With 1 billion active monthly users, Instagram is an attractive platform for many businesses’ marketing efforts. However, we all know how common it can be to post on social media and hear crickets.
When you use Instagram for marketing, you need content that engages your followers and drives business results. That’s why understanding Instagram engagement and knowing how to improve it are critical for successful Instagram marketing.
But how do you calculate Instagram engagement, and what makes a good Instagram engagement rate?
Keep reading for the answers, plus 14 ways you can increase Instagram engagement today!
And if you want to learn more about social media engagement on other platforms, check out our blog post! You’ll become a social media engagement pro in no time!
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What is Instagram engagement?
Instagram engagement is the interactions your followers and other Instagram users have with your account. When someone sees your post and responds to it on the platform, that’s engagement.
Your Instagram engagement metrics include:
- Story replies
You’ll want to track these metrics and strategically improve them to ensure you’re creating valuable social media content (or implementing Instagram growth hacks) that grow your business. While you can use Instagram for various business goals, most of them will require some form of engagement.
Additionally, Instagram’s algorithm shows people the content they interact with most.
If your followers don’t engage with your posts, they’ll probably stop seeing them. To keep your posts visible to as many people as possible, include engagement in your social media analytics toolkit.
How to calculate your Instagram engagement rate
To start using Instagram engagement strategically, you need to know how to calculate it. The basic formula is:
(total number of interactions on a post) / (total number of followers) × 100
You can also calculate based on the total reach a post received instead of your follower count if you’d rather consider the engagement rate of those who saw the post.
Either way, this formula gives you the engagement rate for a specific post. To calculate your average engagement rate, you’ll first need to calculate the average number of interactions your posts receive.
For example, you might have five recent posts with 200, 250, 200, 300, and 150 likes. You’ll add these numbers to determine the total like count across these posts (1100), then divide that answer by the number of posts (5). For this example, the average like count is 220. You would then plug that number into the formula for the number of interactions.
Depending on your business goals, you might want to focus on a specific engagement metric or set of metrics. You can plug any metric you’d prefer into the formula, or if you’d like a holistic view of your overall engagement, you can add multiple metrics together and plug in the total number.
Once you calculate your Instagram engagement rate, the fun begins! How do you know if your engagement is “good” or if you need to improve it? To answer that question, let’s discuss what counts as a good Instagram engagement rate.
What is a good engagement rate on Instagram?
A good engagement rate on Instagram varies widely by industry, and even industry averages aren’t prescriptive. What stands as a decent engagement rate for one business might be low for another.
However, one report found the median Instagram engagement rate for businesses to be 0.67%, and the averages across industries varied from 0.32% to 2.99%.
You can use these numbers as baselines to compare your engagement rate, but remember not to put too much stock into averages.
How to increase engagement on Instagram
Now that you know the answer to “what is a good engagement rate on Instagram,” you might find that your rate is lower than you’d like. One of the best aspects of social media is its adaptability. If you wanted to, you could start improving your strategy as soon as you finish reading this post!
Ready to learn how to increase engagement on Instagram? Check out these 14 tips any business can implement:
1. Encourage comments with calls-to-action (CTAs)
Instagram may be a visual platform, but don’t skimp on your caption. You can add context and substantial value to your posts with a few well-written words. But more than that, your caption is the ideal place to directly encourage your followers to engage.
Include a CTA or a question encouraging viewers to comment with their responses. Or, if you want to point people to your bio or a link, tell them to follow the link in your bio or stories. Many creators also remind their followers to save or share the post if they find it helpful.
While you don’t want to fill your caption with CTAs and nothing else, don’t hesitate to ask for the engagement you want!
2. Hop on Instagram stories
Many Instagram users love scrolling through other accounts’ stories. These quick, informal posts allow you to give your followers more insight into your brand beyond what you post in your feed.
Instagram stories also have many interactive features to help you:
- Build relationships with your audience
- Gain audience insights
- Generate excitement amongst your followers
- Encourage shares
For example, you can use a poll to show your audience you care about their opinion — and learn something new about your followers.
You can also post a countdown to build excitement for a new product release or promotion. Instagram also allows people to share this countdown to their stories, expanding your reach and generating word-of-mouth.
3. Use strategic hashtags
Including one or more hashtags in your post can drive 13% more engagement. When you include hashtags, you help users who don’t follow you find you through suggested posts in their feed or on the Explore page.
You’ll need to do some research to see which hashtags are most popular in your niche. Choose relevant hashtags that generate engagement for brands like yours.
4. Show your brand personality
People want to engage with brands they feel connected to. Build this connection by showing your followers who you are.
Is your brand personality humorous and irreverent? Don’t be afraid to share jokes and sarcasm on your feed! Or, maybe your brand is more inspirational and encouraging. Let these qualities shine through your posts and captions!
5. Create different types of posts
While Instagram is traditionally a photo-sharing app, creating other types of posts can help increase your engagement. Videos receive twice as much engagement as photos, and reels provide many collaboration features to help further your connection with your audience and other creators.
6. Post high-quality content
On any digital marketing platform, valuable content is critical. With Instagram, focus on creating shareable and save-worthy content. It’s one thing to get someone to tap the heart or leave a quick comment, but you need to provide substantial value to convince someone your post deserves a share or save.
For example, you might encourage saves by posting helpful advice or industry information. Newsworthy updates and humorous posts can generate shares.
7. Share posts from others
While you want others to share your posts, engagement is a two-way street. Share valuable content from other creators and user-generated content (UGC) from your customers to build relationships and drive subsequent engagement.
8. Engage with your community
Similarly, you should also get involved in your social media community. Beyond sharing others’ content, comment on their posts and show that you’re here for a two-way conversation with people, instead of sitting back and only receiving applause from others.
Also, be sure to answer any questions people leave for you so they know they can count on you to listen to them and help them!
9. Collaborate with other creators
People love seeing their favorite content creators partner with brands they love. If the collaboration feels genuine and relevant to your audience, have fun connecting with your favorite creators and brands!
You’ll expand your reach across your collaborator’s platform, and the engaging content will catch people’s eyes and help draw more comments and shares.
10. Host giveaways
Giveaways hold built-in engagement. Many creators use interactions like comments, follows, saves, or shares as entries into the giveaway.
However, be strategic when you opt for this tactic. While it can increase engagement for the giveaway post and grow your account short-term, many of these new engagements might not last.
But giveaways can prove incredibly fruitful if you need a quick boost to your Instagram engagement for a limited-time promotion or similar venture!
11. Schedule your posts
All social media platforms value consistency, and Instagram is no exception. Posting consistently is one of the most straightforward ways to improve your Instagram engagement.
Try scheduling your Instagram content to help keep your posting schedule consistent. When you plan strategically, you won’t have to worry about remembering to create and post your content at the correct times.
12. Cross-promote on other platforms
If Instagram is a critical piece of your marketing strategy and you want to prioritize your Instagram engagement, use other digital marketing platforms to point people to your profile.
Include links to your Instagram on your website and in emails. You can also reference your profile in the body of your website and email content where relevant.
13. Use sponsored posts
Achieving high organic engagement on Instagram is becoming increasingly more difficult. If you want to boost your posts, consider using Instagram’s sponsored posts feature.
With sponsored posts, you pay to boost a regular profile post. Instagram will show it in users’ feeds with a label denoting it as sponsored.
With this feature, more people see your content, and your post keeps any engagement — likes, comments, saves, and shares — it received while you were boosting it.
14. Test and measure
Every Instagram post has many components. For example, an image post in your feed includes the image, caption, and hashtags. You’re also posting it at a particular time.
To understand which elements generate the most engagement from your audience, test and measure each component’s impact on your target engagement. Use Instagram’s analytics features to track the social media metrics that matter most to your business.
Do some content types garner more shares, saves, likes, or comments? Do you see more comments if you open or close your caption with a question?
Analyzing the answers to these questions will help you optimize your Instagram content for engagement so you can drive more results long-term.
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Turn your Instagram engagement into meaningful business results
While increasing your Instagram engagement will improve your performance on the platform, the end goal is always to drive more business growth. Consider partnering with an expert Instagram marketing agency like WebFX for help turning your Instagram engagement into more leads, sales, and revenue.
In the past five years alone, our team of 500+ digital marketing experts has generated 7.8 million leads and $3 billion in revenue for our clients. We’ll use our data-backed strategies to turn your Instagram into meaningful results like these without you having to stress about algorithms and likes and shares for a second.