How to Increase Your Instagram Followers & Engagement

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One of the biggest challenges with social media is figuring out how to get more engagement. You're putting all this effort into creating content, and you want more peeps to see it! If you're getting less activity than you'd like, here's how to increase your Instagram followers and engagement. 

Post what your audience actually wants.

First and foremost - you need to understand your audience and post genuinely awesome content. Otherwise you're just boring and even with all the marketing in the world, if your content sucks why would you get more followers?

Regardless of the platform or and endless string of algorithm updates just ask yourself… who is your customer, and what do they want? Then GIVE it to them! Instagram is a beautiful, artistic and visually-pleasing platform. Combine those beautiful visuals with useful content and you’ll win.

Use creative captions.

The image or video you post is the most important thing, but the caption also makes a big difference. It should support the image, and clearly reflect your brand voice.

The actual length of the caption is not that important. You can have a massive caption if it’s relevant like a recipe. Or you can have a powerful, emotionally moving image with just 3 words. It’s about the context.

It’s worth noting that once your caption hits a certain number of characters, it becomes shortened and the user has to press the option see more, so it doesn’t really hurt to have a long one. If they don’t want to read it, they can simply view the picture and move on. The only time you wouldn’t post a long caption is when it’s not offering value.

Reverse engineer the best in the world.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Who is the BEST in the world at what your business does? What accounts have the biggest following when it comes to your niche? Hunt them down, and take notes on what they’re doing.


I do this for every client. I look at the best in the world, study each account, write down the key things they have in common and then put our own spin on it to create a world-class but unique Instagram profile. For some ideas, check out @starbucks@garyvee@redbull and @natgeo

Be consistent.

The only thing worse than having no account is having a dead account. It looks like you actively don’t care about your business, so make sure you’re posting consistently. To keep it simple, just do one post a day. This will get you in the habit of posting, and will force you to come up with creative ideas. If you want to schedule posts in advance, check out Buffer (it’s free). 

Choose a theme

Hand-in-hand with posting consistently is looking consistent. What style do you want your Instagram page to have? @flatlays is a great example of having a theme. @squarespace also has a beautifully modern, less-is-more style that you can take inspiration from.


Whatever you pick, I recommend using it throughout your entire page and using the same colours, fonts and filters to keep your branding consistent. Nothing worse than a clumsy page with an ugly mixture of different quotes they got from an app!

Use design tools like Canva & Wordswag.

If you want to add some flare to your posts and use text or quotes, definitely check out Canva and Wordswag. Wordswag is perfect for on-the-go editing from your phone, and Canva is just the best fricken thing in the world that allows you to design artwork quickly and easily. Only reason I mentioned Wordswag is that Canva can be a bit trickier from a phone.

Whatever you use - make sure it’s consistent with your brand (tip #4) and use that font / theme each time otherwise you’ll look messy.

Use the right hashtags.

Hashtags are hugely important for getting discovered on Instagram, and you want to make sure you're using the right ones. Find ones that aren't ridiculously huge (like #food or #business) and try to use ones with 30,000 - 50,000 tags. That way it's more specific than something like #mitchhillsmidweekadvice. Sometimes those silly hashtags can be used for humour, but never use it for getting discovered.

Also, post these in the comments, not the caption (otherwise you look spammy). Share your photo with a regular caption, and then comment on your own photo with the tags.

Post at the right times.

To give yourself the best chance of engagement, post at the best time of the day. When is the best? Well, that depends on your audience. Think about your customer. When are they on their phones the most

For some practicality, the most common times are 8:00 am (people on the way to work), 12:00 noon (lunchtime) and 5:30 pm (after work).  

Engage with other people.

This is a two way street y'all - you want more followers and engagement, you need to follow and engage with other people!

Each day, like and leave a comment on 5 posts in your feed. Then search for relevant locations or hashtags e.g. you search for 'Bulimba' to find potential customers.

Like, follow and comment on 10 of those posts. Finally, go to similar pages and follow 60 of their followers. This should only take you 5-10 mins total each day! 

Follow the followers of similar pages

This is another golden tip. If you’re looking for new customers, where better to find them than your competitors? Research the accounts of your competitors (or similar pages) and follow their followers. (Note: NOT the people that they are following. People that are following them).


If they are interested in your competitor, they’re likely interested in you. Follow as many as you can (you can only do 60 an hour) and bring them over to your page. Remember first impressions count, that’s why you need to have awesome content! (See how it all ties in together?)

Be more active on Instagram Stories.

I love Instagram stories. Along with Facebook Live, this is where I am most active.

Social media these days is about being personal, not having an unrealistic ‘glossy’ type marketing like you’d expect to see from an Audi advertisement.

Instagram Stories are a great place for you to be casual. Whenever you have an idea that you think your audience might love, throw it up. It’s like a digital notepad! 

Update your bio link regularly.

Instagram can be a great platform to drive traffic, however you can’t post clickable links in the captions. The only place for you to put a link is in your bio. (And yes, you can write the link in the caption but even with a short URL they aren’t going to type that manually).


When putting up a post, say ‘click the link in our bio for _____’ that way it’s only 2 taps away. You can use Link Tree to have multiple links in your bio, or use Bitly for single links that are nice and short and you can see how many people clicked it. They’re both free too!

Use Instagram Ads

Instagram advertisement is a great way to get into the feeds of your target customer. These are great because you can click a link and have the viewer go directly from their phone to whatever you’re sending them to. Recently Instagram has upped their game when it comes to ads with more flexibility and design options, and is definitely worth checking out.

If you implement these 12 tips your Instagram will be on fire! Just remember to be interesting, engaging, relevant and beautiful. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at Mastered Marketing!

With these tips you'll see your Instagram improve. Don't expect the world to magically discover you - you need to put in a bit of extra effort! Do these things and you're on your way. If you’d like a hand with your social media, click the button below to get in learn more about our services. Happy marketing!

Mitch Hills @masteredmarketing