Instagram engagement: What is it, why it matters and how to increase it
On our blog we often talk about Instagram engagement and the brands that are doing great. Now we wanted to go into more detail about what specifically engagement is, why it matters and how your brand can create more engagement with your community.
What is Instagram engagement?
Engagement refers to the interactions that are posted on content shared on social networks. On Instagram, this can be likes, comments or people following you. All of these interactions are important for your overall Instagram marketing but they each have varying levels of value. Likes are great to know how your community is responding to the content you're sharing. Comments are an even higher form of engagement on your posts (especially when your community is tagging their friends on the comments to share the post with more people). However, following is the best form of engagement because it gives you the opportunity to re-engage the follower in the future, which is the ultimate goal. Driving engagement is an important aspect of any and every social network, but we focus on the engagement from your fans on Instagram because this network drives a much higher degree of engagement over the others. This means that every savvy social media marketer needs to understand why engagement matters and what they can do to increase the interactions with the content they’re sharing.
Why Instagram engagement matters
Engagement on Instagram is important because of the ways it supports your overall content sharing and your efforts to build a community on the visual network. On the surface, engagement matters because it gives you an idea of who is interacting with your content, who is passionate about it and more specifically, what content care about. But by going a step further with your efforts to drive engagement and measurement of it, you can use this knowledge to grow your following on Instagram and strengthen relationships with members of your community.
Engagement helps you grow your Instagram following by making you more discoverable on the Explore Tab. When your followers like and comment on your posts, they're enabling your content to appear to their followers who are also interested in the content that you're sharing. This is what makes the Instagram Explore Tab work and a big factor of what makes engagement so important.
And all of the efforts you take to increase your engagement on Instagram work to strengthen your relationships with your customer through visual content. Engagement isn't just a one-way road, when you're able to interact with the people who are interacting with you then you can build relationships and encourage more participation. These interactions help you build brand advocates through your social relationships.
For all of these reasons, Instagram engagement is important and should be encouraged for your owned media. But now you're probably wondering, how do we encourage these actions? Well that's a good question, I'm glad you asked...
How to increase Instagram engagement
Increasing engagement with the content you're sharing on Instagram should always be a top priority for any brand trying to leverage Instagram marketing. Here we'll outline some of the best strategies for increasing engagement with the content you're sharing and you can subscribe to our blog to learn more tips for your overall Instagram marketing strategy.
Know who your community is
The first step is to learn about your community. You need an intimate understanding of who currently is viewing your content and who you want your content to be viewed by. This will guide your Instagram content strategy with what you should be posting and when in order to receive the most interactions from your community. This can be achieved with tools like SEEN Insights where you can measure who is interacting with your content and get an understanding of what else they're interacting with to learn more about your community.
Post authentic content
If you're not sharing anything then there won't be anything to interact with. But it’s more than posting just to post, a goal should be sharing posts that communicate your brand's lifestyle and value while being relevant to your community and what they want to see from you. This means not being overly salesy if that isn't what your community responds to. But don't be afraid of product shots. It all depends on what your followers would expect to see from you. Which comes back to having a firm understanding of who your community is.
Post at the right times
The Instagram feed is a tough place to get noticed. It's fast moving and if you're not seen when your followers are active in the app then there isn’t a good opportunity for you to drive engagement. You need to understand when your community is engaged in Instagram and how to get in front of them at the right times. This comes from measuring your own engagement rates at different times of the day and also the engagement rates of other similar accounts that you know your community also follows. Again, this emphasizes the importance of learning about your community.
In order to get your content discovered you want to be using hashtags in order to increase your exposure. If it fits your brand, hashtags can be used in humorous ways to spice up your captions but their main benefit is to enable interested Instagrammers to stumble across your content. Consider the purpose of any hashtag you create for your brand promotions in order to use them most effectively.
Interact and be interacted with
When your followers take the time to comment on your posts, don't leave them high and dry. Respond to their enthusiasm and reply to their comments and like their posts. This will excite and delight your community. Also, go out of your way to interact with posts shared by your most passionate community members in order to further encourage their engagement and participation. When you're interacting with your community's posts though, always be sure you're following Instagram community guidelines and commenting without being spammy. The interactions you give to your community should serve the purpose of inviting them to interact with you even more.
Campaigns and contests on Instagram are one of the simplest and most effective ways to drive engagement with your community. This gives them opportunities to share with your brand while giving you opportunities to interact with them and share in their enthusiasm. There are plenty of great examples of campaigns that can inspire your next campaign. And planning them is simple with our free Instagram campaign planning guide. When you're looking for ways to increase engagement, consider launching an Instagram contest to build engagement opportunities with your community.
As with any of the activities you take with your Instagram marketing initiatives, we always encourage people to measure what they're doing to know what works and understand how to improve it!