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Updated: Jun 20, 2022

Are you frustrated with your Instagram engagement rates? Are you spending hours engaging only to get crickets for comments on your own content?

You're not alone, and I can help. Instagram engagement is about more than throwing emojis out in post comments, and randomly commenting on stranger accounts.

You need an intentional strategy. There are tons of engagement strategies out there, but this one is a little different. This strategy focuses on nurturing follower relationships because these are the people who will help your account grow.

Follow these steps:

  1. PLATFORM GOAL. Decide on your platform goal. Is it to get brand awareness, build a community, be seen as an expert, sell more? Your goal will impact your strategy.

  2. CONTENT PILLARS. Engagement starts with great content - I learned the hard way that you can be the BEST engager in the world but if your content sucks, no one will engage with it. Build your content pillars and create content that educates, inspires, entertains, or connects with your audience.

  3. CONSISTENCY. Be consistent in your posting schedule in days of the week, and the time of day. The algorithm and your audience need to know when to expect your content.

  4. COMMITMENT. Post when you can commit to engagement. As great as it is to post when the most followers are online, it's more important to post at a time where you can be on the platform to engage for at least 30 minutes.

  5. STRATEGIC. Engage for at least 15 minutes before posting, and an additional 15 minutes after. If you engage before you post, the algorithm is activated to send your post to that person's feed. Engagement after posting is essential for getting the post to be pushed out to more followers.

  6. RECIPROCITY. Train your followers to how engage with you. This is a tip that people don't talk about but it's really important. The better quality comments you leave on someone's post, the better-you'll activate the law of reciprocity and people will want to repay you by giving you high quality comments as well.

  7. TIMED SESSIONS. Set your alarm. On the days that you post, set alarm reminders to engage every 3-4 hours for 15-30 minutes. This action activates the algorithm to keep pushing your content out to more followers, the explore page, and hashtag pages.

  8. INTENTIONAL. Share follower content. If you want more engagement on your content, share follower posts in your stories and mention them with the @mention sticker. Then send the person a screenshot with the profile visits so they see how many of your followers visited their profile. They will reciprocate and share your content too.

  9. NURTURE. Respond to every comment you get, but more importantly, comment on that person's most recent post. People care more about you commenting on their content than if you respond, but you need both-one to stimulate the algorithm and one to build relationships.

  10. RELATIONSHIPS. Respond to all DMs with humbleness and kindness. If someone is trying to sell to you, say no thanks or delete the comment. Focus on getting to know people in the DMs.

  11. AUTHENTICITY. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ask for anything back when you send a DM. If you give a compliment on someone's content, DO NOT follow that by asking for support-or follow for follow. People want to know that you're following because you value their content-not because you want a follow back.


Follow the tips in this blog and be patient. It takes time to build relationships, but relationships are the key to getting engagement, referrals, and ultimately making sales on Instagram.

Antonia Semanskee (Toni) is an associate college business professor and Instagram social proof expert. She has a master's degree in business and enjoys training social media managers on how to be seen as experts, get results for their clients, prove an ROI, and charge more money for their high-quality services.

Toni is an Instagram marketing strategist and data nerd who helps service-based businesses go from having a "presence" on social media to DOMINATING their niche.

Struggling with building online credibility? Steal her Crush Your Instagram Profile Guide here and get seen today: check out her free tips on Instagram:, or visit the website:


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