Between thousands of influencers and millions of accounts and Instagram’s mysterious algorithm, it can be hard to figure out the best approach to grow your account on Instagram! The unfortunate reality is that it comes down to more than simply having good content and having followers who engage with your posts; you’ve also got to have strong engagement back with your followers and with other Instagram accounts in general. It’s like this gigantic, but fine, little web, and the more your own little web reaches out across it, the more imprints and impressions you’ll leave across, like a little trail to lead people back to your account.
What Engagement Means
Engagement is all about how well your followers engage with your content. Engagement is done through likes and comments on posts, so if you have one thousand followers, and your latest post has 50 likes and 8 comments, you’re looking at an engagement rate of 5.8%. It’s basically about taking the number of followers you have and figuring out how many of them either have the opportunity or take the time to engage with your content. Convert it to a percentage (58 divided by 1000, then multiply that number by 100 = 5.8%). There are even apps or websites that can calculate it all for you, and generate numbers based on your post times and frequency and other helpful data.
To put it into perspective, a generic rate of engagement is about 1%, and a good rate is about 3%. Extremely high rates (pretty rare) are at about a 6% or higher. What it ultimately comes down to is quality, not quantity. Some of the influencers with highest numbers of followers have low engagement, because their followers simply aren’t hitting ‘like’ or commenting or viewing their pictures and videos, especially when they post constantly. Who cares if you have a million followers if less than 1% of them actually engage with your content? Most influencers have a rate of 3-6%, and I currently have mine at about a 5%. If you’re really working to up your game, you want to be hitting a 3%, but aiming for closer to a 5%.
Working to Increase Engagement
- Content: Go for quality, not quantity. People want to see pictures with faces (far more likely to get a ‘like’ when it has a face, they want to see quirky, funny, engaging, well-written captions, and they to know you’re original and worth their time. Post content that is interesting and unique. Also don’t forget the CTA – Call to Action with your posts! Asking questions that are related to your content usually works.
- Timing: Facebook’s algorithms can be tricky to figure out, but you want to optimize the number of people who see you’re post, because they’ll be more likely to comment or hit ‘like’. Use a calendar or a program to track when the best time for you to post content is, and schedule your posts around that time. This is not a tried-and-true technique, but it might work for some people. For me, I try to post between 10am-9pm, which is a wide range, but it doesn’t change my engagement so much.
- Engagement: Engagement should go two ways, so to get others to engage with you, you need to make sure you have interactions with other accounts and users. Whether it’s liking and commenting on other users’ posts, or responding to messages or Instagram Live responses, respond to stories, or it can simply be conversing back with the comments that users leave on your own posts. your followers are able to see you as a real person, someone who thinks, speaks, feels, and communicates? The more other users hear from you and interact with you, the stronger your presence becomes and the more likely you are to get a ‘like’ on your next post!
I hope you enjoy these tips and start working on them! Remember that Instagram is a marathon and not a sprint, focus on what you have to offer and the consistency will pay off.