Instagram Engagement: What It Is and How to Improve It

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world.

In fact, around 1 billion people use Instagram every single month – that’s around 13 percent of the world’s population.

Also, 80 percent of Instagram users follow one or more businesses, and 72 percent of users have purchased a product that they first saw on Instagram.

All of these statistics highlight one key insight: Instagram is a goldmine for marketers, businesses, and entrepreneurs alike.

But how can you measure how successful you are on Instagram?

Your first thought might be to obsess about your follower count, but your Instagram engagement is a much healthier metric to measure.

And that’s exactly why we’ve created this article. Today we’re going to show you how to work out your own Instagram engagement rate.

We’ll also give you some of our top tips that’ll help you to improve your Instagram engagement rates, and take your Instagram marketing efforts to the next level.  

Okay, there’s a lot to cover, so let’s dive in.

What is an Instagram Engagement Rate?  

Simply put, your Instagram engagement rate is the sum of the likes and comments that you receive per post, divided by the number of followers that you have.

Engagement rates are healthy metrics to monitor because they underline how frequently your following interacts with your content, and force you to focus on important data, rather than vanity metrics (like the number of followers you have).

Let’s take a look at an example sum – this will help you to find your own Instagram engagement rate.

So, Oberlo has around 21k followers on Instagram (at the time of writing).

On average, Oberlo receives around 250 likes and 10 comments per post. That makes a combined total of 260 engagements.

To find out Oberlo’s Instagram engagement rate, we need to divide the average number of engagements (260 in this case) by the number of followers (21,000) and then multiply that sum by 100.

260 ÷ 21,00 = 0.124

0.124 x 100 = 1.24.

So, Oberlo’s Instagram engagement rate is 1.24 percent.

It’s a fairly simple concept to grasp, with an equally straightforward calculation, but it’s still important that marketers and entrepreneurs are familiar with the idea.

How to Increase Your Instagram Engagement Rate

Now that we’ve covered what an Instagram engagement rate is, and shown you how you can calculate it for yourself, it’s time to get into the juicy stuff.

We’re going to give you our top tips for increasing your Instagram engagement rate and provide you with some real-life examples that you can use as inspiration for your content.

Timing is Key

One of your main goals for your Instagram content will be getting in front of the highest number of users possible, without fatiguing them with too much content.

That’s why you need to know two crucial things if you’re serious about stepping up your Instagram game:

  • When you should post
  • How often you should post

According to research from Sprout Social, midday during weekdays is a great time if you want to post content which generates a high level of engagement.

They also found that Thursday in general is the best day to post on Instagram, but the “safest time” (read: consistently generates high engagement) to post is Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  

Also, research shows that you should aim to post on Instagram one to three times per day, with major brands posting on average of 1.5 times per day.

Of course, you’re going to need a wealth of content if you want to maintain that pace – and maximize your Instagram engagement – so check out our video below for tips that’ll help you to generate compelling Instagram content for your business.

Use Hashtags to Increase Your Instagram Engagement

Instagram hashtags are a fantastic feature that you can use to increase your Instagram engagement rate.  

Hashtags can help you to:

  • Gain more likes
  • Gain more followers
  • Reach a broader audience

But, how can you find hashtags that’ll improve your Instagram engagement rate?

Research. And plenty of it.

Take a look at what your audience, competitors, and even Instagram influencers are posting, and find which hashtags are most popular in your niche.

Let’s say, for example, you were selling sunglasses – your first task would be to use Instagram’s explore function and check out #sunglasses.

You can then take a look through the recent top posts, and check which hashtags are being used to generate posts with high engagement.

Of course, there are plenty there are plenty of businesses out there, like Gymshark, which have their own branded hashtags.

If any of your competitors use branded hashtags, then you can utilize them to get a better idea into what types of Instagram content they’re most interested in.

There are also tools available which you can use to find popular Instagram hashtags like Seekmetrics, TagBlender, and InstagramTags.

And remember, while you can use up to 30 hashtags per Instagram post, you don’t always need to fill your Instagram captions to the brim with hashtags.

Choose your hashtags carefully, and they can bring a whole new wave of users to your Instagram content.

BONUS: Check our list of the 100 best Instagram hashtags for likes.

Choose Your Captions Carefully

The captions that you choose for your content can do a lot to increase your Instagram engagement rates.

Instagram captions can really help you to provide additional context to your content, and can help you to engage and delight your audience.

Take this example from YouTuber IAMKARENO, who used Instagram’s multiple-image feature for her latest post, which she captioned “1 or 2?”


View this post on Instagram


1 or 2?

A post shared by 𝐊𝐀𝐑𝐄𝐍 𝐘𝐄𝐔𝐍𝐆 (@iamkareno) on Dec 25, 2018 at 2:38pm PST

This simple tactic promotes her followers to engage with her content by leaving a comment on the photo which they prefer.

Of course, this strategy will also work wonders for her Instagram engagement rate.

You could also take inspiration from popular fitness model Steve Cook’s post, where he added “hit the like button and save this for your next ab workout” in his caption.

This is helpful for his audience, as it’ll allow them to access the video again later on with Instagram’s “Posts You’ve Liked” feature, and it helps him to rack up the likes on his content. A win-win situation.

Clearly there’s a lot of room to experiment with your Instagram captions, so feel free to test out different tactics and find what works best for you.

BONUS: Check out our list of 200+ of the best Instagram captions for your content.

Take Advantage of Instagram Stories

Everyday more than 400 million people use Instagram Stories. That’s a huge number.  

And even though statistics from your Instagram Stories aren’t included in the engagement rate calculation, they’re still a must-have if you’re looking to boost your Instagram engagement.

Why? Well, Instagram Stories can be used to retain the attention of your existing followers, provide more personable, spontaneous content, and even direct your following to other Instagram posts or even your own store.

Take this example from Hanon:

It’s a fairly straightforward Instagram Story, sure, but it engages their audience, and it forwards them to relevant content that they’re likely to be interested in with just a tap.

And, of course, their blog is on the same domain as their online store – idle minds might even end up making a purchase after a few clicks.

It’s also important to remember that users who engage a lot with certain accounts are much more likely to see their content again, thanks to the Instagram algorithm.

All in all, Instagram Stories are a fantastic feature that you can use to maintain a high engagement rate on the platform.

Don’t Be Afraid of Videos

Instagram users love videos.

In fact, in 2018 the number of videos created on Instagram increased 80 percent year over year.

Many marketers and businesses view video content as an integral part of a successful Instagram strategy – and we agree.

But, we know that creating video content can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time (and you’re doing it for a business).

Don’t worry though, you can check out our complete guide to video marketing in 2019.

Hold Contests and Giveaways

If there’s one thing in life I can say with total confidence, it’s this: people love free stuff.

But what does this mean for you and your Instagram account?

It’s simple – running contests or giveaways will allow you to tap into that joyous feeling that we get when we have the chance to win something.

Think about it – you’ve already garnered an audience which is engaged with your content. All you need to do next is find a prize which they’re interested in, and promote it to them in exchange for Instagram engagement.

As an example, let’s take a look at how food blogger EricTriesIt utilizes Instagram giveaways.

First of all, he posts to his Instagram story to let his following know about the giveaway.

Businesses usually ask people to like a photo, tag their friends, or follow their account to enter – all of which are going to work wonders for their Instagram engagement rate.

But, as you can see in EricTriesIt’s Instagram post about the contest, entrants need to like the photo, follow two accounts, and tag a friend in the comments section.


View this post on Instagram


⚠️GIVEAWAY ALERT⚠️ Hi everyone 😬this is my first giveaway, so I hope you’ll enter 😅✌🏻 . I’ve partnered up with luxury hotpot chain @thedolarshopcanada to give one lucky winner $100 IN DINING CREDIT🎉 . To enter the giveaway (All submissions will be checked): 1️⃣ LIKE this photo 2️⃣ FOLLOW @thedolarshopcanada & @erictriesit 3️⃣ TAG one friend in the comments (Unlimited entries, but one different friend per comment) . ➡️Contest open only to Vancouver, BC residents. ➡️Contest closes on Wednesday, January 23rd at 11:59pm PST. The winner will be randomly selected. Good luck everyone! 🤞🏻 . . Per Instagram rules, we must mention this is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram Inc. By entering, entrants confirm they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s term of use.

A post shared by 🌈EricTriesIt-Vancouver Foodie (@erictriesit) on Jan 15, 2019 at 11:09am PST

All of these actions are carefully selected to draw in the largest number of users to this post.

So, if you’re looking to increase your Instagram engagement, contests and giveaways could be a great option for you.

Use Omnichannel Marketing

If you want to increase your Instagram engagement rates, you don’t need to rely on your existing Instagram presence alone.

With omnichannel marketing – the act of engaging with an audience on a variety of different platforms – you can take advantage of all of your marketing clout to try and draw in engaged users to your Instagram content.

But how do you get started with omnichannel marketing?

Tackle the low-hanging fruit first. Then think big.

Pair some Instagram content with a relevant blog post of yours.

Turn your social media bios into funnels which draw in traffic to your Instagram account, like Pepsi has done in the image below. 

Do as much as you can to make sure that your audience is constantly being exposed to content that they like, and it’s only a matter of time before your Instagram engagement rates will skyrocket.

Want to read more about omnichannel marketing? Check out our in-depth post.

Start Improving Your Instagram Engagement Today

Okay – that’s all from us today.

Now you know what Instagram engagement is, how to measure it, and how to improve it.

You’re all set up for success on Instagram now, so remember to have fun with it.

Be creative, and try your best to differentiate your content from others.

So, do you have any tips and tricks that’ll help others to improve their Instagram engagement?

Do you have any questions about Instagram marketing?

Let us know in the comments section below – we read them all!

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