Three Tips To Grow Your Business Instagram’s Audience and Engagement

Watch, Learn & Grow with Modern Millie
Bailey Maybray
Bailey Maybray


Every month, Instagram sees 1B+ people share pictures, videos, and more. The social platform offers a gold mine of opportunities for business — yet 93% of small businesses report struggling with basic social media.

A person jots down notes.

Online educator and YouTuber Modern Millie breaks down five tips on how your small business can leverage the Instagram algorithm, increase engagement, and grow your following. Check out three of them below.

And for more tips on creating a killer social media presence, go to the HubSpot YouTube Network, a video destination for entrepreneurs and business leaders.

1. Pick a specific goal and stick with it

Determining a specific goal will help drive your actions on the platform. For example, your goals could be:

  • Grow your following on the platform
  • Increase engagement
  • Make sales and find clients

You can have all of these goals, but select one goal to prioritize. Each goal has a unique set of actions you can take to achieve it, so focusing on one helps your chances of succeeding on the platform.

For example, say you want to make sales on the platform. To do so, you need to establish your authority by doing the following:

  • Create pinned posts explaining your business and your product or service
  • Place call to actions in your bio that lead users to free content, a product, or resource
  • Create highlights that generate income, such as content with affiliate links or posts that showcase your products

If you want to make money on the platform, you need to take actions that achieve that specific goal. To learn more detailed actions you can take for different goals, watch the video for a complete breakdown.

2. Utilize Instagram search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO is usually associated with Google and TikTok. But Instagram also has search features you can take advantage of. Few businesses utilize this strategy, as it takes time to get results.

Instagram SEO involves adding your industry’s keywords and key phrases across your profile, including your:

  • Username
  • Name plate
  • Bio
  • Hashtags
  • Captions
  • Words in reels (e.g., audio and visuals)

For example, consider a hypothetical event planner named Katie. To optimize her profile for Instagram SEO, she may include the following:

  • Username: eventswithkatie
  • Name: Katie | San Diego Event Planner
  • Bio: “Planning your events so that you don’t have to lift a finger and get all the bragging rights. Birthday parties. Holidays. And special occasions.”
  • Hashtags: #eventplanner #sandiegoeventplanner #partyplanner
  • Captions: “event planning,” “event planning tips,” “easy way to plan parties”

By figuring out which keywords to include in your profile, Instagram then categorizes your account accordingly. In turn, it ranks you higher in their algorithm.

For example, if a hypothetical user enjoys and interacts with event planning content, Instagram would know to highlight Katie’s content on their explore page.

3. Take advantage of direct messages

Instagram’s algorithms include how you interact with other users, with direct messages taking priority. The platform does not have any sort of relationship status, so direct messages represent the best way for the algorithms to assume closeness.

In other words, if you want to rank higher on someone else’s page, you should message them. To do this naturally, you can engage with their story content, which already features an option to slide up or react. You could say:

  • “I relate to this so much”
  • “I love how you edited this”
  • “How did you make this?”

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