Like most social networks, Instagram uses an algorithm to decide how much reach and visibility an Instagram post gets. One major factor that influences how your Instagram posts are ranked in the Instagram algorithm is the Instagram engagement that you achieve with your activity on Instagram.
Today’s post is all about increasing your Instagram engagement.
We will first look at what we mean by engagement when it comes to Instagram. We give you the formula to estimate your Instagram engagement rate – and what engagement rate you should be looking for.
And finally, we give you 21 ways you can increase your Instagram engagement.
Why is Engagement so important for Instagram growth?
The Instagram algorithm is the key to reaching a larger audience on Instagram and growing your Instagram audience. Interest in your Instagram posts is on top of the ranking factors of the Instagram algorithm. And what shows more interest than engaging with your posts?
That means that increasing the engagement on your Instagram posts actually means increasing the reach of your posts which will again lead to more interactions with your posts and so on.
The engagement has tremendous power to grow your audience and succeed with branding and marketing via Instagram.
What does count as engagement on Instagram?
As always engagement on social media means likes, comments, and shares.
On Instagram, engagement includes some more. For Instagram engagement we are also talking about: Saves, mentions, click-throughs, and direct messages.
Interest can also be shown via followers’ growth and the usage of branded hashtags.
All of the above are counted as a sign of interest and used in the Instagram algorithm. If you succeed in earning and growing the above engagements you are right on track to Instagram success.
How can you calculate – or estimate – your Instagram engagement rate?
Calculating your engagement rate may seem a little more complicated than you hoped. But in the end, it is not an exact number.
You want to get an idea of how well your engagement rate compares to other accounts. And if you are actively working on improving your engagement rate you want to see it grow.
So whatever you do, stick to the method you use to estimate your engagement rate – or the numbers may not be comparable.
Here are some ways you can calculate your Instagram engagement rate:
#1 Likes and Comments per followers
As you can see this is a simplified estimate that does not take into account some of the other engagement factors like saves, mentions, hashtags, and so on.
You can easily calculate this value for each of your posts and build an average over it.
#2 Likes and Comments per impressions
This engagement rate estimate does not use the number of followers but instead uses the number of impressions a post gets. This makes it easier to compare engagement in different niches or topics. You will notice that even with the same number of followers to an account, one post will get a different number of impressions based on the time you post, the hashtags you use, and the engagement it gets.
#3 Likes comments and Saves per impressions
This third estimate includes the saves of your post in addition to likes and comments.
This is just to give you an idea of how you can estimate your Instagram engagement rate. If you want to know more about the calculation of the engagement rate, check out this post by Later.com.
What kind of Instagram engagement rate should you be looking for?
From my gut I would say, do not look for a fixed number but try to improve all the time.
However, that may not prove very helpful when trying to understand if your Instagram s&cks due to a lack of engagement.
Here are some numbers you can go by:
Social media marketing experts usually claim that an engagement rate between 1 and 5 % is considered strong.
Hootsuite claims an average engagement rate of 4.59% in 2020.
However, do not forget that there are factors that influence your engagement rate that have not much to do with a good or bad marketing strategy but rather with the path you want to pursue.
If you invest in advertising, you should see a higher engagement rate – or you are wasting money.
There may also be some marketing campaigns that are targeting engagement rather than conversions or traffic. But if your goal is rather conversions, engagement may simply be not the most important metric to watch.
How can you increase engagement on your Instagram?
Whatever your goals, there is no doubt that engagement on your Instagram posts will help you to get there. Here are 21 tactics to help you increase your Instagram engagement. You do not have to use all of them, but keep them in mind and incorporate them into your Instagram strategy whenever possible.
#1 Watch what works
Every audience is different. And if people tell you that videos will get more engagement than image posts then that may be true for most audiences. But you still have to watch out for what your audience responds to. You may have the couple of people following you who react differently from the world.
It is the numbers on your account and the results you get that answer your most important questions.
#2 Use a variety of post types
Don’t stick to what you have always done.
If you are looking for improvement in your engagement rate, you have to change something. And trying some of the post types you have not used so much in the past is just one way to go.
Here are some ideas for post types you can use besides image posts that usually inspire a lot of engagement:
- Instagram live
#3 Utilize humor
People like humor and often respond to it with a quick like or comment.
That does not mean that you should start posting jokes all day long, but integrating a little humor into your Instagram content – and Instagram captions – will boost your engagement.
Image Source: Hootsuite
#4 Post great images
Maybe I should have posted this as #1. But honestly, I found it so lame that I did not dare to start with this.
On the other hand, I need to say it once: Great images inspire more engagement than bad ones.
(Maybe except for the really bad ones but they will only inspire negative responses)
So when you plan your Instagram activity, figure out where you can get great images – and don’t plan on using stock images, that you can use for free… Stock images may look beautiful but they are not great.
#5 Be more personal
People like to talk to people. Making your Instagram account more personal will help to increase engagement, even if you are running a business account.
There is nothing wrong in showing the people behind a business on a business social media account – on the contrary.
Adding a personal touch, maybe a glimpse at some more personal experiences once in a while will tremendously help to earn more engagement and build community.
#6 Utilize the captions
Longer captions can often inspire more engagement simply by giving more information than the image itself. Use the captions to explain what the image is about, give tips, tell stories.
If you look at some accounts that built their influence from scratch, you will often see long captions – sometimes each caption is a small blog post in itself.
#7 Add a call to action to inspire Instagram engagement
If you want people to react to your posts ask them to.
You can ask questions to make people react or even ask them to share their own experiences in the comments. The response may not start with hundreds of comments if you only have a handful of followers but the engagement will grow.
#8 Do your Hashtag Homework
Some hashtags have tremendous power on Instagram. But finding the best hashtags for your posts can be a little trickier than you thought.
The most used hashtags are not necessarily the best hashtags. Some hashtags are so competitive that “smaller” hashtags may be more successful.
It often pays off to use a tool for hashtag research and invest the time for each post to find better hashtags.
#9 Consider using special event hashtags
Apart from on-topic hashtags, there are also special hashtags for national days, social media events, and special occasions.
These hashtags come with additional reach. You can use them to inspire some new posts. But make sure you use the right hashtags at the right time. Most of these special even hashtags are valid exactly one day of the year – or one day of the week.
#10 Make people save your content
Saves also count as engagement. So what will make people want to save your posts? Usually, it is information that they want to save for later reading.
Add posts with tips, recipes, advice – whatever fits your niche and make people save your post for later.
#11 Engage with your audience
If you want our audience to engage with you – you have to start engaging with your audience first. One of the most efficient ways to grow your audience and earn more engagement is by commenting and liking what people from your niche and target audience post.
This will also help you to become part of the community.
#12 Always respond to Instagram engagement when you get it
You already earn engagement on your Instagram posts? People are commenting on your posts? This is your opportunity to boost engagement.
Simply answer each and every comment you get.
#13 Be active on Instagram stories
Instagram stories can add visibility to your feed posts. You can post a story with an image from our post and tease the post with “New Post.” If you are active on Instagram you will have noticed how many people are already doing this to earn more visibility – and engagement – for their posts.
#14 Utilize story stickers for Instagram engagement
Once you start using Instagram stories, you can boost the engagement on your Instagram account with Instagram story stickers.
Some of these stickers are made to inspire engagement:
- poll stickers
- questions stickers
- emoji stickers
Image Source: Later
#15 Try new things
If you want to improve results you need to have the courage to try new things.
Don’t stick to a posting routine just because you always did and you are familiar with this type of post.
Take the leap and try something different – see how your audience reacts. Some of your experiments will likely fail or rather not get you the results you are looking for but you will learn a lot anyway, Some of your tests will inspire engagement and you can now figure out how to include more of this type of post into your Instagram strategy.
#16 Stay active
You can have the best and most engaging post – if it is only one post you will not gain much. Consistency is key to social media success. You need to stay active and post regularly.
If you cannot commit to Instagram in a consistent way you need to decide if it is still worth your time.
That makes scheduling for Instagram an issue for busy entrepreneurs. If you already know Tailwind for Pinterest, you may want to check out Tailwind for Instagram scheduling.
#17 Cross-Promote your Instagram
Do you already have an engaged audience outside of Instagram? You can transfer some of this engagement to Instagram.
For instance, you can promote your Instagram to your email subscribers or mention your Instagram on your Facebook page.
#18 Stay on topic
Do not stray too far from your topic just because you have the impression that a fancy hashtag will earn you more engagement or another topic gets more likes. You are trying to grow a targeted audience and some off-topic chit-chat may increase engagement on your Instagram but it will not make you any money or earn trust in your target audience.
#19 Find out the best times to post – and use them
You may already have noticed that sometimes to post are more likely to inspire likes and comments than others. Make an educated guess when your target group is online and active and monitor the reactions to your posts.
Find the best times to post for engagement and post your questions and polls at that time.
Some of the scheduling tools like Later offer some suggestions for the best times to post:
#20 Tell Stories
Just stating facts rarely inspires a ton of engagement. Storytelling is the key to an engaged community. There are many ways to incorporate storytelling into your posting schedule.
You can start with a weekly story from your office or your employees. These stories do not have to be too serious and they do not need to be about your products.
Show some insight into your company and how it is working there. Use celebrations, post pictures of a birthday cake or a company outing.
Another type of story comes from your customers. Give your customers a voice and allow them to tell their story, too!
#21 Partner with other Instagrammers
Partnering with other people on social media is always a good idea to grow your audience – and engagement. You can give someone access to your Instagram for a day, you can to collective Instagram lice, create an interview, mention someone in your stories.
I have seen endless fun quizzes and questionnaires that were running around Instagram stories. You answer the questions, post the results – and nominate some other Instagramers to give their answers. It is like an MLM scheme without the shady stuff but with a ton of engagement in the wake.
And that is something that you can easily create without the aid of fancy tools or stuff. Simply from your phone.
There are endless options to partner with other Instagrammers.
Final words on Instagram engagement
I hope you found some inspiration for your Instagram account in this list of engagement ideas. You need not do all of the above.
Choose ideas that you like and feel comfortable with.
Social media should still be light and fun – if you feel forced to engage in tactics that are simply not you, people will notice and not engage with you.
Find a way to engage on Instagram that you like. Start small and see how your audience reacts. Instagram engagement will turn into a ton of fun if you get positive reactions and feel part of the community!
Boost your Instagram marketing with special hashtags for each day of the year. Download our free PDF Hashtag calendar: