How to Increase Engagement on Instagram

15 Secrets on How To Increase Engagement on Instagram in 2021

Sure, followers are important on Instagram, but it’s still just a vanity metric. However, if you want your Instagram to take off like our CEO Larry Kim’s Instagram account has in the past month, you need to learn how to increase engagement on Instagram. 

Because at the end of the day, engagement is what makes the Instagram algorithm happy. 🤗

The marketing metrics associated with Larry Kim’s Instagram, since implementing the secrets you’re about to learn in this article, are absolutely bonkers: 

  • Profile visits are up 255% in the last month.
  • Website Taps are up 249% per month.
  • Thousands of new Instagram followers coming in organically each week.
  • His DM inbox is exploding with messages using the same word over and over 🤷‍♂️
  • Impressions are up 170% per month.

The point is, everything is blowing up from impressions, to account activity, to website taps — all of it. 🚀

And it’s not just followers. As I just mentioned, Larry’s Instagram DM inbox is receiving thousands of new messages every week. The truly crazy part is that these are not random automated messages. The DMs Larry is receiving have keywords in them that Larry himself specified in a post or on another social channel.  

Plus, he’s getting messages from major influencers, supermodels, billionaires like Grant Cardone, and some celebrities that I’m not even sure I’m allowed to mention in this article 🤪.

So, what on Earth is going on here? 🤷‍♂️

Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to cover in this article. From the strategies Larry is using, to the new Instagram tools that (at the time I’m writing this) I guarantee the majority of Instagrammers haven’t been made aware of, yet. 

So get ready because you’re going to learn all of the “non-obvious, but totally legal” ways to grow engagement on Instagram in 2021.

15 Ways to Increase Instagram Engagement in 2021

  1. Instantly reply to mentions and add a link to Instagram Stories.
  2. Beat the Instagram algorithm by writing longer captions.
  3. Create an Instagram welcome message.
  4. Start conversations with the different Instagram Story Stickers.
  5. Automatically reply to Instagram DMs (direct message).
  6. Create content that’s “saveable” for Instagram users.
  7. Manage Instagram DMs with live chat tools & the OmniChatⓇ Inbox.
  8. Create a lead generation funnel from the new Clubhouse app.
  9. Instantly reply to comments on posts with Instagram Comment Autoresponders.
  10. Use actionable Instagram hashtags to boost engagement.
  11. Learn how to do Reels on Instagram like a pro.
  12. Optimize your Instagram page for SEO.
  13. Run Instagram Click-to-Messenger ad campaigns.
  14. Partner with micro-influencers to create brand authenticity.
  15. Choose the best marketing tools for Instagram.

Now, let’s dive into the 15 best ways to increase engagement on Instagram in 2021!

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#1. Instantly Reply to Mentions & Add a Link to Instagram Stories to Increase Instagram Engagement

71% of US businesses are on Instagram, which is significant of course, but not on the same level as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. 

One of the reasons for this is the challenge to drive traffic from Instagram to your website, due to the lack of places you can share clickable links. 

However, that’s all changing in 2021, which is why we’ve moved’s Instagram Stories tool to the the #1 spot on this list. 

The Instagram Story Mention tool allows you to do two things: 

  1. Instantly reply any time you or your business are mentioned in any Instagram Story.
  2. Add a link to Instagram Stories.

For any experienced Instagram marketer, the value of these two functions is jumping out at you right now. And for those not quite as experienced with Instagram marketing, you’re about to find out why.

Prior to this tool’s existence, you would have to hire a virtual assistant or you yourself would need to manually search for and individually thank or comment on any Instagram Story you were mentioned in. 

Now, you only need to set up the Instagram Story Mention tool once, and let do the work for you. 

After you have your reply nailed down and tested, every time someone mentions you or your brand on Instagram, you’ll be able to thank them for sharing (if that’s what you’d like to do), and drive traffic to your website by providing a link for them to click on. 

Here’s an example of what it looks like after I mentioned in one of my own Instagram Story posts. 

  • In the first image, you see a thank you message drop down from the top of the screen. The drop down is coming from Messenger for Instagram, which is triggered the moment I mention in my Instagram Story. 
add a link to Instagram Story
  • In the second image, you see what happens when I click on the thank you message. It shows me my Instagram Story post where I mentioned, and then asks me if I’d like to learn more, and provides a link.
increase engagement on Instagram by adding a linke to Instagram Stories

This all happens automatically, and it’s just a matter of optimizing your message and providing an enticing offer for people to click on. 

To learn more and to see what the Instagram Story tool looks like in the wild, check out the tutorial in this article on how to add a link to Instagram Stories!

#2. How to beat the Instagram algorithm writing longer captions

Not everyone knows this, but Instagram captions can be up to 2,200 characters long. To put that into perspective, that’s longer than most blog articles — just not this one. 😎 

However, one of the key factors that affects the performance of your Instagram posts in the algorithm is the amount of time people spend on each post.

So, I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.

One of the easiest ways to improve your Instagram engagement is by writing longer captions.

We know this to be true based on a study done by Fohr where they determined just how much caption length impacts Instagram engagement, which showed: 

  • The average caption length on Instagram has increased by more than 100% in the past 4 years, and
  • Posts with longer captions received more engagement.

In 2021, our recommendation is to spend more time on caption length for the posts that are most important to you or your business. Shoot for at least 405 characters or 65-70 words.

Simply writing a few sentences and throwing in an emoji or two is going to help to increase Instagram engagement for your brand! 

#3. Create a Welcome Message to increase Instagram engagement

Instagram welcome messages instantly respond to people who message an Instagram account directly.

You can set up your personalized greeting and even be transparent by letting them know that it’s a chatbot — people appreciate that sort of thing. List out chat marketing topics or provide custom options for users to better figure out what they want and how you can help them.

Here’s an example of the Instagram Automated Welcome Message in action:

With the Instagram Page Welcomer tool from, it’s incredibly easy to nurture people down your funnel and ultimately capture email addresses and other important contact information.

Test it out for yourself on the Instagram page by clicking the Message button, then say ”Hello” (must be done on a mobile device).

#4. Increase engagement on Instagram by starting conversations with different types of Instagram Story Stickers

Last year, more than 500 million Instagram accounts used Instagram Stories every day. And that number is only expected to grow in 2021. 

Instagram Story stickers are a fun and interactive way to encourage your followers to chat and share their opinions and experiences with you and your brand, which helps to create a loyal follower base that feels connected to your brand.

Here are a few ways you can get started with stickers to increase Instagram engagement:

The Instagram Question Sticker lets your followers submit questions for you to answer. Instagram Question Stickers are a fun way to start conversations with your followers and drive engagement so your followers can get to know you and your brand better.

Quiz Stickers by Instagram let you share trivia-style multiple-choice questions with your followers and track the results. When one of your followers “votes” on your quiz, they’ll be able to see whether they got it right or wrong. One the other end, you’ll be able to see how many votes each option received and how each person voted.

With Instagram’s Countdown Sticker, when you share a Story about an upcoming event, you can add a Countdown Sticker that (naturally) counts down to a date and time that you set. Your followers can then subscribe to your countdown event, which will send them a reminder when the time is up and your countdown is complete!

#5. Increase Instagram Engagement with Instant Replies to Instagram DMs

Another major challenge for Instagram for business users has been managing the Instagram inbox and your direct messages (DMs). 

To the rescue once again, now allows you to instantly reply when someone sends a direct message to your Instagram inbox.

Most of us don’t have the time to reply to hundreds of Instagram DMs every day. 

However, the opportunity to scale Instagram DMs is enormous. There just hasn’t been a tool available to make that possible — until now.

Here’s an example of a Instagram DM bot in action:

When Instagram users type in certain keywords, which you define on the platform, you can trigger instant replies that will send to anyone who mentions a particular keyword or phrase.’s instant reply tools for Instagram make it incredibly easy to nurture people down your marketing funnels and ultimately capture email addresses and other important contact information, such as your phone number in the example above.

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#6. Create “Savable” Content to Increase Engagement on Instagram

Instagram comments, shares, and saves are more important than ever. One of the best ways to increase your engagement on Instagram in 2021 is to create more content that encourages your audience to tap the save button!

What’s “saveable content” on Instagram? Saveable content is something you feel confident your audience will want to look at again in the future.

For example, this post on 300+ marketing tools for your 2021 MarTech stack is frequently saved so people can check our most recommended marketing tools when the time is right for them.

Another great idea for savable content is to use the carousel post feature where you can share valuable tips and information with multiple images.

Think about what’s important to your target audience and create infographics, funny memes, quotes, and other content that you know will resonate.

#7. Manage Instagram DMs with Live Chat Tools & the OmniChatⓇ Inbox

Let’s get back to how to manage your Instagram DM inbox, because we believe that Instagram DMs are one of the top opportunities of this decade for business. And it’s not only us who think so:

“Instagram DM (Direct Message) is the single biggest networking or business development opportunity of this decade.”

Gary Vaynerchuck | VaynerMedia

So why is there an opportunity here? Well, ask yourself, how do you currently keep track of conversations on Instagram? Or do you at all?

 The OmniChatⓇ Inbox for Instagram DMs and more.

Doesn’t matter what role you play — marketing, sales, customer support, influencer — Instagram business users have been begging to manage Instagram DMs from desktop computers for years.

The OmniChatⓇ inbox allows you to manage Instagram DMs and perform customer support chat on Instagram, at scale — finally! And you can do so, all from a desktop computer.

Save yourself hours of time every day with Instagram auto-reply bots and turn your Instagram DM inbox into your latest lead generation tool!

#8. Create a Lead Generation Funnel from Clubhouse

Are you on the Clubhouse app? If you’re an entrepreneur or influencer, there’s a good chance that you should be.

However, lead generation from Clubhouse is a significant challenge, and here’s why:

  • There’s no advertising on the Clubhouse app.
  • You cannot send direct messages to your Clubhouse social network.
  • Links added to the Clubhouse app are not clickable.

Okay, so why is Clubhouse playing a big role in how to increase engagement on Instagram in 2021?

Because one of the only clickable links on Clubhouse is a link to your Instagram page. And, our founder and CEO Larry Kim found a way to build a marketing funnel that has already generated over 50,000 leads from Clubhouse in just over a month!

Here’s how to it:

  1. Build a following on Clubhouse.
  2. Send traffic to your Instagram profile with CTAs in your Clubhouse bio.
  3. Have Clubhouse users DM or use Messenger to contact you on Instagram using a keyword.
  4. Use’s Instagram Tools to respond and send traffic to your marketing funnels.

For a step-by-step guide on how to build an Instagram lead generation machine from Clubhouse, read this article: 10 Secrets to Build a Clubhouse App Lead Generation Funnel

#9. Increase Engagement with Instagram Comment Auto-Responders

Applying an Instagram Comment Autoresponder to your Instagram posts is another guaranteed way to increase engagement on Instagram. 

Not to mention a tool that marketers have been dreaming of for years.

Instagram Comment Autoresponders by will dramatically increase the engagement and visibility of your posts because you can send a message to all users who comment on your posts.

But what has marketers really excited about Comment Autoresponders for Instagram is that you can add a link to all of your Instagram posts. 

Wait, how does that work? 

It’s simple, for any of your Instagram posts, ask your followers to comment with a specific keyword. When people comment with the keyword, it triggers a sequence that allows you to send Instagram traffic to any one of your landing pages.

The great thing about this tool is not only that you can send traffic to your website, but since you’re encouraging more people to comment, the visibility of your posts also increases dramatically because of all the engagement!

#10. Use Actionable Hashtags to Increase Instagram Engagement

A good hashtag strategy can be leveraged across just about any social network.

However, hashtags are especially key to increase Instagram engagement.

A good example recognized by Instagram was of a movement that Nike started with their #runfree hashtag campaign.

As you can see, Nike was able to generate over 600,000 user generated posts using this hashtag.

Now, not everyone is Nike, but smaller brands can leverage hashtag campaigns as well. Take Infatuation for instance, a trendy restaurant review site, which has generated over 20 million posts using the hashtag #EEEEEATS.

So why is this hashtag so successful? For starters, amazing looking food pictures never hurts, but Infatuation also creates engaging, geo-targeted content around their posts, such as the following:

#11. Utilize the Reels Feature to Increase Instagram Engagement

Especially with the introduction of Instagram Reels in 2020, creating video content continues to dominate in 2021.

By incorporating more video content into your content strategy, you’re almost guaranteed to increase engagement on your Instagram profile.

But creating video doesn’t need to feel daunting — in fact, video content can be really easy to make and can drive a lot of attention and engagement to your Instagram account. 

Just take a look at how our CEO, Larry Kim, was able to get +10,000 views on his first ever Instagram Reel!

But so many of us marketers fail to create enough video content. Get more comfortable creating video content and using the right tools, such as Pixaloop by Lightricks.

And if you’re getting into Instagram Reels for 2021 (hint: you should be!), don’t forget that they’re designed to be fast and fun, and can be used to captivate your audience with educational content.

Instagram Reels are a great way to experiment with bite-sized content, explore a new creative video feature, and engage with your community.

It’s also important to add structure to your Reels. Here’s an infographic with a structure that’s proven to increase engagement on Instagram!

how to structure Instagram Reels for engagement

Lastly, if you’re going to create video content for Instagram, use Instagram video subtitles and closed captions. According to Instagram, 60% of stories are viewed with sound on, meaning that 40% are viewed without sound.

#12. Optimize for SEO on Instagram to Increase Engagement

Instagram and SEO may not seem like the most obvious of partners. However, creating an SEO strategy for your Instagram account is a big part of how to increase engagement on Instagram.

The two key areas that affect SEO are your account handle and account name. The first is the ‘@’ name that you register with, which should clearly reflect the sector in which your business operates. Make this short, sweet and memorable. 

Then there’s your account name, which appears under your profile picture and should reflect your account handle and industry. When people search Instagram using words or emojis, it’s your account name that Instagram will check searches against.

Insert your industry or a keyword related to your business in the name field to get the most out of this feature. The key here is to think of words people would use when searching on Instagram.

The relationship between social and SEO goes both ways. Not only do you want to optimize your profile for searchers in your channel, but you also want to consider that social signals (such as likes, shares, and comments) may play a role in your SEO rankings.

While Google doesn’t officially confirm that social signals are a part of their ranking algorithm, studies have shown a significant correlation between social engagement and Google rankings.

#13. Run highly Engaging Click to Instagram Direct Ad Campaigns

Did you know that you can run ads on Instagram that redirect users to your Instagram DM inbox?

Click to Instagram Direct Ads are brand new, super engaging ads that start an interactive chat dialogue on Instagram.

Below is an example of a Click to Instagram Direct ad. When someone clicks on the “Send Message” button, an Instagram DM dialogue begins between a chatbot and the user.

When used with Instagram auto DM tools from, this creates a fun user experience that allows you to easily capture contact information, qualify prospects, and generate high-quality leads on auto-pilot.

Want to see how this exact ad works?

Experience this Instagram Direct ad for yourself, here!

Some of the other reasons why chat ads are different from your average ads:

  • Reach people in a direct and engaging way, automatically capture lead data, and send automated follow-up messages.
  • Post-click ad experience is optimized for mobile and chat, where customers would rather connect with businesses.
  • Huge performance boost in lead volume and CPA (cost per acquisition).

Learn more about how to send automated retargeting ads with Larry Kim’s strategy: The Conversational Remarketing Method.

#14. Partner with micro-influencers to increase Instagram engagement

Instagram influencer marketing has become increasingly significant with each year since the platform’s inception. 

Finding the right Instagram influencers for your brand is a tried and true method that entrepreneurs and marketers can rely on. Working with key thought leaders in your market(s) allows you to reach your target demographics and push brand messaging out to a wider audience.

In fact, 49% of customers depend on influencer recommendations. Why? 

The best Instagram influencer marketing is rooted in trust. Because influencers are seen as ‘independent’, aligning your brand with their authoritative voice can add genuine authenticity to your messaging.

Customers are introduced to your brand from a trusted source – the influencer – which makes it feel like it’s a recommendation coming from a friend. 

When millennials are the top demographic on Instagram, and only 1% of them reportedly trust advertisements, influencer marketing is a great answer. 

By partnering with relevant influencers with an authentic and engaging voice, your business can be featured to people already interested and aligned to your niche. 

Ready to join the 71% of businesses now using Instagram?

Head here for more details about how to successfully use micro-influencers to create an authentic brand.

#15. How to Increase Engagement on Instagram with the Best Marketing Tools

Marketing, sales, influencer, and customer support tools for Instagram are finally here!

While there have always been Instagram marketing tools out there, 2021 is going to be a dream year for marketers and Instagram influencers everywhere. uses OmniChat® technology, which means you can connect automated messaging tools to Facebook, your website, SMS marketing tools, and of course, Instagram. 

Connect all of the chat inboxes mentioned above across different channels into one unified chatbox and optimize your productivity. 

This way you can effectively guide users through various funnels in order to experience explosive growth!

How to Increase Engagment on Instagram: Important Next Steps

The stats say it all. Instagram has never been more primed for business growth than in 2021.

Are you on the Instagram Messenger Beta list? We’re rolling out the hottest new tools in the chat marketing space in years — right now! 

Here’s how to get started with Instagram Tools from

✅ Get early access to new Instagram messaging tools.
➕ Use partner code UNICORN to jump to the head of the list!

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