1:1 consult now 
  • Schedule your FREE discovery call 
Phone Bio Elisedarma July22 6 576x1024

Be sure to also include CTAs in all of your Instagram captions, and remember that doesn’t just mean to “tap the link in my bio”.

You can also have calls to action like:
  • DM me [CODE WORD] to get started
  • Drop a comment below to tell me if this resonated with you
  • Hit SAVE to keep this for future reference 

And then, of course, you’ll want to share calls to action in your Instagram stories. In this format, make sure you’re giving context to your Story and then wrapping up with a small CTA. 

In Stories, that can look like:

  • DM me if this ever happened to you
  • Vote on this poll to help me decide
  • Tap the link sticker to get more information
  • Put your question in this chat box 

The great news is, Instagram has built-in a lot of options for us to get our target audience’s attention.

Between the poll feature, the question sticker, and the slider, there are so many ways that Instagram has made it easy for us to get our followers to engage. 

(Plus, the app loves when you use “native” features, so Stories leveraging stickers and polls often end up getting a blessing from the algorithm.)

One final note about Instagram Stories: It really pays to be consistent. 

It’s tough to pop up into your Stories once a week and expect the sales and the leads to roll into your DMs. 

But that doesn’t mean you have to live on the app 24/7. Find a cadence that works for you. 

I recommend to my students to post three times a day, morning, afternoon, and night

That way you’re staying at the top of your followers’ feeds, no matter what time of the day they’re checking into their Instagram to view people’s Stories. 

Not sure what to post? Check out this video! 

Including a call to action in all of these ways on Instagram gives your audience the chance to engage with your content, which shows the algorithm that it’s valuable. 

2. Optimize Your Instagram Bio

My next tip for you to increase engagement on Instagram is to optimize your bio. This is a searchable part of your profile and can help make up the mind of your target audience as soon as they land on your page. 

Best practices for writing your bio: 

  • You only have 150 characters – make them count!
  • I recommend editing your bio from your desktop on Instagram.com or using the Notes app on your phone to get clean line breaks by hitting the return key or button.
  • Don’t group your bio as one long run-on sentence OR include too many line breaks.  
  • Make sure there are no extra spaces when you’re writing out your bio. They may throw off the spacing and formatting

As you’re working, make sure you’re really putting yourself in the shoes of your target follower. You also want to put keywords in your NAME field (which is searchable). 

Not sure what to write? Here is my bio formula: increase engagement on instagram

1st Line: The value you give and for whom

Who do you help and how? This is where you’ll highlight your niche and target customers, and make it clear what’s in it for them by following your account.

2nd Line: What makes you unique or different

This is where you’ll share info about yourself that differentiates you from your competitors. It might be: 

  • Your education or background
  • Awards or accolades you’ve received
  • Your length of time in business
  • Your location or city
  • Tangible and numerical results you’ve helped clients and customers achieve, like pounds lost or dollars earned
  • Interests or personality traits that people remember you for
  • If applicable, other social handles

3rd Line: A specific call-to-action as to WHY they should click the link in your bio

What are they going to learn or get by clicking on this link? What’s in it for them? (What we covered in step number one of this post.) 

Step #3 – Optimize Your Hashtags for Instagram

My next tip to boost your engagement is to use hashtags… and I don’t mean just plopping them in your caption and forgetting about them. 


Instead, try following key hashtags related to your niche or your industry!

(For example: #SmallBusinessOwner, #InstagramTips, #OnlineBusiness.) 

Ideally, you want to choose keywords that your audience is searching for too so that you have some overlap with them. 

Once you’ve followed those hashtags, start linking, commenting, and watching stories associated with them.

In other words… ENGAGE.

This allows you to start having meaningful conversations in your DMs with your target audience.

Learn more about using hashtags for your Instagram here: 

#4 – Be Proactive

Speaking of direct messages (DMs), don’t be afraid to be proactive when it comes to initiating them!

These are where the most lucrative transactions happen, so dive right in and start connecting with your audience 1:1. 

While you’re chatting, be sure to stay authentic and really listen to what your follower is saying. If you can solve their problem, AMAZING! If you can’t or if it’s not the right fit right now, be honest.

You have a much better chance of them sticking around for the long haul if you’re upfront with them and don’t pressure anyone to make a decision right away. 

I’ve done a whole video on how to get those DMs and how to make the sale, so be sure to check it out. ⬇️

#5 – Leverage Instagram Reels

Reels are one of the best ways to get in front of new followers AND engage with existing ones. 

In fact, video algorithms will actively work to find you an audience when you use this feature (because if you create content that people enjoy, everyone stays on their app longer!) 

Creating Reels that resonate with your target audience leads to more:

  • Views
  • Organic sales
  • Engagement 

In fact, On Video student Lonnie Draws made $15,482 in revenue in ONE MONTH and generated so many DMs that he struggled to keep up… simply by going “all-in” on Reels.

Just make sure you use a mix of trending sounds and original audio (just you speaking to the camera) to create the perfect blend of evergreen content that never goes out of style. 

If you’re a busy business owner or marketer who wants a fresh batch of video ideas already adapted to your business model, check out On Video

Ready to Grow Your Business Using Instagram Stories?

Know you need to be showing up in your Instagram Stories, but are not sure what to post that will actually make a difference in your business?

Story Vault is my answer to your question, What should I post today?

It’s time to stop wondering how others are locking in clients, leads, and sales from social media. 💰

Imagine dramatically reducing the time you’re spending on social media, but seeing a 2x or even 5x return on your effort…

increase engagement on instagram

Story Vault is a curated collection of 800 strategic Instagram Story prompts covering the four seasons of business growth:

  • Get visible in your market… so you go from being invisible and unknown to “OMG I love watching your Stories!”
  • ​Boost your engagement… so you never get a “crickets only” response to your Stories again
  • ​Get qualified, ready-to-buy leads so you can build up your email list or book out your call calendar
  • ​Lock in chart-topping sales to your programs, products, and offers (so you can STOP aimlessly posting on social media and actually see a return from it!)
POSTED September 02, 2020 BY Elise Darma
Hi, I’m Elise Darma!

I traded my 9-5 office cardigan for
that 7-figure entrepreneur life. But
I’m no overnight success. I’ve
experienced burnout, overwhelm
and ghosting Instagram for the
entire month of February 2019. I’m
probably the laziest Instagram
marketer you know, but if you want
to know how to sell more by doing
less – you’re in the right place.

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elise Darma An extroverted introvert

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Let me show you the
ways. (It’ll be fun, I promise.)