Five tips on instagram engagement

I get asked time and time again about my engagement on Instagram, so it inspired me to start up a blog with my tips, for what they are worth. I’ve built my account over the last two years totally organically and with not one promoted post, bought follower, like or comment engagement pod. All engagement is with genuine followers and for that I have to say I’m a little proud. It’s one crazy competitive platform out there. I’m thrilled for you if you don’t find it that way but I’ve witnessed a lot over the time I’ve been on here to say I’ve seen enough to perhaps prove that point.

Anyway, I’m not saying I’m doing it right but I’m happy to share some of my tips on a new series I’m planning on starting about Instagram. 


So, in this first post, I thought I’d share my five top tips overall. There’s nothing I think that hasn’t been said before, but when I’ve shared these tips with people who message me they’ve always said that they have found them useful. 

1. Engagement

Yes, I know we’ve all heard it before but I don’t mean just liking people’s posts. Real engagement. Meaningful comments. Use names if they’ve popped it in their bio. Even if you really do think it is just a ‘great shot’ try to say a little more than that. Imagine the kinds of comments you would like to receive after you’ve spent ages editing an image or writing an interesting caption.

Also, when someone comments on my post I always reply and, where I can, I pop over to their feed and like and comment on their posts. It’s just manners and it keeps people coming back to your posts. And you never know they may turn on your post notification! I’m assuming you all know about that but if not please message me and I’ll let you know.

Don’t follow to unfollow. I know it’s basic but it’s just not great etiquette. I’m aiming my post at those who want to grow their account in a friendly engaging way and you never know, you might actually make some friends through these squares. 

2. Consistency

I know we aren’t all creative artistic gurus but aesthetically pleasing grids do encourage people to click that follow button. There are plenty of simple editing apps out there. I use Afterlight, VSCO, Lightroom and Snapseed. I won’t go into detail here on how to edit but will do in a future post. The VSCO presets are an excellent starting point though and are easy to use. Again, please drop a comment below if you want me to help you with any editing at all. 


With regard to planning my grid I use an app called Planoly but there are others available too. This allows me to see how my photos look on my feed before posting. This has transformed how I post. Yes it can be annoying when you just want to post something you really like and it doesn’t fit! However, if an aesthetically pleasing grid isn’t what you’re after then just post away! Ooh and speaking of posting away this takes me on to when to post ...

Now for business accounts you will have data analytics and this tells you a whole host of things about your grid and your audience and not least when to post. Now mine tells me that the best time is 9pm but if I’m really honest my morning posts do a lot better, around 7am. So I know it’s a bit of trial and error but get to know when you’re audience is on line. That way if you’re regularly posting at similar times your audience generally know when to expect a post from you. And remember Instagram boosts those posts that do well in the first 15 minutes or so of posting so find your best time. 

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3. Hashtags

Now this is all up in the air with regard to IG. Some say only post 6, some say use all 30. Some don’t use any! Some post in comments and some post in captions! All I can offer you is that I have used in caption, comments, combination of both, sometimes 6 and sometimes all 30 and, in general, noticed no difference. That’s helpful isn’t it?! But anyway, what I do now is pop them all in the caption. It’s important also to vary your hashtags from post to post. I’ll go into more detail about hasthtags in a future post.

4. Captions

Ah the dreaded caption. Now some days we are a wealth of inspiration and wit and the words flow and other times it seems like an impossible task! My advice is to let your personality shine through. That’s what will keep your followers and bring more. Use stories to let it shine too. But just be yourself. A quote I read by K. Towne Jr “put filters on your pictures, not your personality” really stuck with me, it says it all. If you haven’t got anything to say as you’ve not yet had your coffee, tell your audience that (though maybe not every day!) or if you’ve had a rubbish day and not got the energy to come up with a caption then tell your followers. Trust me, the engagement will flourish. People love honesty! In this world of Instagram being a perfect show case of a world, people love to indulge in a little bit of reality from time to time. 


5. Comparison 

Simple. Don’t do it! Be you. No one else can be you. I’m not saying it’s easy and that I’ve never felt it. I have. And in that moment it’s good to step away from the grid and ground yourself again (have a word with yourself!). Reflect back on why you started on here and think about things in the bigger picture. Perspective is a wonderful thing. If this however is something you really struggle with then I highly recommend you listen to the brilliant @meandorla and her podcast on comparison. But remember be your own wonderful self and your personality will shine through and your followers will love you for being you. Never force things. I read some beautiful words by Beth Kirby from @local _milk who said that ‘no one has your story. Your story is your power. It’s your secret weapon.’ How true and how wonderful is that?

So, that brings me to the end of my first blog on Instagram. I know many of you will know these facts already and I apologise if you’ve not gleaned anything from this but I do hope that some of you may get just something from my thoughts. I’d love you to drop a comment below and if there is anything that you want help on or you have a question please either comment below or dm me on Instagram. 

Happy scrolling lovelies and thank you so much for reading. 

Helen x

Helen Sandle15 Comments