Diverse group of teenager looking and content on a smartphone
Although most Instagram content consists of image posts, studies show that some other features have higher-than-average engagement rates. — Getty Images/Kar-Tr

Instagram engagement plays a significant role in your social media marketing strategy. It affects your post's position on Explore pages, followers' feeds, and search results. You can use several tactics to boost interactions, like adding compelling call-to-actions (CTAs) or hosting a contest; however, not all posts are created equal.

Although most Instagram content consists of image posts, studies show that features like Instagram Carousels and video have higher-than-average engagement rates. Plus, each main feature offers a few tools to increase interactions. If you're ready to take your Instagram game up a notch, here are the best features to make it happen.

Instagram Carousels

An Instagram Carousel contains up to 10 videos or images in a single post. Users engage with every click or swipe. A Socialinsider survey found that for small businesses with 5,000 or fewer followers, an Instagram Carousel provides the highest engagement rate of 4.9%, with only-video posts coming close at 4.04%. Instagram Carousels are an ideal place to share insights about services or products and delight fans with a mix of videos and images.

[Read more: 5 Tips for a Killer Small Business Instagram Strategy]

Stickers in Instagram Stories

Adding a location, link, poll, or question sticker can make your Instagram Story pop. Fans can click on them to add their opinions or check out your online shop. Instagram reported that "60% of businesses on Instagram Stories use an interactive element in their organic stories — hashtag, @mention or poll sticker — every month." Moreover, in Instagram's beta campaigns, "the polling sticker increased three-second video views in nine out of 10."

Use Instagram Stories to promote your business and increase engagement with these stickers:

  • Question and poll stickers: Gauge your followers' interest in a new product or service, or pick their brains about their favorite activities, songs, or days of the week.
  • Mention stickers: Use Instagram Mention stickers to tag employees, micro-influencers, or loyal brand ambassadors.
  • Add Yours stickers: Prompt followers with a statement, like "best-frozen drink" or "ideal afternoon." Your fans can respond with text, an image, or a video.
  • Hashtag stickers: Jump on the latest trend or start your own with a personalized hashtag sticker.
  • Link stickers: Increase traffic to your online shop, blog, or business website with a clickable Link Sticker.

For small businesses with 5,000 or fewer followers, an Instagram Carousel provides the highest engagement rate of 4.9%, with only-video posts coming close at 4.04%.

Social Insider

Videos in Instagram Stories and posts

Along with earning higher engagement than image posts Instagram’s business page says that "91% of active Instagram survey respondents say they watch videos on Instagram weekly." Create 15-second video snippets to share in your story or up to two-minute videos for posts in your feed. Mix your content up by adding unboxing videos, quick tutorials, or behind-the-scenes posts.

Don't forget to pin your most engaging stories to your Instagram profile using the Story Highlights feature. This feature is excellent for sharing special events, customer testimonials, or top tips about a trending topic.

[Read more: 4 Smart Ways to Boost Engagement With Social Media Followers]

Instagram Live features

According to Pew Research Center, four in 10 U.S. adults use Instagram, with 38% using the application multiple times per day. Encourage your followers to pause and engage in real time during your Instagram live stream. Instagram provides several essential features that increase engagement, including allowing viewers to invite a friend or comment and react to your video.

But, it's tough to manage your comments while speaking to your fans. Stay focused by adding a moderator to your live session. A moderator can handle any negative moments by blocking an account from viewing the live video or turning off all comments for a specific user.

Instagram Reels collaboration

Running a small business is challenging, but partnerships with other brands, micro-influencers, and even friends or family can help. Instagram's latest collaboration feature lets you tag a person and invite them as a collaborator. When you co-author content, like an Instagram Reel, your post appears on both profiles, giving your brand extra visibility and opening the door to engaging with people who may not follow your Instagram account.

[Read more: How to Monetize Instagram: 5 Tips for Entrepreneurs]

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