Every brand today is trying to boost Instagram engagement. The goal is to get more likes, comments, and shares.
But why is all of this so important?
Increasing Instagram engagement means that more people are interacting with your content while also eyeing out your brand. This can lead to direct sales queries from people wanting to know more about the products in your post.
It can also lead to long-term brand building and a more substantial online presence.
Ready to boost Instagram engagement numbers?
Let’s get started.
- How Instagram Measures Engagement
- Strategy One: Promote Sharing and Saving
- Strategy Two: Use Stickers and Questions
- Strategy Three: Use Video Elements
- Strategy Four: Prioritize Relevance
- Strategy Five: Collaborate for Success
- Boost Instagram Engagement Q & A
- Final Thoughts
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How Instagram Measures Engagement
The word “algorithm” strikes fear into the hearts of business owners and marketers around the world. This idea that an automated program determines what we can and can’t see online raises controversy about censorship and targeted marketing and data collection.
However, “algorithm” isn’t a bad word.
Consider what the Instagram feed would look like without some sort of program in place. People would see quick blips of everyone’s content, whether it’s relevant to them or not. Everything would be posted chronologically, and you might never discover that fantastic account that seems to speak to you directly.
The algorithm’s goal is to showcase relevant, recent content, similar to the way Google works. Elements like categories for Instagram business, hashtag interactions, and relationships impact what someone sees. Engagement is a key component of the algorithm and one of the most powerful influences on what gets shown in the feed.
So, How Does Engagement Get Measured?
The longer and more in-depth an interaction with your post, the higher your engagement will be. Likes and views are a basic form of engagement, with a view of someone looking at your post or video for at least three seconds. That’s why many brands have success with longer captions that tell a story.
Saving and sharing are heavily weighted in Instagram engagement because it highlights more intention when interacting with a post. These actions trigger the algorithm to showcase that the content is worthy of note. Additionally, the post will be revisited or seen by more people.
Comments also play an important role in engagement, as do actions taken from a post. For example, if someone clicks through a shoppable post or uses this post as a gateway to your profile, Instagram insights will capture that action.
Strategy One: Promote Sharing and Saving
Once you know how Instagram measures engagement, the intuitive approach is to promote your post’s sharing and saving. Yes, you can and should add a strong call-to-action inviting people to share or save your work. However, the content also needs to showcase the value that makes it worthy of your audience’s attention. That’s the part that challenges many brands.
What Makes a Post Share-Worthy?
For someone to share a post, it has to speak to them in some way. Whether it’s a cause they care about, a quote that feels important, or information about a hot topic, relevance is everything.
When it comes to share-worthy posts, the struggle for many brands is that it’s rarely the product or service that resonates. Instead, it’s the stories of triumph and notable advice or expertise that stand out.
Grrrl Clothing is a brand that strikes a balance between selling products and promoting its overall brand mission. This brand’s approach shares stories of powerful women overcoming challenges and achieving self-actualization. These are the stories that get shared by followers and receive the most engagement. As such, more people see the sales-oriented posts when they enter the feed.
Brand alignment is critical with this strategy. If you have a lighthearted, fun brand, share funny memes and quotes. If you take a more serious approach, focus on those human stories that resonate.
To summarise what makes a post share-worthy:
- Stay relevant
- Users love powerful stories, advice, and expertise
- Your content must align with your brand image
What Makes a Post Save-Worthy?
Instagram’s collections are this platform’s take on Pinterest boards. The key to promoting saves is creating something that someone will want to revisit later. This information could be anything from a tip to a step-by-step process, like a recipe. Generally, a post worth saving has an educational or inspiring element to it.
Strategy Two: Use Stickers and Questions
Another strategy for boosting engagement is to give the microphone to your audience. Instead of solely broadcasting to your followers, give them the floor by asking them to share their views by incorporating questions and polls into your content.
How Stickers Improve Engagement
Stickers and GIFs are an interactive element for use in Instagram Stories. As of 2021, the leading interactive stickers include:
As someone clicks through your story, these interactive stickers encourage someone to pause and engage with your brand. This action boosts your engagement rate while also boosting brand awareness and providing valuable insights.
Use a simple poll or scale to determine which product your audience likes better. For example, Sisterly Swimwear will often use polls to ask the audience which color swimsuit they like better. Followers can vote for their favorite, boosting engagement with minimal effort or commitment.
The question sticker also promotes brand awareness and engagement by getting viewers talking about various subjects. Asking something simple like “how are you doing today?” or “what are your goals for this week?” creates a connection that also impacts engagement.
How Questions Improve Engagement
In addition to using the questions sticker in stories, you can also add these elements in text form to your posts. Use a question as a hook for your post by incorporating it into the first couple of sentences. Keep in mind that viewers will only see the first 3-4 lines of your post in the feed, depending on their mobile settings.
Asking a question encourages commenting on your post, triggering the algorithm, and boosting your engagement. It also presents an opportunity to build a rapport with followers and continue a conversation in the future.
Putting the Feedback to Use
While the focus might be on boosting engagement, don’t overlook the value of the data you collect using these strategies. Keep the feedback collected from questions and polls to shape future product development, spark content inspiration, and connect with your customers on a deeper level.
Strategy Three: Use Video Elements
It’s estimated that by 2022, online videos will dominate the internet, making up more than 82% of online consumer traffic. In other words, people want to see videos. In response, Instagram has expanded their video content capabilities in recent years.
Here are the main types of Instagram videos and how you can use each type to boost your engagement. It’s worth noting that as of right now, there are no reports on whether specific types of video are weighted more heavily in engagement rates.
There are numerous benefits to going live when trying to boost engagement. This option creates the opportunity for a real-time conversation with audience members, which is ideal for new product launches, Q&A sessions, or promoting events.
One of the benefits of using live video is that your followers will receive a notification leading them to your video when you start streaming. This notification can interrupt scrolling or draw attention to your content.
Remember, Instagram live videos are capped at 60 minutes.
Instagram Reels is the platform’s answer to the rising tides of TikTok. TikTok is Instagram’s biggest competition, generating over $115.3 million in user spending during 2019.
One of the benefits of Reels is that it has its own feed and can be promoted in both feeds and the user’s story. These videos can be from 15-30 seconds in length and can be used to share content created in TikTok for effective repurposing.
Use Reels to participate in video challenges and gain traction with both the Millennials and Gen-Z.
Instagram Stories still hold a lot of merit with user engagement due to their position at the top of the screen in the user interface. Brands can use stories to create simple 60-second updates or share videos from other users. Stories are frequently used for sharing user-generated content, which is an engagement-boosting strategy in itself.
Using in-feed videos is a fantastic way to break up the grid and stand out against photo posts while users are scrolling. In-feed video posts are fantastic for adding depth and dimension to your content, encouraging engagement through extended viewing and click-throughs to your profile.
The Minimalist Baker effectively uses in-feed videos to create a more immersive experience when showcasing a recipe. This famous food blogger can drive more traffic through the profile and to the blog by captivating the audience. Additionally, they use this strategy to pad the grid, adding different videos and posts of the same recipe to maximize their ROI.
IGTV is meant for longer, pre-recorded videos that surpass the one-minute limit of Stories and in-feed videos. Brands can use this option for more polished, brand-centric, and promotional content.
When engaging with this type of video, viewers prefer to see something more professional than the casual, off-the-cuff style of Reels and Stories. Live videos can also be captured as IGTV videos for repurposing.
Primal Mobility is a coaching service for athletes that uses Instagram to generate leads and connect with prospects throughout the sales funnel. They use a combination of live streams and IGTV to answer frequently asked questions and prove the value of their services to prospects in the sales funnel’s decision phase.
Strategy Four: Prioritize Relevance
Regardless of what blend of content you produce, relevance and brand alignment are essential for success. The main buckets of prioritizing relevance include producing timely content and knowing what the audience wants.
Understanding Your Audience
As mentioned before, understanding your audience is essential for success. If you want your followers to boost engagement by sharing and saving your content, it needs to speak to them on a deeper level.
Take some time to revisit what appeals to your ideal customer. What questions are they asking? What problems are you trying to solve for them? Focus on your value proposition to create engagement-oriented content.
Participating in Trends
Hopping on trending hashtags is an effective way to personify your brand and spark a connection with your audience. The increased traffic of trending hashtags will also promote engagement and awareness.
Ritz Crackers is one of many brands that participated in the #dollypartonchallenge on Instagram in 2020. While other posts on their account tend to range from 250-350 likes and under ten comments, this post garnered over 750 likes and 27 comments— a dramatic boost in engagement.
Strategy Five: Collaborate for Success
Finally, understand that Instagram is a community platform. Thus, pairing with other brands and users can help skyrocket engagement on both ends. Working with micro-influencers or repurposing content are two effective ways to execute this strategy.
Benefits of Micro-Influencers
A micro-influencer is someone who has fewer than 100,000 followers. Many brands are working with micro-influencers because they tend to have better engagement rates than more prominent names. Thus, brands can use their marketing spend or set up an affiliate program to capitalize on many smaller, engaged audience pods than one larger unengaged group.
Benefits of UGC and Tags
Working with micro-influencers and affiliate programs goes hand-in-hand with using user-generated content (UGC). By creating a branded hashtag, your brand can get permission to use images from engaged followers to act as social proof and boost engagement. Similarly, brands can tag non-competing brands to get content shared and repurposed in turn. This strategy is particularly effective for new brands looking to grow and expand.
Pup Worthy is a new brand that successfully showcases what its audience wants to see (dogs) while using UGC and brand tags. Their feed consists of reposts from customers who have shared photos of their dog wearing a Pup Worthy bandana. Additionally, this brand showcased their NHL-branded bandanas while tagging the associated team pages and got reshared immediately— not bad for a new product launch.
Boost Instagram Engagement Q & A
You can upload portrait videos (9:16) to Stories (15 seconds in length), Reels (30 seconds), and IGTV (up to 1 hour). Portrait videos are best utilized in these sections. However, you can also upload landscape videos if you wish as long as its within the time limit. Videos in landscape are best suited for your feed (60 seconds max).
Its recommended that you research your competitors, popular users, and current trends first to have an idea of what makes for good content on the platform.
Secondly, you must experiment by uploading your content to the different sections on Instagram and then analyze the engagements on your post. This will help you learn what works and doesn’t or if you should change the format of your videos or not.
Any post that you publish will only be visible to your followers. If a follower shares your post to their feed, then your post will be visible to all of their followers, instantly increasing the post’s reach. Post shares also contribute to social validation, a powerful concept in marketing.
While these five strategies can help you boost engagement, it’s the insights and analytics after-the-fact that will help you shape the journey forward. Determine what works for your brand, what doesn’t, and what your ideal customer truly wants to see on your Instagram feed.
What are your favorite ways to boost Instagram Engagement? Let us know in the comments below.
AuthorWendy Dessler is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.
Jack Paxton is the co-founder of VYPER, a marketing tool that helps brands build email lists, social followings, and revenue using viral giveaways, referral, and reward programs. After millions of dollars spent testing different marketing strategies at his marketing agency. He then also co-founded Hyax a fast, conversion & design-focused course and funnel builder for creators.