12 techniques that Instagram Influencers use to engage with their fans

With more than 700 million active monthly users, Instagram has established itself as one of the dominant platforms for Influencer Marketing. In fact, the social network has experienced an impressive growth for the last few years – did you know that it took Instagram only 4 years to increase its users database from 150 million to 700 million? Amazing, isn’t it?

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I am not here to talk about the reasons to invest in Instagram Marketing. In fact, I have never really published an Instagram ad myself. Even my personal account has no more than 50 photos posted since its creation 5 years ago. However, I do happen to browse Instagram an embarrasing amount of hours daily, and I silently observe how Influencers are doing their thing. For some reason, I find it fascinating.

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So, after having studied thousands of posts on Instagram, I decided to share with you the most popular techniques that Macro Influencers (users with more than 100 000 followers ) use to drive engagement on their posts.

  1. Questions

One of the most popular techniques for driving engagement, used by Macro Influencers like ex-viners Lele Pons (21.5 million followers) and Hannah Stocking (10.5 million followers), is asking questions that encourage fans to leave an answer in the comments.


Easy questions like ”What’s your New Years’ Resolution?” and ”Always wanted to be a princess – what about you?” serve as a way to connect with users on a more personal level and engage the audience with your content.

     2. Tagging

Another really popular technique that Instagram Influencers use to engage with their fans is inviting them to tag a friend who feels related to the post caption. It is really efficient because it’s a subtle way to get recommended to your followers’ friends – which can decide to follow you after landing on your profile!

Tag your girls”, “Tag someone you want to dance with”…seemingly simple, this technique is very effective to interact with your followers and receive more exposure as well.

     3. Direct engagement

Another technique that Instagram Influencers use to drive engagement on their feed is by directly interacting with their followers. As opposed to traditional media, Instagram allows for a much more personal and direct connection between celebrities and fans.

Captions like “Answering first 50 comments” or “I’ll be making a bunch of phone calls tomorrow, so slide into my DMs with your number and comment below when you’re done” are great for making fans feel a part of the community by receiving attention from their favourite Influencers – which increases their engagement!

    4. Provocation

A controversial technique that not many Influencers dare to use, but results very efficient for those who do, is provocation. Now, you have to be careful with this one – if you go too far, fans can get really pissed off, which may hurt your authority in the long run.

A provocation post that went too far came from GigiGorgeous, an Instagram influencer who posted a photo of holding a baby with the caption “Thank you so much to our beautiful surrogate“. It turned out to be a friend’s baby – needless to say, her followers felt offended and didn’t accept the tasteless joke with a light heart, resulting in a lot of mean comments and even a loss of followers.

A really subtle and innocent provocation like the one from Inanna on the second photo is naturally a much better choice – without going too far.

    5. Challenges

Small, effortless challenges like “I dare you to only comment hearts” or “Comment your birthday and find your twin” are a great way to make users more active on your Instagram feed.

    6. Giveaways

Don’t you just love receiving presents? Instagram Influencers know that very well! Every once in a while, doing a giveaway in exchange for social interaction like commenting, tagging, or sharing, is a very efficient technique to get followers excited! Popular Influencers usually partner with companies to offer branded giveaways, but many Micro Influencers do it on their own.

Doing giveaways is a great technique for keeping users active on your Instagram feed while earning some additional money from branded partnership. And of course, many Influencers use them as a way to say “Thank you” to their loyal followers.

   7. Partnerships with other Instagram Influencers

Besides from branded partnership, many Influencers partner with each other by making short videos or just posing for a photo together.

These collaborations are a great way to ”exchange” followers, increase potential reach, encourage engagement, and get users excited because their favourite Instagram Influencers are doing something together!

    8. Hashtags

And of course, we can’t forget about the good old hashtags. Do I really need to explain them? A lot of Instagram Influencers use hashtags to define certain keywords that make a specific theme or conversation easier to categorize.

If done right, they can make your content easier to discover and follow, which results in a stronger engagement with your followers. To step up your hashtag game efficiently, I recommend you to read this article by Sprout Social.

    9. Exciting news

Not everyone loves sharing details of their personal life on social media. Instagram Influencers, on another hand, use exactly social media as the perfect outlet to share exciting news about the major events that are happening in their life.

Followers love to engage with content that makes them feel a part of their favourite Influencer’s life, and sharing exciting news does exactly that. 

    10. Meet & Greet

What do fans love more than engaging with their favourite Influencers on Instagram? That’s right: meeting them in person! A great way to get your followers excited is organizing the so-called Meet & Greet events, and inviting them to meet you in person.

However, one thing that you need to consider is that this technique seems to be more efficient for accounts that have more than 100 000 followers (Macro Influencers). If your social account is still very small, you might need to build your fanbase first.

     11. Cross-promotion 

If you are building a solid base of followers on more than one social channel, you have the awesome opportunity to cross-promote your channels. For example, a lot of Instagram stars are also present on YouTube, so they use Instagram to send followers to their newest videos.

Instagram won’t let you publish links directly on your posts, but Influencers have found a way around it – they leave a link in the description of their social media account. On their photos, they just write ”link in bio”, which will take followers directly to their YouTube channel.

    12. Engage with other social channels

Being a social media star doesn’t mean that you can remain inactive while others are trying hard to interact with you. You need to engage with others as well – both with your fans and with other Influencers.

So don’t forget to like, comment, and follow other social media accounts. It will increase your visibility on Instagram, and will make your fans really happy!


These were some of the most popular techniques that Instagram stars use to engage with their followers – so, if you are an aspiring Influencer, take a look at these examples and learn from the biggest players in the industry. Good luck!

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