Instagram Engagement: What It Is and How to Improve It

We used to think that the number of followers is what matters the most on Instagram and other social networks. You may already know several ways to attract new followers to your profile.

Maybe you even tried to Buy Instagram Followers. While the size of the audience still plays an important role, many influencers and brands have already started to shift their focus on engagement. 

Jeraldine Tan, Socialbakers account manager, advises to stop focusing on “outdated metrics like fan growth”. For someone with marketing goals, a highly-followed account won’t matter if the audience won’t consume the content.

An engagement rate is a measure of your followers’ loyalty to you. It’s the degree of their involvement with your photos, videos, and Stories. In this article, we are going to describe three ways of improving Instagram engagement, including the best time to post, effective hashtagging, and using Stories function. 

  1. Post at the Times of the Peak Activity 

Instagram is not just one of the biggest but also the busiest social media platforms. It boasts more than 1 billion monthly active users, with half of them logging in daily and actively engaging on the platform. But the rate of the users’ activity tends to change during the day.

It’s wise to schedule your Instagram posts for optimized times. This tactic can help you attract more users and increase engagement. 

Several studies were conducted to find out the best times for posting content on Instagram. And the results of these studies vary: 

  • HubSpot claims that the right time is between 2 P.M. and 3 P.M. with Thursday being the best day;
  • Expert Voice finds Wednesday the right day to share content at 11 A.M. and 3 P.M. (time zone isn’t specified);
  • Sprout Social recommends posting on Wednesday at 11 A.M. and Friday at 10-11 A.M;
  • Later reports that the optimal timelines are from 9 A.M. to 11 A.M. EST.

You can use these data or go further and determine your personalized best time to share content. Every account has a unique audience. Your followers may be located in different time zones.

Use Instagram’s fundamental analytical tool to see a picture of when your audience is most likely to be online. Post during those top time zones, and you'll see higher engagements within minutes of posting.

You may think like that: “Why should I be bothered about the posting time at all? Users will visit my profile and see the updates.” That is the wrong approach.

Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes “new” content on people’s feeds. If you want to get noticed by your followers, post when most of them are scrolling the app.

  1. Be Strategic With Your Instagram Hashtags

There are contradictory views on using hashtags on the web. Some experts say that 5-6 hashtags are enough. Otherwise, you’ll look “spammy”. 

Others say that you should fill your post with a maximum of 30 hashtags. After all, Instagram allowed 30 of them for a reason.  

What is known for sure is that you must use hashtags if you want to increase followership and engagement. One study found out that 11 hashtags increase interaction by up to 79.5%. 

Mind that the words you use should be relevant to your niche. And they shouldn’t be too broad. Let’s say you are a make-up artist. Hashtags like #makeup or #beauty are so widely used that you’ll have very low chances to get noticed by new users. Better use #makeupdate, #makeupwedding, or #hudabeautyliptin. 

Stay away from banned hashtags (you can check the list here). They are useless as they don’t make you more searchable. Even more, the platform “shadowbans” people who overuse them. That means that the account is blocked for everyone else but the user.

Come up with your hashtag. Many brands and influencers have developed their unique hashtag which is exclusively used by them and their audience. 

Make the same to form your personal network of engaged people. Create a new hashtag using the name of your profile, blog, product, movement, or a funny word combination you constantly use. 

  1. Use Instagram Stories Like a Pro

An average Instagram user spends half an hour on Stories on a daily basis. The popularity of this feature is so high that around 500 million people use it daily. 

Many users say that they get more engagement on the major posts in the profile when they also post to Instagram Stories. So, why not engage your audience with funny and creative videos? 

Stories feature enables you to share multiple photos and videos which appear together in a 15-seconds “slideshow format”. But random photos grouped without any binding message leaves the viewer confused and disconnected. This means they are most likely to click through and get to another account. 

An engaging Instagram Story must actually tell a story. Even the slightest amount of context can intrigue the followers and make them more likely to react by leaving likes or comments. 

To make your viewers more active, you can conduct polls, quests, quizzes, and more in Stories. The majority of users like to take part in such activities. 

Since Stories disappear after 24 hours, you should post them every day. Experts recommend keeping the content fresh for your followers and uploading about 10 Stories a day. It goes without saying that they have to be relevant to your profile message. 

But you should focus on the quality of your content rather than on the quantity. If you overload people with not so good Stories, they will lose interest in them. 

Final Thoughts

Your major goal may be to grow followership and get more likes, comments, and reposts. But you shouldn’t forget that people wait for the same actions from you. Like the photos of your audience, be generous on the comments. After all, Instagram is a social network. And this socializing shouldn’t be one-sided.  

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