Your Guide to Improving Instagram Engagement for Your Fashion Brand

Instagram is a giant in the world of fashion e-commerce these days, and likely near the top of your marketing practices. If it’s not, here are a few tips on how to use Instagram to drive sales

While increasing your follower count may help establish validation for your fashion startup, your engagement on Instagram is actually the bigger driver of how many people will see your posts and stories. 

What is Instagram engagement, exactly? Put simply, it’s how much your viewers are involved with your account. It’s the rate that your viewers engage with your posts and stories, through likes, comments, saves, and shares. So keep in mind that buying fake followers is a big no-no because it will hurt your engagement. Slow and steady (real) growth is always going to be your best bet. 

If you want your Instagram posts to get seen, you need to keep working and improving your engagement on the platform. It’s that simple. We’ve built a guide to help you grow and improve your Instagram engagement. Let’s start with a few tips on how to measure it!

How to Measure Instagram Engagement

There isn’t one single right way to define your Instagram engagement. It all depends on what is most important to you. 

Typically, we recommend starting by taking the number of likes you get on average per Instagram post, and dividing that by the average reach your posts get. Consider this your average Instagram engagement rate: what percent of your viewers will like your post. You can also factor in comments, saves, and shares, as these are even higher levels of engagement. You can also use follower count instead of reach, if you only want to know what your follower engagement rate is.

There are many Instagram analytics tools out there that you can use to track your Instagram engagement. Of course, you can also just calculate this manually if you’re just starting out. 

Your engagement rate will most likely look really great when you’re first starting out and don’t have a ton of followers. You may find though that as you grow your following and that denominator gets bigger, it becomes harder to keep up that amazing engagement rate. Don’t be discouraged! You should expect it to decrease a bit, the bigger you get. But there are also things you can do to grow and improve your engagement rate that we’ll cover next.

How to Improve Engagement

Improving Instagram engagement will require constant effort from you, but it isn’t really that complicated! Yes, Instagram’s algorithm is constantly changing and your engagement rate might suffer occasionally. But if you continue to create and post great content, quality followers will always be there. 

We’ve pulled together a few of our favorite tips for improving engagement below.

  1. Write captions that invite people to respond.

Try writing captions that ask your followers a question, or invite them to share a story of their own that relates to your brand’s mission (or simply the Instagram post). It’s surprisingly simple, but your audience will probably be more likely to respond if you ask them a question. This will improve your Instagram engagement right away. 

Disclaimer: don’t expect this to work if you ask a question on every post. Just change it up once in a while with a question.

  1. Publish your posts when your audience is most active already.

Leverage Instagram Insights to see when your audience is online and looking at your posts, and try to publish during those peak times. The faster you get those initial likes, the more likely Instagram will be to show your post to more of your followers. 

  1. Try testing longer vs. shorter captions!

You’ve probably seen lately that there’s been a trend in increasingly longer captions from both brands and influencers. These longer captions are probably resulting in better engagement because their followers are responding to the storytelling. 

Don’t assume that your followers always have super short attention spans. In fact, they might be excited to read more, like, and comment, if you have something great to say.

  1. Ask your followers to do something.

Again, this seems so simple, but it does work! Try asking your followers to comment with an emoji that describes something. Or perhaps ask them to share your post with a friend that it made them think of. 

  1. Post a wider variety of content.

It’s easy for followers to get what’s called “follower fatigue,” seeing the same content over and over again. Just like how your eyes glaze over when you see the same commercial for the fifth time in a row, you can expect your follower engagement to go down if you’re posting nearly the same content to your Instagram over and over again. 

Explore different types of photography and graphics, test video and carousels, and don’t be afraid to break up your feed every once in a while with something new. 

  1. Keep testing and learning from your Instagram performance.

Learn from what’s working, and also from what’s not working. If you’re looking at your Instagram engagement regularly, you’ll quickly start to see trends in what types of posts get better engagement and what types of posts get poor engagement. 

Perhaps your followers like when you write really personal captions about what it’s like to be a new fashion business owner. Or maybe they love really moody inspirational photography of your designs. Watch your engagement and use what’s working to improve.

Are you struggling to keep your Instagram engagement up? Let us know what’s working (or not working!) for you. We’ll keep trying to find and share more ways to help you improve your Instagram engagement.


Marissa Fortson

Marissa is a consultant and advisor to startups and emerging brands on all thing brand and digital marketing. She loves working with passionate founders to launch and grow great consumer brands, with the help of creative, cohesive marketing campaigns. Based in LA, she's worked with companies like DogVacay, Disney, Sandwich Video, Harper Wilde, and NomNomNow. In her free time, you'll probably find her on a hike with her pups or on a last-minute road trip to yet another national park. Say hello to her at

  1. Aliaa

    My recent shoot doesn’t seem to really get people engaging with it. I have no clue why. Is it true that planned shoots with models posing could come up as less real and though result in less engage the and sales? What could I do about it? And what other way could I use to show my products?

    • Casey Cline

      Hey Aliaa- have you tried implementing the tips in the post you’re replying to yet? I wonder if you need a better bix of images, including less stylized, more candid shots? Maybe some influencers/regular people wearing your designs? Good luck!

  2. Vanessa

    Hi thank you for this post, I have a fashion brand which was dormant for a while and since I have started posting and changing the look of the page I am loosing followers FAST In a week I have lost over 30 people and I’m not sure if I should keep going

    • Casey Cline

      It makes sense that you’d lose followers when you first start posting again because some people likely forgot they were following you and no longer wish to. This is actually a positive- you really only want followers who are excited to follow you, because this will lead to better engagement! Keep going! 🙂

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