ASKING FOR OPINIONS
If your posts are thought provoking but do not necessarily sound like engagement bait, people will share their opinions on them and Instagram should not shadowban them. However, this strategy should be done taking the risks involved into consideration. I wouldn’t want to be the reason why your accounts is flagged as an engagement bait account.
Asking for opinions should be treated the same way. If you see a sudden significant decrease in your post engagement, you will need to tweak your strategy. If you say something like “top or bottom?” in your post, you are likely to get shadowbanned in the near future once “engagement bait war” moves onto Instagram. However, before it does, you could use it and get a lot of people responding one-word answers which would still count as engagement and would boost your posts’ relativity.
ENGAGING WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
In my personal opinion, no matter how big your account gets, you should still be responding to comments, DM’s, questions. People love connecting with large accounts, if a simple comment back to a follower of yours can make their day, why in the world wouldn’t you do it? It doesn’t take long!
It’s a win-win-situation. You respond to a person and make their day, the person is happy and has a smile on his/her face, other followers see that you respond, and they engage in your content more due to the fact that you don’t feel “too cool” to respond to your followers.
Responding to comments is one thing. Can you imagine what kind of impact it would have on your account if you checked out a few accounts that engaged on your posts, and commented on their posts? Take a moment and think about this scenario. You have 250K followers for instance, and you see someone commented on your post. You then go on and check out their profile, see something cool and drop a comment. That person will light up in happy feels and will show that to his/her friends. Now they think that you are cool too, and they go follow you as well.
Don’t underestimate the power of being personable. The growth of your accounts will be a much smoother sail if your followers don’t feel like they are following a snobby account that never responds or engages back with the audience. You get out what you put in.