4 Creative Ways to Generate Organic Instagram Engagement

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Want more engagement on your Instagram posts? Wondering how to entice people to engage with you on Instagram?

In this article, you’ll discover four out-of-the-ordinary ways to create Instagram posts that prompt people to engage with and click on your content.

#1: Encourage Instagram Engagement With Brand-Relevant Puzzles

The typical image or video post on Instagram can generate, at best, a few seconds of engagement. Why not give your followers a mind-bender to keep them occupied and engaged with your post? Research shows that participating in activities results in better recall than simply talking about them. Additionally, puzzles engage people longer.

Quizzes and puzzles make people stop in their tracks and think for a minute. If you also succeed in tapping into your audience’s emotions, people will be more inclined to share the puzzles with their own networks. This generates engagement and provides interesting feedback for you.

Keep in mind that the puzzle posts you create for Instagram should tie in with your overall brand message. Be sure to choose a theme that reflects your brand and its core message. Also, research topics that your followers will have an emotional connection with.

Rebus Puzzles

Mattress brand Casper’s core value proposition is centered around relaxation and good sleep. With this in mind, the brand effectively ties engaging Instagram posts with their branding by delivering rest-related rebus puzzles via the feed and Stories. In fact, puzzles account for almost half of their posts with the highest number of comments.

While Casper doesn’t offer prizes for getting the right answers—just the thrill of having solved a puzzle—the posts create a ton of engagement. To illustrate, the post below got 3,800+ likes and 94 comments.


In addition to still graphics, Casper also posts animated rebus puzzles to both their Instagram feed and Stories and in ads. This animated rebus pulled in 19,800+ views.


Brain Teasers

Curiosity is a publication that shares explanations of interesting facts and trivia. On Instagram, they use brain teasers to drive post engagement, platform views, and off-platform traffic, providing the explanations or solutions in content on their website. To get to those answers, viewers must view Curiosity’s Instagram bio to find the link to the relevant article.

This puzzle post received 6,200+ likes and more than 300 comments.


#2: Grow Your Instagram Following With an Emoji Scavenger Hunt

Another creative way to engage your audience on Instagram is with a mind-bender where your audience has to find hidden emojis. Chanel and Stevo of How Far From Home started hiding emojis in their travel photos as part of a fun weekly game on their popular Instagram account.

Content like this has helped them attract over 167,000 followers on Instagram. They’re indeed an enviable couple, quitting successful careers in advertising to travel the world. That’s the reason for part of the excitement surrounding them. The other part is the clever ways they hide emojis inside their travel photos.


#3: Nurture a Community With a Recurring Instagram Challenge

Generally, an Instagram challenge is when you choose a theme and ask your Instagram followers to share photos based on ideas that stem from that theme. The challenge may require participants to post photos daily, weekly, or monthly and the announcement is made in advance.

Sometimes there are prizes, and other times there’s only the satisfaction of having participated. The challenge is always to think ahead and creatively.

What are the benefits of a recurring challenge on Instagram? It’s a way to invite passive followers to actively create content you can use to fuel your own profile. You not only get content you can post on your account but also engage your audience at the same time.

Designer and illustrator Joanne Hawker first launched her #MarchMeetTheMaker challenge in 2016. As the name suggests, this Instagram challenge takes place throughout the month of March.

Here’s how it works. Joanne, the creator of the challenge, selects a theme for each day of March and then designers create something about their business based on that theme. The idea is to tell their business’s story in the context of an overarching theme. The challenge gives designers a platform to exhibit their work and grab free traffic.


Created by artist @jakeparker in 2009, the Inktober challenge helps artists create a habit of drawing daily, and thousands of artists participate annually. The best submissions get featured on the Inktober profile with one new drawing selected every day to reach a total of 31 drawings for all the days of October.

Featured participants get a ton of exposure. To visualize this, book illustrator @tonigalmesdibuixos had some of his images featured in a post that received 63,400+ likes.


Here are broad outlines to create Instagram challenges that are as interesting as the ones highlighted above.

Plan Your Posts for the Challenge

Planning a month-long Instagram challenge is hard work. Ask friends and even active members of your community to come up with ideas that might be worthy of a challenge. When choosing a topic, pick something that fits with the overall mood of your brand.


Pro Tip: Set reminders for posting the challenge on time. Often, I simply take a photo of the challenge and set it up as the wallpaper on my phone. Because I check my phone umpteen times a day, it serves as my reminder.

Choose a Hashtag for the Challenge

The challenge hashtag is key. Be creative and think of something unique and closely tied to your brand. Ask participants to use the hashtag in their Instagram captions so you’re able to track every image that’s posted as part of the challenge. All you need to do to find the posts is search for the hashtag in the search bar.


Engage With Challenge Participants

Engaging with people goes a long way toward improving participation rates in your challenge. Take your time to engage with them by commenting or liking their content. Many participants will reciprocate the behavior with other participants, creating a chain reaction. This helps build a sense of community, too.

Promote Your Challenge on Other Platforms

Spread the word about your Instagram challenge with the larger community outside of the platform. Promote it on your other social networks and even run paid ads to get it going.

When Joanne and Jake started their respective challenges, they didn’t have a lot of participants initially. But after repeating the challenge over the course of a few years, the number of participants grew exponentially.

#4: Generate Link Clicks With Instructional Videos in Instagram Stories

According to research by WR Hambrecht + Co, 7 days after a training session, participants forget 65% of the material covered. In 6 months, they forget almost everything they learned; the recall percentage is about 10%.

However, an instructional video can give users a new level of experience that’s simply absent in other media. Visually stimulating and multifaceted, video engages viewers in ways that text can rarely achieve and helps people remember concepts and details.

Smitten Kitchen posts instructional cooking videos in their Instagram stories, like this one for chicken curry. As an added bonus, they use the See More link to drive traffic to the full recipe on their website.


Pro Tip: Consider doing your instructional videos live on Stories. There’s a certain level of vulnerability in live-streaming that’s impossible to replicate in recorded video. If you make mistakes, you own up and move ahead. You’re not allowed to dwell on the past. This makes live video inherently challenging and deeply exciting for both the viewer and the participant.



Instagram stories, videos, and contests all have great potential to tap into your audience’s emotions and generate engagement. But instead of the usual posts that businesses tend to share, this article focuses on four out-of-the-ordinary types of content that will pique your audience’s interest and encourage interactions.

Puzzles that tie in with your overall brand message, emoji scavenger hunts, challenges around a relevant theme, and instructional videos are all ways to prompt your Instagram community to engage with your content.

What do you think? Which of these types of content will you try on your Instagram account? Do you have any other creative content suggestions to add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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