Why does engagement matter on Instagram?
Last week we talked about the three things the Instagram algorithm prioritizes—timeliness, interest, and relationship. Those things all tie into engagement. If you time your posts right when you audience is most actively engaging on social media, that is a plus. Your audience shows its level of interest in your content by engaging with it. And engagement is the key element of building connections and relationships on Instagram.
How Do you calculate Engagement?
There are a lot of ways to calculate engagement—based on followers, based on impressions, etc. I recommend calculating based on followers using this formula:
(likes + comments + shares + saves) / total followers * 100
So if you have 10,000 followers and you share a post that gets 400 likes, 100 comments, 55 shares and 70 saves, your engagement rate would be 6.25% (625 total engagement/10,000 followers x 100).
What’s a good engagement rate?
I get this questions a lot from clients. How do you know what is a good engagement rate? An average decent engagement rate is 3-5%. Anything above 5% should really excite you, and you should analyze what about that content is getting people to engage. Generally, more personal posts get more engagement, along with videos. So in the example above, this would be a really successful post. The higher your engagement, the more loyal your following is. And the more loyal your audience is, the more likely the algorithm is going to recommend your content to your followers and other people (hello, explore page!)
Here’s the thing….I know 5% sounds so low. But that is just the nature of the platform. There are billions of people on Instagram, and you are competing against millions of other businesses.
How your follower count impacts engagement and why more is not more
In that engagement rate equation, you want the total engagements to be as close to your follower count as possible. That is why the quality of your followers is way more important than the quantity. If someone has 500 followers, but is seeing 10% engagement, the algorithm is going to reward that account way more than someone with 20,000 followers and 1% engagement.
A low engagement rate tells the algorithm that something is wrong with your content and that no one likes what you are sharing. So it isn’t going to want to show it to more people. So don’t be tempted by quick fixes for adding followers like buying followers, doing follow loops, etc. Focus on serving the audience you have because that is who can improve your engagement rate. And ultimately, if you consistently have a strong engagement rate, your following will organically increase as well.
10 Strategies For Increasing Your Engagement
- Each day this week, comment on 10 other potential client accounts with meaningful comments. Ask questions if you can on their posts. It’s social media, so get social! Focus on creating REAL connections the same way you’d make friends INSTEAD of trying to reach as many people as possible.
Form REAL conversations by:
- Finding 10 new accounts that reflect your ideal customer
- Like their posts
- Leave genuine comments
- Respond you their Stories
- Follow them
Every day this week, seek them out and engage with their new posts. Every day you should be commenting on those same 10 people. Commenting and liking the same profiles vs different people every time, proves you really care.
- Create a collection on Instagram of accounts you want to engage with. Just save one of their recent posts, doesn’t matter which one).
- Start with your industry and other people in your industry that you look up to. Choose one of their recent posts and leave a comment. Then do the same for other people who commented on that person’s post. Keep doing that and Instagram will be more likely to flag you as a similar page and recommend their followers follow you.
- Incorporate more video into your content. It doesn’t have to be complicated. To the algorithm, video is video. It doesn’t matter if it is a 60 second video or a 15 second GIF or Boomerang. Both count as video. So don’t be afraid or overwhelmed. Here are a couple easy ways to include video in your feed that don’t involve you being on camera (although I recommend that highly):
- Add animation to a static post (if you have Canva, you can do this super easy)
- Instead of a regular image, film a Boomerang. Movement catches people’s attention and will stop their scroll.
- Look for relevant, engaging stock video on Pexels and use that instead of a stock image
- When people comment on a post, reply to their comment, but don’t “like” their comment…..YET! When you are going to post again, go back to your last post and NOW like all the comments. This will send people a notification and increase the likelihood they come back to your profile and see/engage with your latest post.
- Use emojis to break up the text of your captions. Have a list or bullets? Use emojis instead of tradition bullets.
- Make a Reel. Reels are a great way to expand your reach and engage your audience. Put it on your to-do list if you aren’t already making Reels regularly.
- Look at your Instagram Insights. Check your audience insights to see what times of day your audience is most active. Make adjustment to your posting schedule if needed.
- Fine tune your calls to action. When in doubt, be clear. Tell your followers what you want them to do. The more clear you are in your call to action, the more likely you will see that action taken.
- Look at your Insights for the last 30 days each month. Have your numbers gone up? Look the accounts reached, content interactions and followers. Are you happy with those? See what posts had the most engagement. Make a note of the content that resonates most with your audience. Take that knowledge to create content for the coming month. Look at stats like: