If you've been reading our blog, then you know how much value I place on engagement and the engagement ratio. What is the engagement ratio? The engagement ratio (enagagement rate) is the number of followers divided by the number of engagement (likes + comments) a post receives. In this article, we'll take a look at why it's important and how you can improve your engagement on Instagram.
Why is the engagement ratio important?
First of all, you need to understand that Instagram is constantly evolving. New algorithms are put in place, new features are added, and more users are joining the platform. Along with that, Instagram marketing strategies are evolving to suit and "beat" those changes. The engagement ratio is used by Instagram marketers to measure their success throughout time and those changes. It's important to monitor changes in your engagement ratio so that you can continue doing business as usual (if the engagement rate is increasing or staying the same and you're happy with it) or change something up (if you notice a decrease in your engagaement rate).
Usually, big changes in engagement (mostly drops) happen when Instagram modifies their algo (how they show posts to followers, explore feed changes, recommended accounts, etc.) and that's normal. You have to adapt and overcome those changes as an Instagram marketer, and that's just part of the job. The engagement ratio lets you see how drastic of a change was it and whether your efforts to fix it paid off.
I'd like to add a little disclaimer, any assumptions about the Instagram algo is based purely on the experience of myself and other fellow Instagram marketers. In reality, no one knows how it works, except Instagram themselves. With that out of the way, I can say that the tips I provide here are proven to work and are based on numerous trial and errors.
How to improve your Instagram engagement 📢
There are various ways you can improve your engagement on Instagram. I've read a ton of blog posts advising some things I won't mention as I think they don't work. Your engagement can be boosted organically and artificially, and you'll see what I mean right away.
Post quality content and post it regularly
Whether it's stories, boomerangs, regular posts or something else, make sure everything you post is high quality. A sure way to lose engagement is to get lazy with your content. Your followers will notice, and you'll notice the engagement drop. Also, it's just as important to post regularly as it is to post quality. Try not posting for a couple of days and see your engagement plummet (or take my word for it and post regularly). If you want to read more on what makes good content you can read our article here.
Also, I'd like to mention that you can strategically schedule your posts around the times your followers are online. To do this, you will need a business account. Simply look at Insights and note when your followers are online. Try posting around that time and see whether your engagement ratio changes. It's all trial and error, but with the right knowledge, you'll get fewer errors.
Another thing that falls under the content section is writing enticing captions. Don't be lazy and write generic captions. Original, enticing or funny captions can earn you likes and comments, but even new followers. Your captions are your voice on Instagram so don't neglect them and use them to build a relationship with your followers!
Use relevant hashtags and lots of them
Hashtags are an important tool in an Instagram marketer's arsenal. They give you more exposure, engagement and earn you new followers. Try to use them as much as possible and be sure to use both popular and less popular hashtags so you can get featured in the "Top Posts" section of each hashtag. We have a whole article dedicated to hashtags so to avoid being repetitive I won't go into depth in this one. Feel free to read it here if you want to learn more on hashtags.
Block ghost followers
I know, what are ghost followers? Those are followers that don't interact with your posts (and I mean never), bots, disposable accounts, etc. They increase your follower count but don't provide any value to your account. I'd like to take this opportunity and advise everyone reading to resist buying fake followers. Yeah, I know it's popular, and it's cheap, but it's useless and will hurt your account. There are various tools online to find ghost followers, so I'll let you take your pick.
We presume that Instagram uses a form of engagement ratio in their algo and fake followers lower your engagement ratio, thus hurt your account. Instagram thinks your posts are just not interesting enough to hit the Explore page or Top Posts for a certain hashtag since your followers are not engaging with the post. That's why you sometimes see competitors buying fake followers for each other (bad practice, bad karma).
Use engaging Instagram Stories
I mentioned quality content already, but I wanted to highlight Stories. They can be used in various ways to increase engagement on your account. You could post Story Polls where users react or vote on something. Also, you can post Stories right after new posts inviting users to visit them. They are a good way to keep your audience engaged and thinking of you, while at the same time not spamming their feed. For more information on Stories, you can read our article dedicated to them here.
Instagram Engagement Groups
This is the artificial way of increasing your engagement I mentioned earlier. These groups consist of various rules which differ from group to group but usually, involve a certain follower count. Along with that, you're required to like or like and comment on each new post a member of the group posts. Thus, it is time-consuming, but it pays off (for now). There are various groups for all account sizes, but I'd honestly refrain from using them until you hit at least 20k followers. Also, as this is a sort of cheating the system by engaging with each other post, I wouldn't be shocked if Instagram penalized users using this form of promotion.
Increasing engagement is your number one task as an Instagram marketer. It's important to always be testing new things as the tips I gave today might be obsolete in the future. But, for now, if you implement these tips, you're bound to see an increase in engagement.