Although seen as a place for sharing selfies, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media sites with over 800 million users. It gets 40 times more user engagement than Twitter and 15 times more engagement than Facebook.
Like any other social media platform, Instagram success is measured by your engagement rate and audience size.
By engagement rate, we mean the number of people who interact with your post by either sharing, liking, or commenting on them, and by audience size, we mean the number of followers you have.
Increasing your Instagram engagement rate is important for a couple of reasons;
First, it allows you to build a larger audience faster – and for free. The more engagement you get with your post, the more followers you attract.
Second, engaging your audience on a regular basis by sharing quality content with them helps to strengthen your relationship with them.
This also helps to keep your brand relevant.
The more you engage your audience, the more they will spread the word about your brand; they will become your brand evangelists.
How to Improve Instagram Engagement Rates
To increase your Instagram engagement rate, you need to implement these practices;
Find Your Optimal Posting Times
Although Instagram still uses an algorithmic timeline, knowing when to post is still relevant as timing counts in the algorithm.
By posting at the right times, you can generate more engagement on your posts which can prompt Instagram algorithm to keep your posts higher on your audience’s feed.
It might take some time to understand your follower’s activity, but it is well worth the effort to learn their patterns; post when the majority of your followers is online.
If you have a business profile, you can use Instagram Insights to know when your audience is most active by the time of the day.
To access this feature, tap on the profile tab and then bar chart icon located on the upper-right corner.
You will see a section of your follower’s activity information. By tapping on “See More,” you will see more detailed insights.
Publish Quality, Interesting, and Relevant Posts
Many people treat Instagram as an online directory for their products. However, your audience should always come first. Therefore, before posting anything, ask yourself the following questions;
- Will this interest my followers?
- Will it inform them?
- Will it entertain them?
- Will it spark emotions?
The main thing is not to publish consistently, but to provide content that adds value to your audience.
Add CTA’s to Your Instagram Posts
By requesting your audience to comment their thoughts about something you posted or inviting them to engage in your post can boost your Instagram engagement significantly.
That’s why adding a call-to-action in your Instagram captions is a great way of inspiring your audience to engage with your account in the comment section thereby spending more time on your post.
To create a CTA on Instagram, all you need to do is request your followers to do something after reading your post.
You can ask them their opinion about a new product, or ask them a question about what they are planning to do over the weekend, and tell them to leave their answers in the comment.
Hashtags are one of the most effective ways to help you stand out on Instagram.
They can also help you get relevant people who are not following you. Hashtags help users find content as they organize related videos and images that utilize specific hashtags.
The only thing you will need to master is to use hashtags that are topically relevant- something your audience would search for.
You can also leverage generic ones that work across various industries such as #TBT (Throwback Thursday).
If you have to improve your Instagram engagement rate, you have to do everything possible to get your content to the right people at the right time.
Hashtags will help you do that.
Get Active on Instagram
Relationships are two way, and both parties have to cultivate them.
Did you ever have that feeling that your friends never talk to you nowadays, and then you realize you have never taken the initiative to contact them first?
Instagram works in the same way.
You cannot always sit back and expect your fans to engage you all the time; you have to engage them in their posts as well.
When you like or comment on a post, other users will get a notification.
They are likely to check your profile, and if they like what you are sharing as well as how you are engaging them, they will probably follow you back.
In fact, you may find scenarios where their followers will follow you first after seeing your comment.
Reaching out to your audience is a great way of building followers organically and improve your engagement.
Even though engagement rate on Instagram is decreasing, you can still successfully grow your account.
By implementing the above tips and practices coupled with great, engaging content, you should be able to increase your engagement rates and get more comments and likes on your Instagram posts.
Keep in mind that, at the end of the day content is King.
If you are not creating unique, interesting, and creative content, then you will not be able to create more engagement.