Instagram currently holds one of the highest engagement rate of all the social networks, if not the highest one. Not long time ago, Instagram has changed their algorithms which caused an engagement drop for many users and made it harder to grow your engagement as well.
However, even after the update, the engagement rate is still better than other social networks. I’ve been reading various posts from people lately experiencing low engagement rates and having troubles increasing their engagement rate. So I thought I could write a guide that might help you out to increase your engagement rate.
Engagement on Instagram is very important because it supports your overall content sharing and efforts to build a community. It also gives you an idea of who is interacting with your content, who is passionate about it and what kind of content people want to see.
Other than that, it also helps you grow your follower base by making you more discoverable on the Explore (previously Popular) tab. When someone follows you, or likes/comments on a photo shared by you, it appears on their feed which can be seen by their followers as well.
Before I post some of my tips and tricks for increasing your engagement, I would like to mention one last thing. Increasing your engagement should be your top priority if you would like to grow a big account. Almost all of us has once seen an account with millions of followers and only 100-200 likes per picture. That is a result of not paying attention to your engagement and pretty much makes the account worthless even though it has millions of followers. I would highly recommend you to put engagement rate in your top priority list if you are growing an account on Instagram.
Posting regularly is very important if you want to maintain your engagement rate and grow it even further. Almost all the popular and big accounts post at least once a day. Accounts with the highest number of fans tend to post a bit more than once per day – up to 2 or 3 photos per day on average. Keep your followers looking forward to something new.
AnotherÂ great way to form a relationship with your followers is to get them involved using their own photos and experiences. Engagement is also about getting your followers fired up and letting them in on the fun.
To get user-generated content, you could create an unique hashtag that will allow them to share their experiences with others or you could simply ask your followers to send you an e-mail or direct message you on Instagram. This way, not only they will feel like part of the “family”, but also it will encourage themÂ to share their appreciation with their followers as well.
When you’re posting photos, it’s important that they are quality photos and related to the account you’re growing (with several exceptions). If you are posting low quality images, some of your followers might skip your picture(s) and not engage with them, or even unfollow you (in the future).
Hashtags are used by usersÂ to search for new photos actively. Instagram has recently introduced a new feature called “popular posts for Hashtags”, which shows the 9 most popular pictures for the particular hashtag. By ranking up in the popular posts, you will be seen by more people, because you will always show up on the top of the list.
When you are posting new photos, you could use hashtags to reach a larger audience other than your new followers. It’s very important that you do a re-search on which hashtags you should be using, because not all the hashtags have equal value. However, the right hashtags can definitely expose your image to a large and targeted audience.
Time of posting
The time you post your images on your account really matters on the engagement. Posts on Instagram are shown as soon as they are posted, because Instagram does not have any special algorithms for sorting out theÂ photos. The Instagram feed is moving really fast, hence the best time to post your photos is when your followers are online. You need to understand when your followers are engaged in Instagram and how to get in front of them at the right times. This comes from measuring your own engagement at different times of the day and also the engagement of other similar accounts that you know your audience followers.
When some of your followers take the time to comment on your posts, don’t leave them high and dry. Reply to their comments and like some of their posts. This will surely help you grow your community.
Ask for it
A lot of brands and accounts are getting better engagement by simply asking for it and it truly works. Try it on a few of your posts and simply ask the users to either like (double tap) or comment the photo, or even tag someone who would like the photo.
Everyone loves free contests and giveaways, so why not give your followers a chance to be rewarded for their time and loyalty?
A contest on Instagram is easy to run and doesn’t require any money (except for the product or prize you’re giving away). It gives your followers a reason to stay engaged with your content and Instagram page. You can be very flexible on the rules of the contest, from requiring your followers to repost a photo, comment and like a photo, or simply to share a photo with a specific hashtag. The possibilities are endless.
Instagram has also published a post on their blog explaining how to host a photo contest. Social Media Examiner also have an amazing post explaining different types of contests and more in-deep on their blog.
Partner with other Instagrammers
Partnering up with other Instagrammers, especially in the same niche as yours,Â can ramp up your engagement. Doing a shoutout for shoutout from time to time and promoting each other will not only drive new followers, but will also increase your engagement rate. I would recommend choosing partners wisely, because if you partner up with someone from a different niche, your followers might not like the content in that particular niche which could have negative effect on your engagement rate.
If you have a channel on other social networks, make sure to notify your followers that you have an active Instagram account. If you have a website, you could also embed your Instagram photos in some of your posts.
Instagram allows users to upload videos of up to 15 seconds and not too many people are taking advantage of this feature yet. Most of the accounts I’ve seen uploading videos have pretty good engagement rate compared to other accounts in the same niche uploading photos. If there’s a way you could make videos in your niche, give them a try and see how it goes.
FollowÂ And Like Similar Accounts
This is one of the best methods to improve your engagement, as well as gain new followers. Find anÂ Instagram user in the same niche as yours or a hashtag relevant to your niche and follow the users who are either following that particular user or active in that particular hashtag. After following them, like their latest 2-3 photos as well. If you can comment, that’d be nice, but I personally don’t recommend commenting a lot, because of the restrictions Instagram has. Following and liking their latest 2-3 photos will be enough to get their attention to look at your profile. Liking their last 2-3 photos really helps increase the follow-back rate as well as the engagement over time. If you only follow people, the percentage of follow-back might be lower.
Emojis are slowly becoming a universal method of expression. Instagram hasÂ published an article on their blog stating that nearly 50 percent of all captions and comments on Instagram include an emoji or two. The article also includes some other useful information about emojis which you should know. If you’re interested more in emojis, you can read Anthony Thompson’s blog post about using emojis to grow your engagement.
I’ve recently read an interesting article about photo filters and how they can increase your engagement. You can read more about it here. Another interesting article I found is this one. A group of researchers analyzed millions of photos and found out that “filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed and 45% more likely to be commented on than unfiltered ones“.
(Image credits: Curalate)
Keeping up with the trends in social media is not the easiest thing ever.Â However, Instagram offers many opportunities for you to increase your engagement with your followers.
Sometimes finding the right strategy can take a few tries, but if you keep working you’ll start seeing results after some time.