There’s nothing worse than putting your heart and soul into posting your best images on Instagram, only to find that after each time you post, you experience tumbleweed. Poor instagram engagement sucks right?

I know how it feels. In fact I think we’ve all been there during our social media journeys at some point.

In this post I’ll share my top 3 reasons why your posts are not getting the engagement you strive for and what you can do to resolve it.

However, before you can do anything about it you need to understand why people are not liking or commenting on your content.

Let’s get straight to the point.

The 3 Key Reasons For Poor Engagement

Quite simply there are 3 key reasons why your posts are not getting engagement on Instagram. It’s usually either because:-

  • you’re audience (followers) is too small
  • you’ve attracted the wrong audience
  • your content is not interesting 
  • WAIT! I hear you cry. What about the Instagram algorithm changes? Surely they play a role.

    I’ll come on to talk about the algorithms in a moment but I want to clear something up first.

    Instagram Algorithm Changes

    Whilst Instagram have admitted to doing some changes to reach and engagement in the algorithms, the long and short of it is, it still remains our job to go out and find followers AND create engaging content.

    The changes that took place in the latter part of 2018 were designed to show us content that we care about. Therefore you will always see at the top of your feed content from accounts that you actively engage with.

    instagram algorithm changes 2018

    Okay so now that’s clear, let’s look at the 3 key reasons in more detail and let me know what resonates with you.

    1. Your Audience (Following) Is Too Small

    The Instagram algorithms are constantly being tweaked to encourage us to actively grow our audiences and create content that keeps users on the platform. 

    Essentially that’s how the social media companies make money. They are in the business of advertising.

    If you have a small audience your organic reach (how much of your content is shown to your audience without paying for it) is going to be very limited.

    That’s because Instagram (and Facebook) prefer you to “pay to play”. In other words they’re trying to get us to invest in the platform in order to reach more people with our content.

    That’s the reality of the social media landscape today, but it’s not all bad news and you can still use Instagram effectively to grow your business. You just need to know how to beat the algorithms and leverage it correctly.

    Their algorithms have been designed to minimise your audience reach. So if you have an audience of 1000 followers, only a small percent will see your unpaid (organic) posts. How much that percentage is, is largely unknown but you can check yourself by going into the insights of each post and reviewing the reach figure. Then divide that number by the total number of followers you have. You an bet that figure will be somewhere between 0.5-2%.

    So what’s the answer? Yes, you need to grow your audience. We’ll look at what you can do a bit later in this post.

    2. You Are Attracting The Wrong Following

    When I first began growing my following, I employed a social media agency.

    I briefed them on my target avatar and left them to find my followers whilst I concentrated on growing my business.


    UNFORTUNATELY for me the followers they attracted to my account didn’t fit the profile we’d discussed. Consequently and of no surprise, they were not interested in my content! I was left shocked and out of pocket.

    To cut a long story short, I closed my account and began in earnest growing my following myself. That was a few hundred pounds (dollars) wasted and a BIG lesson learnt.

    If you are not attracting the right followers (and this is easily done), they won’t engage with your content.

    So ensuring that you create a solid follower growth strategy is something not to be ignored – more on this later.

    3. Your Content Is Weak

    It’s quite easy to end up down a rabbit hole and create content that we believe our followers want to see and engage with.

    The truth is, without conducting research to fully understand  the hopes, fears, desires and interests of our followers, you are doomed to fail.

    One of the first things I teach my students is this principle. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER

    It is obvious I know, but you’ll be surprised how many business owners don’t ask ,clients and sales leads what’s bugging them, or what they would love to see.

    My students are taught how to harvest this ,information which proves invaluable, especially when they see it in black and white.

    In fact, I only write blog posts that I know my clients are interested in reading. They’ve told me what their biggest challenges on social media are and they want to know what to do about it.

    Are You Selling Too Early?

    If I dive into many newsfeeds, so often I see business owners trying to sell, too early into the relationship. It’s a bit like asking a date to skip the meal and hop straight into bed! You just wouldn’t do it right!

    If you don’t take time to build trust and rush to dive into the sale, you’ll lose your follower at first base. No engagement.

    So premature selling can also be a factor. A solid content strategy will rectify this.

    It’s not easy selling to a cold audience

    Content is king! Creating a clear content strategy is critical to your success on Instagram. For that matter the same principle applies across all social media and email marketing. 

    Your content strategy will help you decide what to post and when.

    Again this is something I’m passionate about teaching my students to master. Once you know the formula to success, your content will connect you with your followers at a deeper level. However, it begins with you investing in some research.

    So What’s The Solution?

    So now that you understand WHY you’re not getting the engagement levels you strive for, you’ll be ready to boost your engagement right?

    The good news is you can do something about it.

    The solutions you choose, will depend on your business objectives and target clients’ need, hopes, desires and interests.

    If you need to grow your following, chances are, you’ll also need to improve the quality of the content you’ve already been publishing. That’s because Instagram’s algorithm now prioritises content that people want to see. So, ideally you want to post content that audiences want to see and that means getting creative and being different!

    If you’re reading this post, then I suggest you run through both of the checklists below. As soon as you begin creating engaging content your organic reach will also increase. 

    It Pays To Invest

    You will need to invest, some money in paid advertising just because social media marketing is a number’s game. The more people you reach the more people you stand to convert.

    A Note About Conversion Rates

    Without going to deep into what strategy you need to follow, I think it’s worth sharing with  you this important insight.

    The average conversion rate across digital media is around 3%. That means 3% of the people who engage with your content is around 3 in every 100.

    So let’s say you have 1000 followers. Of these you are reaching 1%. That means you’re reaching 10 people! If only 2% of these people engage with your content, that equals 0.2 people! And then if 3% of the engaged people convert… see the issue?

    You ultimately have 2 objectives:


    There’s no secret one size fits all formula. As I said it depends on your goals, niche and your audience needs, hopes, desires and interests.

    However, the checklists will give you a starter for ten.

    In my signature programme the Social Media Profit Funnel™ GOLD Programme we dive deeper into each of the strategies you need.

    Don’t be fooled into believing you need to do all of these. That’s impossible.

    We help students decide which strategies suit the needs of their business so they can ultimately create a personalised social media roadmap to success.

    great IG photography

    Great Instagram Food Photography

    Follower Growth Checklist

    Content Checklist

    • Use Hashtags
    • Use Location Tags
    • Use Stories
    • Do more video / animation
    • Create IGTV strategy
    • Invite Followers
    • Tagging
    • Paid Ads
    • Leverage Influencers
    • Use live video
    • Post QUALITY content regularly – beat the algorithms by posting 3 x day!
    • Post when your audience are online – check your insights
    • Ask people to share your blog posts / YT in fact all your content on Instagram
    • Advertise your account on your blog, in groups on other accounts – always include a call to action (CTA)
    • Run competitions – ask people to comment, follow and tag a friend
    • Leverage User Generated Content
    • Promote your IG account on your business cards and other marketing collateral
    • Do Your Research
    • Review your content strategy and if you haven’t got one, write one!
    • Build meaningful relationships and start interesting conversations
    • Only sell when you’ve created trust
    • Be fun
    • Be innovative
    • Step up your photos and videos if needed – a few lessons will always help
    • Mix up your content – memes / quotes / product news / behind the scenes
    • Mix up the format e.g. live video / recorded / stories / images
    • Leverage User Generated Content including social proof
    • Ask questions to develop the conversation

    If you’re really stuck to generate engaging content, then a “go to” rescue remedy that often works well, are humorous quotes or memes. The trick is to not over use them AND make then relevant to your audience.

    Strong Instagram Post

    Quotes with humour work well


    Creating an engaging Instagram account is not easy but it is achievable. It takes a well thought out  plan and a strong dose of commitment to make it happen.

    You will need to test. Marketing is all about testing. Rinse, re-adjust and repeat

    cool brand message

    An example of an IG post we’re running for a client.

    Notice we are not promoting the business.

    We are building brand equity!

    Remember, begin your re-engagement strategy with your audience.

    Identify what they want to see and hear. Consider the most engaging format and consistently deliver it 

    Create a content strategy that serves and adds value.

    Review the plan and keep the conversation going.

    If you have any further questions or observations, get in touch below.