While social media has been continuously evolving and developing with new best practices, audiences and recommendations, the most drastic changes have been seen over the last 3 years. As the popularity of Instagram has rapidly grown, so too has the number of people and brands using the platform and fighting to have their content be seen and engaged with. Instagram’s recent redesign of their user interface and added features to combat spamming, has led to a decrease in engagement across the platform, with “Reel” views down across the board by 76% in 2023 compared to 2022.

With this all in mind, we need to be clear on what Instagram’s objective is in regular interface and algorithm adjustments – to keep users on the platform for longer. 

Engagement is the basis of life on Instagram. Instagram’s entire business is built on the premise of trying to get users to spend as much time on the app as possible. In order to achieve this, they reward accounts where their content keeps users engaged for longer. The metrics they use to measure this engagement has evolved in recent years. In the following sections, we will break down how best practices for social media engagement and the new social media tactics we propose implementing to help maximise the opportunity on the platform.

14 Strategies for Improving Instagram Engagement in 2024:

  1. Take a break between posts: this technique has proven to be effective with IG stories and can be very effective with reels as well. There’s no set amount of time or magic formula, by taking a few days off, it can allow your algorithm to reset and thus allows future posts to potentially do better. 
  2. Upcycle: take your best content from the past and repost it again. Go back to mid to late 2023 (Aug/Sept/Oct) and find the posts which had the most likes, shares, saves etc and either directly repost them again or recreate new versions of those posts by making slight modifications. With upcycling we almost always see great results. 
  3. Video quality: The level of Instagram reel quality has significantly improved with many people investing more time in producing high quality content. Instagram favours HD reels with good quality sounds and more advanced editing as watch time tends to be higher on these videos. You can improve your reel qualities by using better equipment such as a microphone for audio quality. You can also upgrade from a basic video editor to something like adobe premier. You can outsource the editing to someone else who specialises in this. 
  4. Quality giveaways: Encourage engagement through quality giveaways with prompts to tag friends, share to their stories etc. eg. 
  5. Create buzz through an event: Helps bring the community together and builds trust with your audience. eg. For this month only, comment on your favourite product for a chance to join the team in a special conference held in XXX. People need to follow, comment, tag, and share a post on their story for the chance to win.
  6. Share reels only on the reels page: When you go to post, there is a little toggle asking whether you want to post the reel to just the reels page or both the reels page and home page. Most of the time, this means you may get lower views as you’re essentially posting to only the ‘for you’ page as opposed to your existing followers. But if you have a low count of followers or they’re very disengaged, you may want to try experimenting with this strategy to reach new people. We recently trialed this strategy and our reel achieved over 27.2k plays in 2 days compared to an average 800 plays per video. 
  7. Partnering with collaborators: do a partnership with other brands in the same space as you or in a complimentary space and cross promote each other etc.
  8. Trail different CTA: The easiest CTA for a user is to suggest something they would have already done. Something that is low commitment is to encourage them to “save the post for later use” or to “share it with someone this reminds you of”. We could experiment with more provoking questions that encourage discussion and debates. EG. “what do you prefer, XXX or XXX”. “What’s your opinion on (CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC).” 
  9. Hashtags: Current trends have suggested that hashtags are playing a less important role in assisting with reach and Instagram is instead favouring SEO. That being said, they still hold some relevance so long as they are used correctly. Research has suggested that posting hashtags in the caption rather than the comments can help boost reach. Too many hashtags can confuse the algorithm. Stick to 4-8 core ones. 
  10. SEO: One way to improve engagement is by hiding keywords in your reels and stories by simply dragging them out of view. Instagram still registers them as including your keywords without them needing to be on display for your followers.
  11. Offer value in your content: Keep in mind that promoting your products or your brand is (in most cases) not particularly valuable content from a follower’s perspective. Of course, you can still promote your products and services in your organic content, but these posts will most likely not get the highest engagement. It is suggested you break up your content into 1. high quality, educational content; 2. inspirational, fun/meme content; 3. promotional/product focused content. Reserve educational/product focused content for Monday’s to Thursday’s and meme/inspirational content for the weekend as users are in different mindsets to receive these posts. 
  12. Cross promote across different channels: If you’re a brand who has TikTok or is considering whether or not to explore TikTok, one proven way of growing your Instagram account is to cross promote across other social media platforms. Encourage your TikTok user base to checkout or join your Instagram community by communicating a point of value they may be interested in exploring which is exclusive to that platform. This could be through promoting the IG giveaways/competitions on TikTok (give them a reason to want to check-out the IG page).
  13. While less can sometimes be more, don’t become irrelevant: there is no magic number for how many times a week you should be posting on your feed which is why you should experiment with posting varying numbers of posts to determine what works best for your profile and your audience. Try posting 1-2 times a week for a little while and then experimenting with 4-5 posts a week to cross compare the results and see whether scaling your post quantities up or down has an impact on the growth of your account. Ultimately, the most important thing with Instagram posts is variety. Post a mixture of reels (ideal for growing your reach) and carousels/infographics (great for educational/product content).
  14. Change up posting times: To give your posts the greatest chance of being seen by your followers, post at these times of the day (which, according to Sprout Social, are the best for Instagram):
  • Mondays from 10 AM to 12 PM
  • Tuesdays from 9 AM to 1 PM
  • Wednesdays from 10 AM to 1 PM
  • Fridays from 9 AM to 11 AM

PS. Looking for a team of experts to help your brand navigate the treacherous terrain of the digital world? Book in a free consultation call and take the first step towards transforming your brand’s online presence.

The Brand Architect Team!