📺 Stream EntrepreneurTV for Free 📺

8 Ways to Get More Engagement on Instagram Did you know, for example, that images of human faces encourage more social connections with your users?

Edited by Dan Bova

entrepreneur daily
Svyatkovsky | Shutterstock

Instagram has caught the eye of marketers everywhere. It's relatively new, at least compared to old standbys like LinkedIn and Facebook, and is growing at an incredible rate. It boasts a monthly active user base of more than 600 million, and on top of that, has one of the highest engagement rates of any social media platform.

Related: 8 Unconventional Ways to Grow Your Instagram Following

That makes Instagram especially attractive to marketers trying to better connect with their audiences, but anyone who's spent time managing an Instagram account knows that those engagements don't just unfold naturally. You have to earn them, but if you're not familiar with the advantages and customs of the platform, you might feel lost when you're just starting out.

So how do you get more engagements, including likes and comments, on Instagram? Try these strategies:

1. Use strong, solid colors.

Your first job is to stand out from the crowd. All your users will likely be following dozens, if not hundreds, of other people and brands -- many of whom they're close to. Cutting through all that clutter isn't easy, but if you don't do it, you'll never grab customers' attention, let alone earn their likes.

According to a study by Curalate, images with blue as a dominating color tend to get 24 percent more likes than any other color. But images that are dominated by a single color almost always outperform those without one. Make sure that most (if not all) of your images feature shades of one strong color to help them pop out of the newsfeed.

2. Use calls to action.

Just as happens with any other online marketing strategy, if you want to see results, you need a strong call to action. Your landing page is only going to get conversions if you tell your users what to do (whether that's signing up for an email list, buying a product or submitting information).

Related: 8 Tips to Attract Your First 250K Instagram Followers

Instagram operates by the same principle; if you don't give your users a clear call to action, they'll be much less likely to do anything. For example, if you want your users to go to your site, give them a good reason to (you'll have to include your link in your profile since Instagram doesn't let you post links directly). If you want them to like a photo, offer a conditional message such as. "Like if this has happened to you."

3. Encourage discussion.

One strong call to action that encourages multiple levels of engagement is a request for discussion. You could state a strong opinion and invite a contrasting viewpoint, or simply ask your users a question. The goal is to get users talking amongst themselves.

Once you've gotten two or three comments, the comment feed should do a good job of attracting more comments all on its own. Once the discussion is roiling, you can get involved as the brand, and engage with those users directly. Just be careful not to get too political or controversial.

4. Use the right hashtags.

When used correctly, hashtags are a powerful conduit to achieve more visibility for your posts. People use hashtags to find images fitting certain themes, so any hashtags you use can improve your images' chances of being featured in those search results.

However, be wary not to over-stuff your image-captions full of hashtags; if you use too many, or use some inappropriately, you could turn users off rather than encourage more interaction.

5. Include faces.

Faces are the first place we look when meeting someone new, bonding with someone or trying to recognize someone from afar; it's no mystery why we're attracted to them. Faces trigger strong emotions in us, and help us form strong impressions of our environments.

Including faces in your Instagram images can encourage more social connections with your users, and therefore, more ongoing contact. Just make sure to use real people, not stock images.

6. A-B test your caption strategy.

Your captions can have a powerful effect on your users' interactions, even though images take center stage on Instagram. Pay close attention to how the length of your captions, your choice of words and your intonation seem to affect the likes and comments each of your posts receives.

The pattern may not be clear at first, but over time, you'll notice some factors that clearly resonate with your audience.

7. Cross-promote.

If your brand is on platforms other than Instagram (as it should be), make good use of cross-promotion. Share your Instagram posts on your Twitter and Facebook profiles at a minimum, as users there will represent different demographics and will have more commenting and engagement options.

If you network with social influencers, you may also be able to leverage them as extensions of your brand network.

8. Learn to time posts correctly.

I've seen conflicting reports on what the "best" time to post on Instagram is; some argue it's weekdays between 7 a.m. and 10 pm, while others insist that Sunday night is better. Your results may vary, so take the time to learn how your specific audience reacts, and customize your strategy to fit their needs. And be sure to mix it up every once in a while so your account doesn't become too stale or predictable.

Related: 4 Reasons Why Using Instagram Has Become a Marketing Necessity

There's no certain formula for creating an Instagram feed that elicits engagement, but these tactics can help you find the "sweet spot" for your target audience and brand. Commit to taking the best photos you can, post often and experiment regularly; eventually, you'll see the growth you want.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

These Coworkers-Turned-Friends Started a Side Hustle on Amazon — Now It's a 'Full Hustle' Earning Over $20 Million a Year: 'Jump in With Both Feet'

Achal Patel and Russell Gong met at a large consulting firm and "bonded over a shared vision to create a mission-led company."

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

These Are the 10 Most Profitable Cities for Airbnb Hosts, According to a New Report

Here's where Airbnb property owners and hosts are making the most money.

Side Hustle

How to Turn Your Hobby Into a Successful Business

A hobby, interest or charity project can turn into a money-making business if you know the right steps to take.

Starting a Business

This Couple Turned Their Startup Into a $150 Million Food Delivery Company. Here's What They Did Early On to Make It Happen.

Selling only online to your customers has many perks. But the founders of Little Spoon want you to know four things if you want to see accelerated growth.