Back in 2016, Instagram implemented a new algorithm. Surprisingly, the algorithm actually delivers one of the most consistently relevant content compared to other social media platforms. However, this switch wasn't well-received by its users. In fact, it led to Instagram users only seeing about 90% of their friends' posts. Which is definitely a good thing, because prior to the update they were missing 50%!
What this means is that Instagram started to prioritize more relevant content. And a result, it helped to increase the engagement on the platform. But it wasn't just user's posts that saw more engagement. The data shows that brands began to experience a 105% increase in interactions, too.
So why is Instagram becoming increasingly more important when it comes to brands? Here's why... the amount of time users spend on the Instagram app is actually increasing! On the other hand, the amount of time spent on Snapchat, Facebook and other platforms are slowly decreasing. Therefore brands really need to focus their energy on engagement - especially when it comes to Instagram.
Everything You Need To Know About Instagram Engagement
Let's take a moment to talk about what makes Instagram so engaging. There are five main reasons...
- It enables creativity.
- Instagram is highly visual.
- Users spend more time on Instagram.
- The algorithm favors relevant content.
- It's perfect for engaging content creators.
All of this adds up to something that brands can truly use to their advantage. But you might be wondering how much Instagram engagement do brands ACTUALLY generate. And most importantly, are brands taking advantage of Instagram's potential to drive interactions?
What are the most engaging industries on Instagram?
Creating engaging content for Instagram can be tricky. I know I'm not the only one who has pondered about the perfect way to caption something. But some industries just get it right every time. The fashion, beauty, and e-commerce industries thriving on Instagram. In fact, they have one of the largest volumes of total user engagement:
Let's take a look at one of the most critical factors impacting your engagement volume - the Instagram news feed algorithm. It's something that you really need to take into consideration.
How Instagram's Algorithm REALLY Works
Everyone wants to know how to get more likes on Instagram. The first step is to properly understand Instagram's algorithm. For many years, the company has kept it pretty hush-hush. But recently, Instagram has shed some light on the way posts appear in users' news feeds.
Instagram unveiled six main factors that impact the content of users' feeds:
- Interest. Based on previous interactions with similar content, Instagram predicts how much users will care about a post and ranks it accordingly high.
- Recency. Fresh posts will appear higher than the old ones.
- Relationship. Posts from people you frequently interacted or were tagged in pictures within the past will appear higher in the feed.
- Frequency. Depending on how often you open Instagram, the app will show you the top posts published since your last visit.
- Following. If you're following multiple people, Instagram will select content from a wider selection of people as opposed to focusing on a single person
- Usage. If you use Instagram for multiple short sessions, it will show you only the top content since your last visit. If you spend more time during a single session on the app, it will add other posts to the mix.
All of these play a major role when it comes to deciding where in the news feed your content will appear. And a lot of them are beyond a brand's control, like frequency and usage. It solely depends on the way your audience uses Instagram.
And to make things even more interesting - is that you can score higher in the interest and relationship category if you get users to frequently interact with your posts.
Just keep in mind that there are a few things that Instagram's algorithm ISN'T doing:
- Favoring videos over photos
- Hiding posts in the news feed
- Down-ranking users for publishing too often
- Giving more exposure to personal or business accounts specifically
- Up-ranking posts from users using Instagram-specific content formats, such as Stories
14 Ways To Increase Your Brands Engagement on Instagram
1. Create personalized content.
Personalized messages are a lot more meaningful and they always generate higher engagement. But in order to produce personalized content - you need to actually get to know your audience. This will help you better understand what works best for them. As a result, you'll improve your engagement because you are sharing what your audience wants to see.
2. Publish your content at the right time.
Posting to Instagram takes a little finesse. Especially when you want to figure out the right time. You need to know when your audience is most active. This largely increases your chance of getting better interactions.
3. Collaborate with social media influencers.
Working with a social media influencer can help with your reach. Not to mention the fact that it helps to engage new users beyond your regular audience.
4. Have clear CTAs in your caption copy.
You NEED to have a clear call-to-action in your Instagram posts. It's one of the best ways to get a particular response from your audience.
5. Use hashtags.
Hashtags are like magic when it comes to your engagement on Instagram. If you use them correctly you can increase the chances of people actually discovering AND interacting with your content. Plus, if you add at least ONE hashtag to your post you can increase your engagement by 13%!
6. Leverage user-generated content.
Publishing user-generated content lets you change up the content AND encourages people to interact with your brand by submitting their own posts. Essentially what happens is that they post and tag you, it shows in their feed and their followers have a chance to discover your brand. When this happens, it's always a good idea to share the love by sharing their post.
7. Host Instagram Takeovers
Go ahead and let either your employees or influencers take over your Instagram account for a few days. Then see how they engage your audience in a variety of ways.
8. Show the authentic side of your brand.
Instead of making your profile all about selling, try showing a more authentic image. You can publish behind-the-scenes posts that will make users more interested in your company AND encourage them to interact with you.
9. Take advantage of Instagram Stories Highlights.
Your most active followers are going to be what increases your engagement. An easy way to turn your regular followers into super fans is to start using Instagram Stories Highlights. This feature is like content buckets for your profile. You can create different categories of your highlights and watch the engagement roll in. You're essentially inviting your followers to spend more time engaging, watching and learning more about your brand.
But keep in mind that existing followers rarely visit your Instagram profile after they’ve followed you. Therefore it's important to encourage them to check out your highlights.
10. Add text overlays to your images.
This lesser-known trick allows brands to get a little more interaction. Try it and see what happens.
11. Mix up content formats.
Instagram gives marketers a chance to get creative with their content formats. Such as Live, Boomerang videos, or Stories. These formats are perfect when it comes to engaging your following.
12. Join in on the popular conversations.
Whenever you become part of a larger conversation, it can help you create an active discussion with your audience. You can search for popular conversations by searching through relevant hashtags.
13. Interact with other peoples' content.
This is an absolute must. Especially if you want people to start interacting with you. It's best to make a habit of regularly liking or commenting on other users' posts. Why? They'll more than likely return the favor.
14. Make your images bright and blue.
Instagram really is great for keeping users engaged.
Which is why brands should honestly take advantage of this popular social media platform. You'll definitely start to see an increase in interactions. But keep in mind that interactions shouldn't be the only goal when it comes to Instagram.
Instead, brands should focus on leveraging Instagram engagement as a way to drive your business objectives. A diversity of social media platforms is what helps you reach more people. Not everyone is on one app! Are you new to Instagram? If not, have you found some simple ways to increase your engagement that we didn't list? Let us know in the comments below, so we can discuss!