August 16, 2023

One Key Trick to Getting More Engagement on Instagram

Chances are you’ve noticed that engagement is down on Instagram. Less likes, less comments, less website clicks, and honestly, less reach overall. The thing is, this is the case for everyone, not just you. And while, to some extent, there’s “nothing” you can do about that, there are some things you can do to get better results on Instagram.

One key trick to getting better results and more engagement is to, quite simply, be positive.

Images and context that create a negative reaction in the viewer will typically result in quick scrolls past your content or a lack of engagement via likes and comments.

Some things to consider in keeping your content positive:

Avoid images with negativity, abuse, neglect, sadness, etc.

These types of images (and videos) are common with non-profits, in the medial industry, and other industries focused on “helping”. The problem is that no one “wants” to see emaciated dogs, or sick people, or negative surroundings. But in these industries that help, they tend to showcase the circumstances they are helping people (or animals) get past.

Instead of showing these negative or sad images, instead focus on the positivity. Focus on the success stories, the rescues, the celebrations, the leaving it all behind moments. Showcase what your brand does for the good and positive results, not the negative circumstances that you begin with.

Avoid negative emotions (sad or angry faces)

Often in our marketing, we want to use images that show different emotions and people’s faces in shock, anger, fear, or sadness. The problem with these images is that they work (lol!) but it immediately creates a negative emotional response in the viewer and makes them sad, angry, or mad. And if people are unhappy, they are less likely to interact positively with your content. They may consume it, but they won’t “like” it.

Instead, consider using an image of someone looking confused but with a slight smile on their face. Or put your person/subject in an environment that evokes positive imagery, colors, and softness to counteract any negative emotions.

Avoid ugly “before” photos as your primary image

This is very common in construction, design, remodeling, health and nutrition, and beauty industries that use before & after images to showcase their product or service. You may want to start the story with the first image of your sequence (the before picture) but I advise against this.

Instead, make the first image in your carousel (or even your Reel) the AFTER image. The pretty, appealing, Instagrammy image. This is more likely to get attention in the feed, appeal to viewers, and make your overall profile grid look better while actually showcasing your finished products or skills. You can make the second image in the sequence the ugly before picture and then continue to the sequence from there.


It’s important to remember that most people are Instagram to be entertained, maybe even to tune out. In general, they want to content that appeals to them, not shock value content that creates negative emotions in their response. If something angers them, saddens them, or frustrates them, they’re more likely to scroll past that content. And in the world of Instagram, quick scrolls past your content or skipping through your content in Stories, is all negative ranking algorithmically. So we want to avoid this!

We want people to stop the scroll and watch our content, read our captions. We want people to swipe through that carousel and throw up those likes and leave comments.

Keeping your content in the generally positive context can help you achieve this.

Want frequent, up-to-date training like this on all things Instagram?

My membership program, Profit Your Profile, gives you that and more!

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