4 Tips to Increase Your Instagram Engagement!
I am by no means an Instagram expert. I too struggle with engagement, the algorithm stifling my reach and losing followers frequently. I get countless DM’s every week from bloggers just starting out asking how I grew my Instagram or how to improve engagement. I wouldn’t say my own engagement is great, but it is something I am constantly working on and, man, is it a lot of work! There is no easy trick to getting good engagement on your posts, there really seems to be no rhyme or reason why engagement will be great one day and completely tank the next, but I’m about to go over some simple tips for you to spend your time on that will generally yield more organic reach on your Instagram posts than you’ll achieve from using Instagram “pods” or other fake engagement groups. First off, let me explain more about Instagram engagement (scroll to the end for my tips if you already know this stuff)!
What is “Instagram Engagement?”
Instagram engagement is the percentage of users who act on (or engage with) the content that you post. This includes when someone likes, comments, saves, and sends/shares your posts. Basically any time an action is take on your post counts as engagement for you.
Why is Your Instagram Engagement Rate Important?
A few years ago a bloggers influence was determined by the amount of followers they had on any given platform. As the Instagram algorithm was introduced, there were many changes to the way that a blogger or influencer’s content was (and currently is) now seen, therefore making it harder to grow follower count and in turn making organic Instagram engagement that much more weighted when it comes to a bloggers level of influence. Instagram engagement is one of the most important metrics to measure the authenticity or relevance of a blogger.
Let me break it down even further. As brands are looking for bloggers to partner with on campaigns, they want to make sure they choose someone who has an active, engaged audience and a high reach (a high organic reach % should also yield high engagement on a post). Generally the higher the engagement, the higher the conversion rate. Growing your follower count is very challenging these days and as brands are working with more and more micro-influencers, engagement rate continues to become more and more important.
You may have heard about a popular trend called Instagram “pods” or engagement groups, where bloggers in a particular niche get together and engage with each others posts in order to boost each other’s content in the algorithm. There are many reasons why this can be detrimental to your overall reach and how you are displayed within the algorithm but the underlying fact is that this kind of engagement is not completely honest and generally speaking these bloggers are not going to be converting customers for you.
I’ll do a more in depth blog post on Instagram pods and how they are damaging to engagement in the very near future.
How to Figure Out Your Instagram Engagement Rate
Instagram engagement takes is calculated by the ratio of followers you have the the number of comments and likes you receive. You could go through and figure out the math yourself, or you can use a free tool like Phlanx (you don’t need to sign up) to determine the percentage of engagement you receive. I don’t know that actual facts behind this statistic but I have heard that anything over 2% is considered good engagement in a brands eyes. The less followers you have the higher your engagement should be since you tend to have less bots and inactive accounts following you (this is common and just happens over time, so don’t worry about these kinds followers). Below is a screenshot of my engagement as calculated by Phlanx.
How to Increase Your Instagram Engagement
There really is no magic to building an engaged audience on Instagram. Beyond using hashtags, posting high quality content and finding the right time to post, I’m going to share with you some of the additional tactics I have procured to gain engagement and a continued rapport with my followers (friends!) on my posts.
Use Instagram Correctly
The first and easiest way to boost engagement is to ENGAGE WITH OTHER USERS. So basically, use Instagram for what it was created to be, a social platform. This tip is so simple it’s stupid, but honestly I just leave genuine comments on photos that I love and make sure to double tap the photos that I like. People love to reciprocate comments and likes and this is tried and true method.
Involve Your Followers
The second tip that I have is to engage with the followers you have by involving them in your content. Whether this means asking questions in your captions, putting polls in your stories, or just reaching out via DM and thanking someone for a follow, all of this goes a long way and can really help boost the confidence in people to leave more love on your page more frequently. A couple years ago I got an invaluable piece of advice from a fellow blogger which was to work to build relationships (and retain) the current followers I have instead of going out and seeking new ones. This has stuck with me, and it is such a valuable nugget of gold. Copy and paste that one and keep it in your pocket, pull it out ever few weeks as a reminder.
Reply To Every Comment
This tip is very dependent on your follower count. It would be unrealistic for a blogger with hundreds of thousands of followers to reply to the crazy amount of comments they’re most likely receiving on each post. But a smaller blogger like myself, I think this is totally realistic. I don’t usually get more than 100 comments per post (some I can’t easily reply to ie. emoji comments or one word comments), but I do my best to reply to every single comment, especially in the first 30 minutes of posting. I try to reply with a genuine comment and often try to engage further by asking a question or involving the commenter in another way. The more comments, the higher the engagement, and your comments count too!
I’ve just recently started paying Instagram to sponsor my posts, just a teeny tiny amount because I’m on a budget but even throwing $12 on a post, I’ve seen HUGE response. Not only do I get a ton of engagement on my sponsored posts, my conversion usually goes up for the items that I’m sharing, as well as blog traffic. All of it is positive and I’ll continue to use it as a tool to help grow my business. I’m still learning how to use Instagram ads so I don’t have much to say on the subject, but I just choose the option to target followers like mine and the response has been fantastic. I’m hoping to learn more about this to continue to improve the return from this tactic!
I love sharing the things that I have learned five years into blogging. Instagram is really fun, but it is important to remember that this social media platform is not the be all end all of your business. In fact, Instagram should just be a monetary supplement and additional marketing tool for your blog and the content that you actually own. Keep this in mind while you play the Instagram game, one day, like Myspace, it will all be gone. Poof.
Thanks for reading!