In 2020 Instagram turned 10, entering the list of Social Networks most popular ever along with Facebook and Twitter. In fact, Instagram does not seem to feel the weight of the years, because it always remains one of the most relevant platforms in the world of Social Media.
In recent years, the growth of Instagram has never stopped, and the introduction of new functions has helped to keep it up to date even in a world where le new generations are rather fickle in terms of Social Media.
The Social Network shows over 500 million active users every day, making it fertile ground for brands that want to expand and reach their own audience of potential customers.
In this article, we will see how companies can make the most of the platform, increasing the so-called engagement and level of user involvement in 9 simple but effective techniques.
Social Network: why engagement matters
The involvement of users is very important. For this reason, the attempts of brands to buy followers and interactions are not at all effective, because they find themselves with a ghost audience and totally useless in terms of sales.
Engagement on the contrary allows a company to measure and verify the interests of its audience, develop the relevance of the brand and establish its online presence in an effective and profitable way.
If the content aligns with the interests of the public, the level of engagement will be significantly higher.
It is also important to note the level of impressions: that is the number of unique views of the post and to relate it to the level of engagement and draw the appropriate conclusions.
A high level of engagement is achieved with content that the public deems relevant from an informative, educational and entertainment point of view. A user may prefer your content over that of a competitor because they distinguish you.
However, today's high level of engagement will be the same in the next three months? To monitor engagement and define benchmark is essential in order to avoid the risk of losing the initial run-up.
Identifying and retaining the public is also essential, but is even more effective to analyze how much this audience is involved in every post. A large number of potential followers could stay away from your page if they notice a low level of engagement of the existing platform.
What is the average level of engagement on Instagram?
There is not a magic formula to calculate the average engagement of users on Instagram. The variables are too many, starting with the type of industry and the strategic objectives of each Social Media Marketing campaign.
However, Instagram has a higher level of engagement than many other Social Media. According to a Hubspot report, this platform generates 23% more of interactions compared to Facebook, despite the double number of active users on this platform.
An engagement rate of around 1% is acceptable in the beginning. Being below the average is not a tragedy. The beauty of social media is that there is always room for improvement, it's all about maintaining a positive mindset.
Monitor changes in engagement and develop a new strategy using the data collected is always possible.
How is the engagement level calculated?
Here the debate is definitely on fire. Different industries require different calculations, and each marketer will have to create an own method which will depend from the objectives as a brand, because a generalized approach would be deleterious.
As for brands, the best formula to date is to consider impressions: that is how many have seen the post compared to the total number of followers. This is because usually companies convert more through visibility rather than followers.
As for the influencers, the discourse is distinctly different. The sponsors collaborate in particular with the influencers followed and who gets more likes, so the engagement calculation must be based on these two factors.
Since this metric does not require any internal data, it is even possible to compare one's engagement value with that of competitors, and modulate the strategy accordingly through the suggestions in the next sections.
9 infallible techniques
Be consistent with your content is extremely important to give the brand a homogeneous and easily recognizable image. There are several ways to stay consistent, but some of them are crucial.
First of all, the username should be similar if not equal across all the different platforms.
The consistency must also be maintained as regards the visual contents, because it will be needed to find a format to use for each post. A striking example is Nike, which features a minimal but incredibly recognizable style.
Furthermore, homogeneous content is even more effective and pleasing to the eye, and users will recognize the company simply by its unmistakable style. If they find your content on a different platform, they will already know that is yours, and they will follow you there too.
Of course, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of the target audience. Develop an “Instagram persona” is a very useful technique for predicting how and how much typical users will interact with posts.
If you know who your followers are, creating content that meets their expectations will be more simple and will be even more easy for them to interact. Always take the time to monitor the status and update your "Instagram persona" accordingly.
Insights are a great tool for identifying demographics about your audience. If you have a Business account, you can access it through the tab section of the menu. Here you can check the age and the gender of your followers, as well as their demographic area.
Regardless of the target audience, content on Instagram must be accessible. What does it mean? That even people with disabilities may consume your content through text, subtitles and audio on your content.
Publish regularly is another way to increase engagement. In 2021, 60% of Instagram users reported visiting the platform at least once a day, and 38% more than once a day.
It is also important to know the best time to post, and this data can be extrapolated via Instagram Insights, which will tell you when and how your users are more active at certain times of the day.
It is also good to pay attention to the captions of your posts. You will need to focus on using a consistent tone of voice and speaking to your followers effectively. The length or tone must be modulated according to the goals you want to achieve.
Each caption can submit up to 30 hashtags per post, but keep a balanced approach. Throwing random hashtags with similar keywords may make you think of the algorithm you are spamming, and it may avoid showing your posts to the public.
Your hashtags should be a mix of popular and specific. For example, if you're running Instagram for a hotel, you'll want to use popular hashtags like #hotel and #travel. However, the use of purely popular hashtags is not recommended.
Of course if you want users to interact with you you will need to interact with them. Answer their comments and questions, post a quiz or an interactive story that allows your followers to feel involved in your brand.
Engaging your followers can also mean sharing their content on your page and asking them to create content for a challenge. For this reason, branded hashtags are very important.
Your followers will be happy to interact with you, because this means establishing a personal and trusting relationship between them and your brand.
The idea behind Instagram is precisely that of connecting people to each other through the publication of content, therefore it is also convenient to interact with competitors!
Using Instagram to interact with accounts similar to yours is of vital importance. For brands, this could also mean winning collaborations with influencers from the same industry, which is extremely positive because Influencer Marketing is one of the techniques with more return on investment.
However, interacting with competitors is also a good technique. Commenting on posts from other brands similar to yours will give you the possibility to show you to users of your rival brand, who may be attracted to it.
Another tip is to create varied content. When Instagram was launched way back in 2010, it was only possible to post photos. To date, there are 5 types of content that can be posted on instagram: photos, videos, IGTV, Reels and Instagram Stories. It is good to vary the format as much as possible.
Each content should then have a Call To Action, or a phrase that urges the user to perform a certain action, such as following the account, visiting the site, reading the article or purchasing the product.
The specific action should be tailored to your brand, service or type of influencer. This could include a notification regarding a promotion via a link on a story, or asking users to tag a friend in the comments up.
Although links to external sites do not directly impact the level of engagement, they still require the user to pass more; time on your profile, and will give you the possibility to convert them into followers on other platforms.
Finally, it is essential to constantly analyze the statistics from Instagram Insights. This will allow you to verify the functioning of your strategy and understand what works and what doesn't to make the necessary changes promptly.
Instagram is not an exact science
Although all the tips you have read so far will help you increase your engagement level, mistakes are possible and will be useful in modulating an even more personalized and targeted strategy, taylor made for your brand.
Once you have calculated your engagement level for the first time, you will establish a time frame that will define how often you want to check again. If, for example, your goal is to increase engagement by 10% in one year, then it is advisable to check it every three months.
This can also help you understand what to do and what not to do: if the level of engagement is at a standstill or even decreases, it will be needed to make changes. After all, engagement measures nothing more than user interactions with your posts.
This metric is an indicator that shows your authority, relevance and interest shown by your followers. If your content is optimized and your followers interact, it is assured that the level of engagement will reflect this.
Furthermore, assess the level of engagement is useful for the whole strategy, because the data collected will be used to modulate it according to the objectives. It is a useful benchmark to the measure the loyalty of your customers and their satisfaction.