Having a strong following is important for marketing with Instagram, but it’s not the only thing to consider. When you’re planning your Instagram marketing campaign, you’ll also want to include goals for engagement, click through rate and sales coming from Instagram. After all, just having a following doesn’t do much good if it doesn’t make an impact on the bottom line of your business.
It’s easy to think about followers and sales, but sometimes Instagram engagement is an overlooked metric. After all, it’s not something as flashy as the follower number and it doesn’t directly correlate to dollars in your account. However, it’s a key thing to monitor and to improve, as it can have a major impact on the success of your Instagram account overall.
What Is Instagram Engagement?
Instagram engagement is the amount of likes, comments, saves and shares your posts receive. For Story posts, things like responding to polls also count toward engagement. Essentially, your Instagram engagement is whenever someone does something other than just see your post.
Why Is Instagram Engagement Important To Your Brand?
Instagram itself cares about your engagement. That’s one of the best ways the algorithm is able to see and determine what content is valuable to people on the app. If you have thousands of followers but only a handful of people actually like or comment on your posts, Instagram will assume your content isn’t valuable. If they don’t think it’s valuable, they won’t push it to other users on the platform. This can make it hard to grow your following and reach potential customers who might become sales for your brand.
Does High Engagement Help You Get More Followers?
Having a higher engagement rate can help you get more Instagram followers beyond just showing the algorithm that your content is valuable, though. It also shows any potential followers who reach your page that your existing followers enjoy your content. When someone is considering whether or not they’re going to follow a new page, they’ll probably see how well their posts perform. If people aren’t engaging with their posts, they might swipe out and decide not to follow the account. On the other hand, if they see plenty of comments and a lot of likes, they might be more inclined to hit follow and join your growing community to see your posts.
What Are The Common Engagement-Related Issues Faced By Brands?
Brands can see many engagement issues on Instagram. The most common is that people will either scroll past without engaging or they’ll just like the post. While likes are important, they’re the least helpful type of engagement, in terms of the algorithm. The algorithm prefers shares, saves and comments over likes. This is because it’s easy to double-tap a photo and move on with your day. To save, share or leave a comment on a post, the person has to really think it’s valuable to give up time and energy to engage more thoroughly.
5 Hacks To Improve Instagram Engagement
So hopefully by now you understand why engagement is important. We shouldn’t stop there, though. Let’s dive in to see some simple things you can do to increase your engagement on your page and help you create a stronger presence for marketing with Instagram.
- Find Out Which Time Is The Best Time To Post
Believe it or not, you can increase your engagement significantly just by posting at the right time! Every industry is a little different, so you’ll want to do your research to figure out what the best time to post on Instagram is for you.
Why This Helps
Posting at the right time helps your engagement in two ways. First of all, when you post at a time when your followers are active on the app, your post will more likely be shown to them right away. People like being ahead of the curve, so if they see you’ve posted just a moment or two ago, they’ll be excited to engage with it.
Secondly, posting at the right time again helps you win points with the algorithm. When people engage with your post soon after it goes live, the algorithm is then ready to push it to more people. If it performs well with them, it will then push it out again. So, if you publish a post when most of your followers are asleep or off their devices, they won’t be engaging and the algorithm will think your content isn’t valuable. Then, it won’t push it out to more people.
How To Determine The Best Time To Post
This will take some trial and error, but you can start by looking in your Instagram insights. See what time your audience is mostly on Instagram. Then, start posting during those times and see if your posts perform better than if you post during times when your audience isn’t on Instagram.
For example, Elise, a blogger at @wtfab, found that the best time to post for her audience is mornings and evenings between Sundays and Thursdays, because that’s when people are often scrolling through Instagram. They’re typically off their app on Saturdays.
- Write The Perfect CTA
The next hack for increasing your Instagram engagement is writing a great CTA. Your call to action is what’s going to ask someone to actually engage with your post or take another action. Be clear and concise: ask your audience to engage with your post.
Why This Is Important
Sometimes people don’t know how to engage with your posts. They don’t know that they can share a post with a friend or save it for later. Most people will follow directions, especially if they like the content you’re giving them. So, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
Tips On Creating The Perfect CTA
Be clear in asking your audience to engage with your post. If you want them to like it, ask them to hit the like button or double-tap. If you think they should share it with a friend, ask them to hit the paper airplane button to share it with someone they think would resonate with your message. Also, be concise. Don’t write three sentences asking someone to leave you a comment. The quicker you can get your message across, the better.
In this post, Ashley says “save this post in the right corner to come back to,” which helps people do just that.
- Include Contests In Your Strategy
Believe it or not, contests are one of the best ways to increase your engagement on Instagram and improve your brand’s reputation. When you create your contest, make sure the criteria to be entered is the kind of engagement you want to receive. If you want comments, ask someone to comment. If you want likes, too, ask them to do both.
Why This Helps
People love the chance of winning something, especially when they can enter for free. Leaving a comment, tagging a friend or liking a photo is a really easy way for them to try to enter a contest. Strategically timing your contests can help increase your engagement, brand awareness and even sales. If you ensure that the prize is something related to your brand or company, you could even convert your winners into customers.
Different Types Of Contests
There are many different kinds of contests but the most common is to give away a sample of your product or some sort of merchandise associated with your brand. Another very popular contest is one hosted with an influencer or with other complementary brands in your industry. This way you can increase your reach, boost your engagement and spread your brand awareness even more.
How To Implement Contests Successfully
If you’re ready to start running contests, you’ll want to strategize beforehand. Decide if you want to run your contest alone or with others, what the prize will be, what the criteria to enter are and how long your contest will run. Make sure you outline all of this in your post announcing the contest so your audience has all the information they need.
- Share Interesting And Helpful Facts & Figures
Another way you can boost your engagement is by sharing helpful information with your audience. Specifically, share facts, numbers and specific things that they might not already know.
Why This Helps
When you’re teaching something, you’re giving them excellent content to save or share. Talking about your story or what you’re doing this weekend is great content, but it’s probably not something they’ll share with their friends or save to refer back to later. However, if you decide to share facts and figures, they might want to send it to someone.
How To Do This
Teach something you know or share new ways to use your product or service. Tell your audience some fun facts about something related to your industry. Some great examples of this come from the Cincinnati Zoo. They’re always sharing fun facts about their animals, and people love sharing this new information with their friends.
- Respond To Comments
It might seem obvious, but chances are someone who’s reading this isn’t doing it. If people are leaving feedback on your posts, one of the best ways to increase your engagement is to respond to each comment.
Why This Is Important
People thrive on positive reinforcement. Chances are they’ve commented on your post to try to get your attention or because you asked them to with your CTA. When you respond to them, you’re telling them that you see the effort they used to engage with your post and you’re grateful for it.
Best Practices In Responding To Comments
Leave comments with at least four words in response, and then add emojis after those four words. Respond as quickly as you can, especially within the first 15 minutes after you make the post, and try to make your responses at least somewhat custom. It can be difficult to really get personal with some comments, especially if they’re generic, but try to say something a little different for everyone. Jasmine Star does an excellent job of responding to her comments.
Putting It All Together
When you’re looking to optimize your marketing with Instagram, you can’t forget to focus on your engagement. By asking for engagement through CTAs, hosting contests, responding to comments, sharing facts and posting at the right time, you’ll see your engagement start to increase. Once that happens, so will your following and hopefully your sales. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to implement these hacks and start growing your engagement today.