A high Instagram engagement rate is one of the most important metrics that a brand will look for when selecting influencers
A high engagement rate (ER) means your audience is genuinely interacting with your content and the quality of your posts are high. Brands want to be reassured that your sponsored content will resonate with your followers, engage high volumes of their customers and drive them to action. This means the higher your engagement rate, the more brand collaborations you will secure.
How are engagement rates calculated?
Your ER is determined by two things: the number of post engagements you get and your follower count. Instagram has confirmed that the most important post engagements include comments, likes, re-shares and views. These metrics, calculated in with your follower count, determine your engagement rate.
Skip past the maths and establish yours by using your Vamp app. Head to your Profile and voila! Your engagement rate is ready and available for you to check. There’s also plenty of trustworthy online tools such as Hype Auditor, who do the calculations for you.
What’s a decent benchmark to follow?
There’s a lot that factors into benchmarks, such as the number of followers you have and your niche, so it’s a tricky question to answer. Macro influencers tend to have lower engagement rates compared to micro influencers, and fashion creators won’t generally have the same average engagement rates as gaming influencers. You can check out the average post engagement rate for each individual industry here.
However, we suggest having an engagement rate of at least 2%-3%, no matter your niche or following. This benchmark is what a lot of our clients look for as a minimum requirement when selecting their influencers.
How do I increase my Instagram engagement rate?
The all important question, and we have the answer! There are many strategies you can experiment with, but speaking from experience, here are the 10 most powerful ways you can increase your Instagram engagement rate.
#1 Create carousel posts
If you’re going to share an in-feed post, make it a carousel. It’s proven they receive a higher engagement rate, compared to single in-feed images and videos. They attract even more engagements when all 10 carousel slides are used.
You can use a carousel post to share before and after photos, photo dumps and tip-based threads. Use these posts to share as much information and detail as possible, that way you encourage your audience to save the post for later, boosting your engagement.
#2 Give your Instagram handle a face
If it works with your niche, you should make the effort to show your face throughout your Instagram content. Instagram posts that feature a human face are 38% more likely to receive likes and 32% more likely to attract comments.
People like people. Your followers want to be able to connect an Instagram handle to a face. It feels more personal which means they’re more likely to engage with your content.
#3 Time your posts wisely
Post at peak times when you know the majority of your audience is online. The more people who see your posts, the more engagements you’ll likely receive. Learn what your peak times are by checking your follower analytics.
Your insights tell you what day of the week and what time of the day your followers are most active. Also keep in mind where the majority of your audience is located, to ensure you post during their local hours. This will help you schedule your content at a time that will maximise your engagements. Learn more about why you should schedule your content here.
#4 Use Instagram to its full potential
When went live with Instagram, they confirmed that the most successful influencers on the platform use all of the app’s features available to them. This includes in-feed posts, Stories, Lives, IGTVs and Reels.
The more you use Instagram, the more engagements your account will receive. And yes, ding, ding ding, your engagement rate gets a nice big boost from all those follower interactions.
#5 Use your captions to engage followers
Keep your audience on your post for longer by giving them an engaging caption to interact with. Not only will you further connect with your audience, but you’re more likely to get them to engage if your caption encourages them to like, share, save and comment.
Keep the first line attention-grabbing with snappy language, emojis, capitals or extra space between letters. Try adding value and use your captions to provide mini blog-style ‘how to’ guides. Include dot points to help followers stay focused. It’s also a good idea to ask a question towards the end of your caption to encourage your followers to share their opinion or answer in the comments. Learn more about how to keep your audience engaged with longer captions here.
#6 Use relevant and researched hashtags
Hashtags are a great tool to use to expand your reach, place your content in front of more people and increase your engagement rate.
Use your limited number of hashtags wisely and only add ones that are relevant to your content. Don’t use #stopmotion on a time-lapse video. And don’t forget to use calendar-specific hashtags such a #WorldPhotographyDay and #WorldSocialMediaDay. These will insert your content into trending social conversations and help boost your engagements.
Also, remember to do your research. Check that it’s a trending hashtag and used by lots of other creatives. If members of your audience follow the hashtag then that’s also a great sign. And make sure you check what hashtags other creators in your space are using in their content. Learn more about how to use hashtags on Instagram here.
#7 Share interactive Stories
Instagram’s Story feature has a whole suite of stickers that allow your audience to directly interact with your content. One of the best ways to grow your engagement rate is to use these stickers on a weekly basis.
The poll, question, countdown, emoji slider and quiz stickers are all excellent tools to help encourage audience interactions and drive your engagement rate to a new level. Learn more about how to use Instagram’s Story stickers here.
#8 Geo-tag your location
Similar to hashtags, geo-tags will help grow your reach, get your content in front of more users and increase your post’s engagements.
This is an especially useful tool to gain more post saves. If you’re at a popular location, such as a trendy cafe or beautiful beach, make your geo-tag specific to that spot. That way when your followers see your post and are inspired to visit that same location, they’re likely to save the post to come back to it at a later date.
#9 Don’t forget community management
We bang on about this a lot, and there’s a reason for that – it works! Community management boosts your engagement. When you go out of your way to interact with your wider community, they’ll return the favour. It’s also very important to engage your followers within the first hour after posting, as this will help determine the rate at which your post is shown to your other followers.
Be sure you like and comment on posts from similar creators, react to Stories, reply to your own comments and DMs and re-share content that not only you find valuable, but your audience does too. Sharing the love establishes a relationship with your followers and helps build an engaged community. Learn more about community management here and here.
#10 Consistency is key
Ghosting your followers is a bad idea if your goal is to increase your engagement rate. When you regularly share engaging content, more of your followers will start to see your posts, which means they’re more likely to engage with them. Forgetting about your audience and leaving them hanging for weeks on end will cause them to disengage with your profile.
It’s important to schedule your content and plan out exactly how many posts you want to share each week. Keep it simple and set yourself weekly and monthly goals that you know you can achieve with your workload. Learn more about scheduling your social content here.
Remember, growing your engagement rate takes time and patience. It won’t happen overnight. But the more you experiment and play around with different strategies, the more results you’ll start to notice – and the more brands will want to collaborate with you. Oh, and don’t forget to track your performance. That way it’s easier for you to gloat about your hard work paying off!