How to get more engagement on Instagram?

How to get more engagement on Instagram?

The short answer is: I don't know. But this is a question that I frequently think about. How many times have you posted a picture that you thought was amazing, and only a handful of people liked it? The opposite is also true, with some "OK" pictures getting more "likes" than I thought they would.

A few months ago I posted the photo that drove the most "likes" so far since I joined Instagram 4 years ago. Compared to celebrities, the engagement I got is only a fraction of what public figures get in a second, but the high amount of positive feedback I got made me think about the reasons behind it.

With 150+ likes at the time of this writing, this was my most popular photo on Instagram

With 150+ likes at the time of this writing, this was my most popular photo on Instagram

So, what are the drivers involved? Here are some of my hypotheses:

  1. Number of followers. Although there might not be a formula that dictates that, it would make sense that if your overall "audience" is large, more people would be exposed to your pictures.
  2. Time of the day.
  3. #hashtags.
  4. Color contrast.
  5. Faces.
  6. Instagram's algorithm.
  7. Quality of the photo?

After I posted that, I tried to validate my assumptions by posting "equally enticing" photos at certain times of the day, with the same hashtags and the results were... a mixed bag.

If anyone has the answer, I'd love to hear your perspective.

Brazilian, proud husband and father, photo geek, Beatlemaniac. Living in Dublin, Ireland. Leading Squarespace in EMEA.