7 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Instagram Engagement for Better Lead Generation

Over the past nine years, Instagram has become one of the fastest growing social networks. Even more, depending on your target demographic, it may be absolutely essential to growing a successful online personal training business.

Not convinced?

Instagram users have grown from just 1 million users in December 2010 to over 1 billion (yes, BILLION) active daily users this year!
Instagram Engagement

People respond to visual stimulation, making Instagram an easy way to promote your business though pictures and videos. Simply put, if your target audience is on Instagram, you need to be on Instagram too.

But beyond just being on Instagram, you need to be engaging with your audience.

Don’t fall into the trap of just paying attention to “vanity metrics”. Many business owners concentrate on getting as many followers as possible, but don’t really take the time out to engage with them. It’s important to know that:

Instagram Account + Followers ≠ Clients

Racking up followers is one step, but you still have work to do in order to turn these followers into actual clients.  One way you can do this is through improving your engagement strategies.

Let’s take a look at 7 ways to improve your Instagram engagement to turn followers into customers:

1. Show "Behind the Scenes"

People connect with people, not businesses, so be yourself:

  • Share genuine stories, even personal ones
  • Be authentic about who you are
  • Demonstrate why you do what you do
  • Show your mission in business and in life
  • Give a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes

Opening up about your business allows people to create a connection with you and be interested in developing a long term relationship.

2. Ask a Question or Run a Poll

Instagram stories allows you to use the Questions sticker to ask for your followers' opinions about what they would like to see from your business.

Similarly, Instagram polls are a great way to interact with your audience in real time. Polls allow you to hear different opinions from your audience, and gauge how they feel about new products you might want to offer.

Instagram Polls allow you to canvass your audience for their opinions, and then showcase the results. 

Either way, questions and polls are super easy ways to spark conversation with your audience. The more they feel a personal connection to you, the more likely they’ll be to reach out as a client.

And be sure to make it fun. Every question you throw out there doesn't have to be fitness-related. Get creative. Entertain people. Make them laugh. Doing so will guarantee that your audience will want to engage with you. 

3. Ramp Up Your DM Game

Another way you can engage with your followers is by encouraging them to message you directly. This might be the most powerful prospecting strategy on IG, but it has potential to be a time-sucker if not done with proper boundaries. 

In your videos, you can give a call-to-action for your followers to send you a DM with a particular question OR if they want to chat about a specific topic. When they do, ask a few questions to engage them, and then offer to hop on a call with them.


The last thing you want to do is to start dispensing free advice via DMs. If people think they just got a solution from you, there's no incentive for them to become your client. 

 Instead, you want to show interest by asking questions and then move them onto a call to pitch your services.

4. Upgrade to IG Stories & Videos

While Instagram is known for its photos, an attention grabbing video is the perfect way for your followers to invest a little bit more in your page. Not only this, but Instagram stories and Instagram Live allow you to post short videos in real time to engage with your followers throughout the day.

You can solicit extra attention from your audience, and deliver even better content than in your photos.

You can use Instagram stories to show off your workouts, other clients, and capture the attention of your IG followers. 

PRO TIP: Don’t forget to cue viewers by waving at them or pointing to your ear when they need to turn up the volume for your videos. Most people scroll Instagram with the sound off, so there’s no point in posting vids if your audience isn’t getting the full experience.

5. Schedule Strategically

Instagram Analytics and Insights allows you to figure out the time of day most of your followers are online. These are the times you want to post the most, because this is when your audience will be ready to engage. 

Analytics tools can help you figure out the best time of day to post your Instagram updates.

You can even schedule your posts using scheduling apps such as BufferHootsuite or Later so you don’t always have to remember what times to post.

6. Find the Perfect Caption

Even though Instagram’s focus is mainly its photos, the right caption can captivate your audience. Instagram captions can be up to 2,200 characters, so you’ve plenty of space to get your message out.

People will engage with your post longer if there’s a caption for them to read as well. Just don’t overdo it -  The trick is not to post super-long posts, but rather the one that will resonate most with your audience, helping them to know, like, and trust YOU more.

EXAMPLE: If you post a video of a specific workout, you can also provide an explanation of the workout in your captions, broken down into simple steps so that people will want to read it in order to remind them how it works. 

7. #Hashtag #Hashtag #Hashtag!

As you can see in this photo, hashtags boost your follower interactions, 

Hashtags are amazing, because they allow you to reach an audience way beyond just your followers. You can add a hashtag to your posts and stories, and your post will be compiled along other posts from all over the world with the same hashtag.

So if you add hashtags like #fitnessworkout and #healthyfood to your posts, they’ll show up in the feed when someone searches for or clicks on #fitnessworkout and #healthyfood anywhere on Instagram, whether or not they follow you.

Hashtags get your posts in front of the people who you want to target most. You can add hashtags to your profile page as well to drive traffic to your page.

There are plenty others way to get the most out of your Instagram, so why don’t you get started right away?

Have more questions on how to maximize your Instagram engagement? Leave them in the comment box below!

About the author

Dave Smith

Dave Smith was chosen as Canada's Top Fitness Professional for his innovative online fitness coaching found at Make Your Body Work. He now teaches other fitness professionals how to build their own profitable online businesses. Learn more at the Online Trainers Federation.