How to grow an engaged following on Instagram

Growth on Instagram is a really hot topic - everyone wants to see their account flooded with thousands of followers and thinks instant success will come with big numbers.

But we’re missing a really key indicator of success if we only look at the numbers: engagement. You could have hundreds of thousands of followers, but if they’re not engaged with your content then that figure means nothing.

So how do you grow an engaged following on Instagram? One that talks to you, shares, comments, responds and gives you the input and inspiration you want?

Let me help you get started. Dive into the video to learn more.  

How to grow an engaged following on Instagram

These resources make much more sense if you watch the video above and read along. If you can’t watch the full script is saved here.

1. Stop worrying about who’s not following you, and focus on who is

  • If people unfollow you - let them! Focus on the people that are following you that love your content. Look at ways to engage and reach those people, instead of chasing people who aren’t there yet.

  • Never buy followers or play the follow-to-follow-back game. No-one gets any value out of this sort of exchange.

  • Delete any apps that tell you about unfollows. They’re not giving you any helpful information.

2. Provide valuable content

Think about these questions:

  • Why would people follow you?

  • What are you giving them?

  • What value are you adding to their lives?

Value can come in all shapes and forms - not just products or services. Value could be:

  • Starting important conversations

  • Insider information

  • Knowledge and experience

  • Inspiration

  • Tiny ideas

  • Escapism

  • The exact image or quote your follower needed at that moment. 

“Don’t let your desire to grow your audience and community be bigger than your desire to be really really good at what you do”

Jen Carrington on Letters From A Hopeful Creative

3. Be social on social media

  • Reply to everyone who comments on your posts, then go to their account and return the favour

  • Always write comments that are more than 3 words long. A bot can write “Great pic!” You’re not a bot - you’re a human being!

  • Visit your new follower accounts and like and comment on their posts

  • DM people when watching their Instagram Stories

  • Make a list of similar accounts to yours and leave likes and comments. Give them support - it will come back in expected and unexpected ways

  • Stop mindlessly scrolling. If you can’t engage fully, step away from the phone and do something else.


4. Be yourself

  • Engaging and being present on Instagram shouldn’t be hard. Don’t try to be someone else - be yourself and speak in your own, authentic voice

  • Try not to overthink your content or your engagement. Just do it!

  • If you want a big, engaged audience you have to let people know you’re there. Get out into the world and let it know what you have to say.


I would highly recommend listening to these two episodes of Letter From A Hopeful Creative all about building genuine Instagram audiences which will add loads more tips and advice to what I’ve said here:

How can I organically grow my following online?

Can I stay true to myself on Instagram while also being strategic?