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Instagram engagement: what it is and how to increase interactions

instagram engagement

How to increase engagement on Instagram? In this article, we will see how to generate interactions on Instagram, their importance, and how to increase them.

With over 1 billion monthly active users, 25+ million company profiles, and a turnover of around 14 billion dollars (source omnicoreagency), Instagram is no longer just a simple photo-sharing social network.

Its continuous evolution and constant updates make it an essential tool for those brands and entrepreneurs who want to grow online.

This shows how fundamental the use of Instagram is in a social media marketing strategy and the consequent importance of knowing its usage trends.

What is post engagement on Instagram

Post engagement, more commonly called just engagement, is a value that indicates the sum of active actions that an audience can produce towards your content.

Here are which interactions produce engagement on Instagram:

  • Comment, like, share, or save a post
  • Reply to a story with a comment or emoji
  • Interact with the stickers of the Instagram Stories

Content and interactions in 2020

Let’s start with statistical research conducted by Hubspot on Instagram engagement in 2020.

To look at trends in engagement, Hubspot analyzed 81,258,182 Instagram posts and 1,676,748 profiles.

Depending on the type of post and interaction, the following results emerged:

  • As for likes, images received 27.55% more likes than videos, and 13.55% more likes than carousels (these results go against the trend of previous years’ searches that saw the videos in the first position).
  • Moving to the side of the comments, the images always rank first, slightly surpassing the videos.

Due to the constant changes implemented by the platform, increasing Instagram engagement becomes more difficult year after year.

The above data concerns general trends, you don’t have to follow them to the letter. My advice is to post consistently and experiment with different types of content and understand how your audience interacts with you. Before defining your KPIs, try to understand which Instagram metric is most relevant to your business and why, and base your engagement on this.

Note: the analyzed analysis is limited to the actual number of posts by type shared by users. To corroborate this analysis, I also cite statistical research by BusinessofApps which – in line with Hubspot – indicates that 73.5% of shared contents are images, 13.7% videos, and 12.7% carousels.

How to increase engagement on Instagram

Also based on the results of the Hubspot report, we will see what you can do to improve your engagement on Instagram.

Hashtags: better few but good

On Instagram, hashtags are typically included in a post’s captions or comments. They are keywords created to find content on a certain topic and you can use them to reach new users.

According to the Hubspot report, on average an Instagram post contains around 10 hashtags. However, the average number of hashtags is actually 6, which tells us that 50% of Instagram posts include less than 6 hashtags.

But what impact does this data have on engagement?

In principle, with the use of hashtags, it is possible to reach a higher number of users. This will therefore allow obtaining a higher number of interactions.

In terms of interactions, the advice is to use them!

In other words, this does not favor the engagement rate, i.e. the percentage given by the number of interactions divided by the audience reached. If the audience reached is significantly higher than the value of the interactions produced, the percentage will be very low. We could say that the content will have had less impact and impact on all users reached.

The research shows that by including more than 6 hashtags, engagement would tend to decrease. Hubspot gives us two explanations on this:

  • the engagement rate really tends to decrease if you include more than 6 hashtags;
  • profiles with a large following obtain a higher engagement rate regardless of the use of hashtags.
instagram engagement report 2

In any case, my advice is always to experiment and use hashtags that are relevant to the content you post.

Don’t use generic hashtags, but research the ones that are specific to your niche. To help you, you can monitor your industry’s competitors or influencers. Look closely at the hashtags they include in their posts and don’t forget that you can also use hashtags to launch your own campaign.

Remember that you can include hashtags in various types of content on Instagram, including feed posts, stories, and IGTV.

Tag other users

Initially, we enjoyed tagging our friends – without their consent – in embarrassing photos. Now, however, the tags have begun to take on another meaning. Especially in influencer marketing, the use of tags is a way to engage brand ambassadors and thus increase the possibility that their followers see and then interact with branded content.

Without going too far, think about when you tag someone in your post – usually because some kind of interaction is expected.

However, this can be an intrusive technique and does not always represent an effective collaboration between a user and a brand.

Having said that, according to Hubspot, tagging 1 to 3 profiles would increase interactions (especially likes).

instagram engagement report 1

Obviously, there are some exceptions to consider. For example, Chiara Ferragni has a high involvement regardless of the use of tags.

In summary, tagging other users can be an effective way to get more exposure and engagement. However, it must be done with caution and awareness. Here are some tips I can give you if you decide to use tags:

  • only tag profiles relevant to your post;
  • tag the profiles you are re-sharing content from;
  • tag any customers, employees, or brand ambassadors.

Interact with your community

Growing up on Instagram is not easy and requires more and more effort. That said, no one assures you that by having more followers your engagement will increase accordingly.

So focus on creating bonds of values ​​and a solid community. So: don’t think of getting engagement on Instagram only thanks to bots or bought followers.

Here are some good practices to increase interaction with your followers:

  • Make sure your Instagram profile is complete. Curate your bio and your featured stories;
  • Share high-quality content consistently. Don’t post content just to fill your editorial calendar. Also, be sure to include a complete and detailed caption;
  • Be responsive and interact with your audience. Respond to comments and directives from your followers. If they tag you, unless it’s spam, reply and keep the conversation going;
  • Collaborates with influencers and brand partners. Working with the right influencers and partners will increase, in addition to brand awareness, your engagement rate;
  • Experiment with different types of content. They can be images, videos, stories, and IGTV. Not sure which content performs best?

Add the place (geotag)

Being a platform where the search for new places and trends is on the agenda, adding a position to your posts can increase – even in this case – the number of people reached and therefore obtain a higher probability of generating new interactions.

This feature can be very useful for local businesses – including the location where you can through photos, videos, and even between stories.

If you don’t already have one, create a specific location tag for your company or brand. Once people start adding your place, it will be easier to see all the localized posts and monitor what your community says about you.

Write targeted captions

Captions can help you generate interactions on your post, including likes and comments. Furthermore, if well written they can also help you convert users into potential customers or visitors to your website.

Also according to Hubspot’s research, the longer the caption, the greater the engagement. The result is that captions with more than 1000 characters ensure more engagement. Understandable if you consider that the average caption length has more than doubled since 2016 (source: Fohr).

Whether you decide to use short or long captions, the rule is always the same: write reasoned captions according to your communication objectives.

Use Instagram Stories

Stories, thanks to their many functions, are ideal for increasing interactions. Suffice it to say that the users of the stories are about 500 million (source: Instagram). This makes them potentially functional to increasing engagement.

Below we’ll see what you can do to get your followers to engage with your Stories.

  • Be perfect but not too much. Stories on Instagram require spontaneity and authenticity and, why not, imperfection. Here you can show the more human side of your brand (or yourself) and convince your followers that you are human, like everyone else;
  • Use stickers. To engage your users, you can use surveys, emojis, quizzes, gifs, thus making the interaction more engaging;
  • Describe your brand or products. Show people how your products are built and how they can use them. If necessary, ask them for advice and seek comparison;
  • Show behind the scenes. This is linked to the point about imperfection. Don’t hesitate to share what’s behind your business. Your values, but also your mistakes, only bring you closer to your audience.