Ah, the ever-elusive Instagram engagement rate. Have you ever wondered what a good engagement rate is, how to increase yours, or why it even matters?
Instagram engagement rates are actually declining for everyone – and they have been all year. Right now, a good engagement rate is about 1-4%, but the average number has been hanging around 2.4% early this year.
Why Should I Care About My Instagram Engagement Rate?
Anyone who uses Instagram for business should keep an eye on their engagement rate. Not only do brands, influencers, and potential partners look at this rate for social proof, but your potential customers are checking it out too. If you have a large following but a very low amount of engagement, people might start to think your followers are fake, which can hurt your credibility.
Having an engaged following also shows you that your audience is interested in what you’re posting, and they might be interested in buying from or working with you one day. You don’t need to obsess over your engagement rate, but it’s certainly something you should think about often.
How to Find Your Engagement Rate
If you’re wondering what your engagement rate is, it’s actually not difficult to calculate. Take a look at your last 10 posts. Add up the likes, comments, and saves that they received. Then divide that number by 10 (or however many posts you used). Then divide that by your total number of followers. Finally, multiply by 100 to get your percentage.
It looks like this:
(((Likes + Comments + Saves) / # Posts ) / Followers ) x 100
[If you want a faster way, though, you can use an engagement rate calculator.]
If your engagement rate is lower than you’d like, here are nine tips you can use to improve your Instagram engagement rate.
1. Grow Your Following and Engage with Other Accounts
One of the best ways to increase your engagement rate is to increase the amount that you engage with others’ accounts. Whether you’re commenting on your followers’ posts or liking posts from pages you enjoy or who might want to follow you, engaging with others encourages them to engage with your posts.
Growing your following with the right, real followers is another great way to improve your engagement. New followers are also often eager to engage. They chose to follow you for a reason (probably because of your great, captivating content), and the algorithm tends to show your new followers’ multiple posts when they first follow you. This gives them a chance to see what you post and also engage with you.
2. Share User-Generated Content
UGC is a great way to encourage your followers to engage with your posts. Because UGC isn’t created by your brand, users see it as more relatable and trustworthy. Using UGC also gives you a bit of a break from constantly creating new content ideas, and it might even provide you with some inspiration.
To operationalize this, explore a UGC platform that not only helps you acquire this content but to also use it in multiple ways. With UGC, you can encourage your audience to share their own stories of your product or brand. Pixlee then helps you collect that content and curate it so it’s published to whichever platform you’d prefer. You can even make it shoppable on Instagram to help drive conversions.
Users often love to hear from their favorite brands, so when you reach out to get permission to share their content, you’re also building their brand loyalty. If you’re struggling to see the ROI of this content, Pixlee has a custom dashboard so you can see how your content is performing.
By adding UGC to your content strategy, you’re encouraging your followers to help with your marketing efforts. And chances are when you share their posts, they’ll want to tell their audience that you featured them. UGC is a fairly simple way to help skyrocket your engagement.
3. Add Hashtags
Do you have a hashtag strategy? If you’re not already using hashtags, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon because they’re an excellent tool for getting your content in front of potential followers. Before you start throwing any hashtag you can think of on your next post, let’s go over a couple of strategy tips.
First, Instagram lets you use 30 hashtags per post, so you’ll want to take advantage of all 30 if you can. (Don’t go over that number though, or they might not let you publish it!) You don’t have to use all of these on every post, but you probably would on important posts that you want to have high traffic and visibility. Just make sure you’re choosing hashtags that are relevant.
Relevance is an important tip to keep in mind. If you have a photo of an apple and your caption is all about a pie recipe, using #dancestudio probably isn’t going to be a good idea. People searching for #dancestudio might not appreciate your apple photo and recipe. And Instagram’s technology is getting smart too. With AI, they can tell that your apple picture and hashtag don’t go together…which isn’t favorable for you.
Finally, make sure you’re using hashtags your audience is searching for and using. When you find a strong community- or industry-focused hashtag that doesn’t have too many posts already, run with it. And mix it up! Use hashtags that relate to your image, even if they’re a little off from your typical message. You never know who might come across your posts and be interested.
4. Use Call to Actions (CTAs)
Do you have a CTA in all of your posts? Whether it’s “check out the link in my bio to sign up for my email list” or even just “double tap if you agree,” asking your followers to take action is a key engagement opportunity. If you’re just looking for engagement, asking followers to like, comment, or save your posts is an obvious step.
If you use Instagram stories, (and you should be) you’ll want to add some CTAs there too. Engagement in stories isn’t just ‘replies’, although those are great because they let you chat with your followers and begin to build those relationships. Instagram story features such as question boxes, polls, quizzes, swipe-up, and other interactive buttons also count toward your engagement. So make sure you ask your followers for their thoughts, opinions, advice, or whatever fits your brand.
5. Optimize Your Bio
Speaking of sending people to the link in your bio, let’s take a look at your bio for a moment. Your bio is your best chance to connect with potential followers and encourage them to actually hit the “follow” button. You can also add an additional CTA to remind people to click the link and take the action you want them to take.
A good Instagram bio gives your potential followers enough information to decide whether or not to follow you. You can decide based on your brand, whether you want to provide a brief description and emojis or make it more professional.
With a business account, you can add your contact information, or a reservation button if you’re a restaurant. People often go to social media now to learn more about their favorite brands, so give them an easy way to reach out to you. Be clear and concise, but also let your brand’s personality shine through.
6. Make Sure You’re Sharing Quality Content
Having quality content is one of the best ways to encourage your followers to interact with your posts. People want to interact with other people, so show your human-ness as much as you can to your followers. If you aren’t running a personal account or a personal brand, no worries! Showcase your team members, host takeovers, and post-behind-the-scenes videos or photos. And remember, UGC can be pivotal here.
People love to get the inside scoop. Any “secrets” you can share, stories you can tell, or advice you can give, often resonates well. Give your followers a reason to look at your images, read your captions, and respond to you.
While you’re at it, make sure your feed looks cohesive. Whether you want to stick to a photo theme, a pattern, or even just a specific filter you always use, make sure your audience knows one of your posts when they see it. Potential followers will likely visit your profile to decide if they want to follow you or not. The nicer it looks for them, the more likely they are to follow.
7. Collaborate with Influencers in Your Niche
By partnering with an influencer, brand, or even someone with a complementary product or service to yours, you can reach an audience that may be brand new to you, and will likely be ready and eager to engage. Your partner will probably talk you up to their audience, and since their audience trusts them, they’ll be more willing to listen and want to learn more about you.
Influencers followers are very loyal, as are followers of certain brands. If you’re able to find the right partner that is a good match for you and your goals, collaboration can be a great way to boost engagement. You can run a contest together, or you can do a stories takeover swap to introduce one another to your audiences.
The most important thing here is to make sure that your audiences and partnership goals align. If your audience would truly be interested in your potential partner and vice versa, that’s a sign of a good partnership. You’ll also want to clearly outline the goals of the partnership. And with some good preparation, collaborations are a great way to boost your followers and engagement.
Cracking the Instagram engagement code can be tricky, and it will often take some trial and error. We gave you a long list of tips and tricks today, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, that’s okay. Choose one or two to implement this week and see how they make a difference in your analytics. When you feel ready, expand and add another to your strategy.
Rafaella Aguiar is the Director of Marketing at Kicksta. She specializes in content and social media marketing. You can find more daily marketing tips from her at @kicksta.co.