Do you feel like the Instagram algorithm is changing every day? Us too! What’s considered engaging content one day can perform poorly the next. And with new features being released frequently, it can be challenging to keep up! Instagram rewards content that keeps users on the app longer, but if you don’t know what the engaging content looks like in the first place, the platform can feel defeating.
In fact, a recent report from Mention.com and Hubspot stated that the average engagement rate on any post in 2021 has decreased by 0.84%. The algorithm and how to get content to reach our audiences can seem like an elusive game we’ll never win. But don’t worry, there are still strategies and tips you can use to ensure your content is engaging and reaching your audience.
Creating an Engaging Instagram Account
The content you share to Instagram should continue to evolve alongside the platform itself. Videos used to be the most engaging type of content, however carousel posts have recently been deemed the most engaging post type. We’re seeing this a lot with the content we plan and post, since carousels encourage engagement by nature. Think about it – a carousel entices you to swipe through and see what the other images are, and once you swipe Instagram tracks that as engagement.
The same report from Mention.com found that captions that are 1,000 -2,000 characters long receive the most engagement. Captions of this length lend themselves to storytelling and diving deep into particular topics, products, and/or services you offer. Share how or why you started your business, the thought process behind your new product, or a mini interview with a leader in your industry.
At the moment, Instagram is also pushing its IG Reels feature, hard. While it’s almost a year old at this point, it still ranks number two below Tik Tok. Creating frequent Reels will increase your chances of landing on the discovery page and reaching a wider audience. Spend some time researching what’s trending on IG Reels and jump on the trend band wagon. Making your own version of a popular Reel or Tik Tok is timely, relevant, and will get your followers engaged.
More Is Not Always Better
There is a common misconception that more followers equals more engagement. Recent data from Planoly has shown that the opposite is actually true. On average, accounts with 100-10,000 followers had an engagement rate of 3.6%. The engagement rate fell to 1.05% for accounts with 10,000 – 50,000 followers, and just a 0.75% engagement rate for accounts with over 1 million followers.
Chasing more followers in the hopes that your engagement rate will increase is not the best strategy. Creating content that’s authentic to you and your brand is more likely to attract new people and grow your audience and engagement.
Quick Tips to Make Instagram Work For You
Before we dive into some additional ways to grow your engagement and Instagram account, we want to remind you to reflect on your current strategy and content. We mentioned earlier that carousel posts perform the best when looking at engagement rates. However, maybe your specific audience likes your videos best, and the carousel posts you have published have not done as well. Don’t stop making videos just because the Internet told you to – study your own content and analytics and form a strategy that’s unique to you! (Need help with this? We’d love to chat 😉)
With that said, here are a few things you can do to develop a strategy and create effective content on Instagram:
- Try Different Post Times: You want to be posting when your audience is on the app and the chances of them seeing your posts are high. Many of us can rule out posting between the hours of 1AM and 5AM, but maybe 5PM is a good time to post and you typically post at noon. It doesn’t hurt to try!
- Research Your Hashtags: This tip is so near and dear to us we wrote a whole blog on it. The TL;DR version? You should be dedicating serious time to hashtag research because #love and #tbt just won’t cut it these days. You need to be using hashtags that are relevant and are widely used, but unique enough to still get seen. Finding these hashtags takes time!
- Quality over Quantity: Creating engaging content also takes time. If the best time to post is 3PM on a Wednesday, we don’t recommend throwing together a post at 2:55 and hoping for the best. Dedicate time to planning out your content days, weeks, or even months in advance so you’re not scrambling to post last minute. If this means you only post twice a week, so be it! Quality beats quantity any day of the week.
Mix It Up: If you’re not sure what type of content your audience enjoys most, test out different types. Write a caption that’s 2,000 characters long but then post a short, witty caption the next time. Film a behind the scenes video of your office to share but then also film a more polished, sit down Q&A. There’s a lot of trial and error that goes into figuring out what works well for you and your brand. It should also be fun though!
We all want to see our Instagram posts get hundreds of likes, comments and shares. It can also feel like an uphill battle against the algorithm and figuring out the best strategy to make those likes happen. Just remember to try new things and focus on what’s working for you and your business. When you start to have fun with your content and recognize what your audience responds to, the engagement, followers, and growth will come!