5 Simple Instagram Tips to Get Double Engagement and Attract New Followers

by: Cierra Savatgy-King, founder of Pigtail Media

Social media is a constantly changing marketing beast that has the power to share the heart of your brand story to more people. Your brand experience typically doesn’t start when people walk in your door anymore; its starts online.

At this point, any good marketer knows that importance of social media, but many aren’t armed with the information on how to do it well.

“We don't have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we do it.” - Erick Qualman

Instagram is one of the most powerful social media marketing tools for keeping your brand top of mind. It’s a way to quickly connect with your audience - and new audiences - to give them continuous glimpses of what your brand story is all about.

However, no longer are the days when nearly all of your Instagram followers actually saw your posts. The Instagram algorithm is now a huge portion of how your photos are seen.

This means you may be posting photos, but those photos may not be seen by many people and engagement may be low.

You may be putting in a lot of work, but very few people are actually seeing what you’re posting.

Before we dive in, let's quickly explain what a social media algorithm is. Each social media network (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) has a unique set of technical elements that track and determine how a user is delivered content.

There is simply too much content being created for us to see it all. Algorithms help filter content that the social media networks think we (as individuals) will most likely want to see. By understanding the basics of the algorithm, you can create content that has a higher probability of being seen by more people!

Here are 5 tips to get your photos seen, increase engagement, and increase followers.

1) Use high-quality photos

High-quality photos naturally receive higher engagement. Instagram is all about the image, and you want to be sure you’re selecting photos that showcase your brand professionally and consistently.

A bad image that has low resolution and is grainy can look extremely unprofessional. That is also true for a promotional image when the text overlays become cropped when posted.

Select images carefully and consider color, perspective, quality and consistency to your branding.


2) Locate User-Generated Photos

Don’t have many high quality photos? User generated content (UGC) is a great way to gather high quality content that may have a different perspective you hadn’t considered. By using the Instagram search queries, you can find a plethora of photos that may be fitting.


Once you identify your photo, ask the user if you may use with their credit on social media.

Bonus Tip: Keep your photos looking professional by staying away from using reshare tools where the text overlay says “Reshare” on the photo. Also stay away from screenshotting the image and then resharing. This loses the quality of the photo. Use a tool like Planoly (free option available) to keep the integrity of the image.

3) Make Someone Feel Something

We have become skimmers. We digest news in bite-sized pieces and scan articles. Even major news sites are now including articles in bullet formats to get the main points of a topic across quickly. For good or for bad, that’s where we are.

Your social media posts should create an emotion (happy, excited, touched, empowered, relaxed, taken care of, etc) in less than a second. You must still plan for quality copy while keeping in mind that most people will only read a small portion.

Their reaction (or engagement) is based on that instantaneous feeling someone gets.

People skim their feed, and when they feel something, they take action through a like or comment if you’re lucky.

More organic “likes” put you higher in algorithms, thus delivering to more people and providing higher reach.

So how do you know when a photo is making someone feel something? A simple - but highly effective test: When you first saw the considered image, did it create an emotion for you in an instant? If it caught your attention, chances are it will do the same for others.


4) Using catchy captions.

Since you’re likely skimming this article as well – hey, no hard feelings! – here are some quick examples of how to create catchy captions.

  • Get people to imagine they are there. People respond better to something that is about them.
  • Keep it as short as possible, removing every unnecessary character. The details make a difference in how quickly somehow can feel something.
  • If you really do need to include a lot of copy, start with the catchy one liner. Then separate out the copy in 1-2 sentences at a time with line breaks.

5) Use hashtags for discoverability

It’s not enough just to post beautiful photos with catchy captions. If you don’t already have a large follower base, your posts are likely not being seen by many people.

Hashtags can help your brand be discovered by new people. Get your brand into the conversation by adding relevant hashtags.

We recommend using the 2:10 rule: using two brand-specific hashtags and about 10 or more topical hashtags.

Bonus Tip: To keep from looking cluttered, use spacing between your copy and your hashtags or include your hashtags in your comments.

In conclusion

Higher engagement signals to Instagram that your content is valuable, thus it will feed into the algorithm more, compounding the number of people who see your posts and the enhanced engagement.

What that means? Good content = more visibility to more people.

These tips will help your content be discovered by more users and increase the amount of engagement you receive on each post.

Give your content the time it deserves, because your online presence is likely the very first experience someone has with your brand.

Happy Instagramming!

Cierra Savatgy-King is founder of Pigtail Media, a social media boutique in San Luis Obispo and Austin, Texas that specializes in travel, wellness, and hospitality. She has been helping clients tell the heart of their story on social media for 10 years. Connect with her on Instagram at @CierraSK and @PigtailMedia.

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