Want to know how to increase engagement on Instagram? Do you wonder why some accounts get over 2,000 comments on a single post while others struggle to get 20 people to comment? How do they do it? Do they know something you don’t?
Maybe they do.
A lot of people think that building a huge following on Instagram will make them successful.
But the real secret is building an engaged community. And that, my friend, takes a lot of work.
Ready to learn how you can build an engaged community on Instagram? Grab a pen & piece of paper and be ready to take some notes. In this post, we’ll go through some tried and tested techniques that top brands use to turn their followers into fans.
Your engagement on Instagram is a sum of all your likes, comments, and saves divided by the number of followers at the time of the post. The engagement rate is an important metric because it indicates how frequently your followers interact with your content. If you notice your post engagement is high, it means that your audience resonates with your content – and you are doing a good job. Otherwise, it means that your content is not aligned with your followers’ expectation.
Check out your post individual post insights and look for the following indicators of engagement:
For image posts
Engagement = likes + comments + shares + saves
For IGTV videos
Engagement = views + likes + comments
Look at: actions taken + watch through rates
Engagement Rate (ER)
ER = (average likes + comments per post) / number of followers x 100
Let’s use GymShark Women for example and calculate their ER. Their posts get an average of 40,000 likes, 300 comments and they have 2.7 million followers at the moment of this article being written. So their ER is calculated as follows:
GymShark Women ER = (40,000 + 300) / 2,700,000 x 100 = 1.49 %
Pro Tip: You can use a free tool like ShareMyInsights to track your Instagram posts engagement and even compare it with your top competitors.
According to Phlanx.com, the average engagement rate on Instagram ranges anywhere from 1% – 6 %.
Now that you know how to calculate your engagement rate, it’s time to get into the juicy stuff. We are going to give you the best strategies to help you grow an engaged community on Instagram engagement rate and show you how some real-life examples of brands who are crushing it right now! These are the thought leaders when it comes to building engaged communities of followers on Instagram. So how do they do it?
It basically comes down to doing these 7 things:
- Understand your followers
- Start conversations on Stories
- Share content from your followers
- Post valuable content that solves a problem
- Write engaging captions
- Show that you are a real person
- Engage with your followers on their posts
Let’s dive into the details!
You may enjoy posting inspirational quotes on your feed. But does your audience find them useful or interesting? They may actually find it annoying and prefer funny memes. It’s really important to understand your followers and what type of content they’re interested to see. Once you understand what makes people engage, you can use it to create content that your audience will crave for.
What makes them leave a comment or share your post with their friends? Studies that tried to understand human behaviour have shown that people engage with posts that:
- make them laugh
- make them feel good about themselves
- are filled with emotion
- are top of the mind stories
- are valuable information
Netflix is an example of a company that pays really close attention to its customers. Who they are, what do they do, and what content they like – Netflix knows it all. And because they know all about their audience, they’re able to post engaging content that their followers love. For example, Netflix noticed that their audience responds well to humour and casual posts. So they started using a friendly tone to communicate with their followers and even meme-fyed their own content to make it more shareable. As a result, Netflix posts get so much engagement, shares and comments from their fans.
Tip: Using Instagram Statistics tools are great to understand your audience and find out what type of content gets the best engagement. Then, create content that meets your followers’ expectations.
Don’t take the “social” out of social media. Keep in mind that Instagram is a platform for 2-way communication.
Stickers on stories are a great way to start 1:1 conversations with your audience. Use stickers to understand what your customers want, what issues do they face and find a common interest to talk about. If your followers take the time to leave a reply on your post, the least you could do is reply back and show you’re a genuine person.
Preview takes their stories to the next level by using a variety of stickers to interact with their audience. While their feed is a magazine full of educational content, their stories are full with behind the scenes and interactive content, including frequent photobombs by the owner’s cat.
So if you want to maintain a professional-looking feed but you still want to know your followers better use Interactive stickers on your stories. This will show your followers that you are an active Instagram account and they are more likely to engage with your posts. Besides that, the algorithm will love you and your posts will be shown more frequently on your followers feed.
Fact: Studies have shown that stickers on Stories increase engagement 83% of the time. However, using more than 1 sticker in a post will decrease your reach. Don’t overdo it.
Nothing makes your followers happier than when their favourite brand borrows their content.
One brand that uses user-generated-content (UGC) to boost their engagement is Glossier. By borrowing and reposting content from their followers and working with influencers, Glossier created an authentic and organic brand image that is relatable to their customers.
You can also use this strategy to get your audience to create content for you. For example, start a hashtag campaign and encourage your audience to create content that is on-brand with your aesthetic for a chance to be featured. You’ll then have to check your branded hashtag or go to your tagged posts tab and find content to repost on your page.
You can also shoutout your followers on your stories from time to time. When you repost content from your followers, they’re more likely to share your posts with their friends and family. This way you’ll expand your reach and get even more engagement on your posts.
Remember: Only use UGC to complement your original content. If your followers feel that you are sharing irrelevant content too often, they are likely to leave.
According to Emarketer the most engaging content on Instagram are “How to” video tutorials.
Why are you even surprised?
Everyone (including your followers) is always looking to learn something new. How to fix a bad hair day, how to change a lightbulb, how to edit IGTV videos … you get it. The most searched content is the one that solves a problem.
Neil Patel uses this strategy and his posts mostly revolve around teaching his followers how to use SEO to get more traffic. And his posts proves he knows how to increase engagement on Instagram because he is helping people solve real-life problems which creates a lot of conversation.
Tip: If you want to boost your engagement first, you need to think: “What is something I can teach my followers?”. Then, create educational posts that are saveable and shareable (scheduling your posts is a great time saver). If you aren’t comfortable filming an IGTV video, you can create a slideshow type post in Canva. The most important thing is to focus on providing value.
Sometimes, you’re not getting engagement but content may not be the problem. It might be the way you write your captions.
Naturally, people have a tendency to be lazy and consume content fast. So your followers may enjoy your but they will not leave a comment – unless you specifically ask them to do it!
You can use your captions to tell stories and captivate your audience but don’t forget to add a call-to-action (CTA). A CTA does not always have to be directing people to make a purchase or to “click the link in bio”.
A simple CTA asking people to answer a question will result in much more comments from your audience. It doesn’t matter where in your caption you include your question. You can either start or end your post with a question. For example: “What’s the last book you read? Comment below.” You try it! It actually works.
Fact: A study by Later.com has shown that longer captions have better engagement, with the optimum length is between 65 – 75 words.
One of the biggest mistakes that is stopping people from interacting with you, is not knowing who you are.
And if they don’t know you … what are the chances of them leaving a comment?
Probably very low. You don’t want that.
Instead, show your face and make sure they know who you are. An easy way to do it is to introduce yourself to new followers on Stories and talk about your life and your business. You can then save this story under an “About me” highlight where new visitors can learn all about you.
Or think of something that makes your brand unique and people may relate to? For example, I noticed that since I started sharing my love for Starbucks coffee, people started messaging me and sending me screenshots every time they passed by a Starbucks store. And then we’d start sharing coffee recipes and tips and our conversations will just on from there.
Remember: People want to know the face of the brand. Use Stories to post behind the scene videos and Q&As that show that you are a genuine person and that you’re approachable. In fact, since Stories only last for 24 hours, they don’t need to be perfectly choreographed.
Don’t just sit there and wait for people to interact with your posts. If you want to attract an active and engaged audience you should lead by example. Go to their posts, watch their stories and interact with them. This way, they will visit your Instagram account and leave comments on your posts too. You can find your ideal clients by searching for relevant industry hashtags or location tags. Then go ahead and start leaving meaningful comments on their posts.
- An example of what you could say: “Hey Jenny! Love this photo of your cat Tom. I also have a male British shorthair cat named Tobey. How old is your cat?”
Or you could send a personalised DM to start conversations:
- “Hi, Michael! I saw from your posts that you’ve recently been to Bali. I have always dreamed of travelling there. Do you have any tips or recommendations? Would love to hear them.”
Tip: Be proactive and start conversations with your ideal audience. But be sure not to come off as a spammer and stay away from “copy+paste” sale-sy DMs. Plus, you can now send Instagram DM’s from your desktop, which makes it even easier to start conversions!
The bottom line is … growing an active and engaged community it’s not easy and it takes a lot of hard work. But don’t be discouraged. Even the biggest brands on the planet struggle – and they have all the marketing pros to help them. So don’t be discouraged. The first step is understanding what engagement is and how to calculate it by yourself!
So the next time you’re planning your Instagram content strategy, try to incorporate these tips and watch your community grow.
We want to hear from you: what are some of the strategies you use to keep your Instagram audience engaged?