Updated on July 8, 2020
Scrunch.com, Rival IQ and other organisations that researched Instagram engagement, found out that the number which can be considered Decent’ or ‘Average’ engagement, depends on your niche and the size of your account. For example, an average engagement rate of ~4% is standard in the sphere of Higher Ed while in Health&Beauty, this would be a fantastic result. It would quadruple averages since the median is less than 1%. Pages under 10 thousand followers can expect average engagement rates of close to 5%, and pages with over a million followers – 1-2%.
But why focus on the average? Let’s not get bogged down being focused on mediocrity. Let’s try to outdo the competition, OK? Let’s try to reach the highest engagement numbers we can. With 2020 underway, a lot of global, local and systematic changes are taking shape on IG as well as all over the world. Amid these changes, there are some great ways you can take advantage and propel to the top. Here’s how you do it:
1. Follow a schedule
“It’s better to reserve the headspace for original ideas instead of posting schedules.”
– Apps that help you schedule posts
Instagram analytics and third-party tools like Buffer, Hootsuite or other social media management apps could allow maximising post reach and engagement without much difficulty. Automatic post Scheduling, as well as in-depth metric analysis, will help determine the absolute best time for posting. In comparison, when/if you post often, trying not to forget when to post is just a disaster looming around the corner. You are just bound to miss a post or two every once in a while. Why even bother trying to remember. It’s better to reserve the headspace for original ideas instead of posting schedules.
– Post frequently for best engagement
In terms of frequency, the bare minimum frequency is once a day. Create posts in advance, so you are not left without content. Having to rush something which is poorly made or posting stuff without any value to the followers is just bad for business. It is best if you have wiggle room to push scheduled posts to a later date in case of breaking news or sensational events. However, posting twice per day is recommended for growing pages or those that wish to grow. Continuous appearances in the feeds of your followers are inseparable from good engagement rates.
Follower response, engagement, as well as other metrics, are in their peak if you post at certain times and do it regularly. Once you are consistent and post eye-catching stuff, people will wait for a specific time to see what you posted. This is free advertising for your content.
Backtracking your metrics is also beneficial. When you can see and compare past results with the present, you can anticipate the next move and find the most efficient strategies both short and long-term.
What everyone needs (in their feeds and lives) is something positive
2. Run socially conscious campaigns
First of all, we would like to note that increasing engagement is an investment. Time will have to be spent to increase engagement rates, and sometimes even money comes into the equation. However, if you choose the right paths and stay on that path, the best results will arrive with minimal expenditures.
– How to begin an engagement-boosting campaign
With that being said, the first thing we would like to point out is Socially conscious campaigns. Since the start of this year has been a mix of geopolitical tensions (Iran and the U.S. turmoil) and ecological disasters (e.g. Fires in Australia), what everyone needs is something positive. By bringing a little bit of ‘positivity’ into the feed, you can jumpstart a fantastic response from people all over the world. For example,
a) donating for every product bought
b) donating to a cause outright
c) starting an initiative to show support to a particular cause
d) fund a Kickstarter or a project with environmental-friendly ideas
e) start a hashtag
– Go all out with spreading the word
Now post the hell out of this action. Advertise, post, share what you did. Add it to your story, write or buy a public announcement from a writer about it, publish it and drive everyone to follow and comment your posts. Encourage them to do it as well. Offer perks in return to action (shouting them out in your stories, sending a free pen or having their credits in your next video works ideally).
For example, you can say that you will donate a dollar for every person who likes, shares and comments your photo. However, a fixed donation could be a smarter move because if the campaign goes viral enough, a hundred thousand people or even more might get involved. That would be a hefty commitment to carry out, so beware.
With this, you will make a move that is easy to capitalise on. Sometimes engagements for a single post (your campaign post) with socially conscious ideas can be seen skyrocketing to 20-30%. As a result, your regular posts should receive more attention, at least for a while. Great examples of this sort of engagement boosts are #savetheocean or TeamTrees, etc.
3. Buy Likes for instant results
“Results are quick.”
– Buy your way out of grinding
If you lack the patience or resources to go all out on a particular long-term strategy, you can work around this by stimulating engagement growth with bought Instagram likes. This, if done right, will set off a bomb of natural/organic reach as well as increase engagement. Pair this up with some other tricks from this article and your metrics will show a bonafide home run.
The results are quick too. Within minutes your pictures can have hundreds or thousands more likes.
– Quicker than an hour
For example, when buying Instagram likes from BuzzVoice you could be able to receive a substantial amount of likes within an hour. In comparison, regular marketing strategies need at least two weeks even to start showing results…
Once the Instagram likes boost kicks in, rest will be taken care by the Instagram algorithm. Your post which receive tons of engagement and will appear in the recommended section and hashtags explore page more often. A Thousand likes cost twenty-ish dollars. Now isn’t this sort of limelight worth the investment?
This is an excellent method from a few angles. Firstly, very little if any work has to be done. At BuzzVoice we only need your IG username, simply select the desired amount of likes to buy and proceed with the payment.
Think about the time, energy and resources you save. It’s really awesome that you can opt for such a solution and be successful at the same time.
– How to get free Instagram likes through three simple steps
Step 1: Go to this website, and find the ’50 free likes’ tab.
4. Create Original Content (OC)
Do you know how much original content (OC) is on Instagram, and how much are reposts or copies? According to rough estimates, close to 2/3rd’s of non-personal page updates are reposts of someone else’s content. This means that others just offer free advertising to the original content creators. This also means that there is a huge vacuum on IG for OC creators like you!
– Take advantage and be original.
Now aren’t these fantastic circumstances to find yourself in? Make the most of it. Even if you have ideas or material obtained from other sources, present them in a new way. Change the colours, pick a different layout, whatever. Make it seem unique, even though it is borrowed. Over time you will: find juicier sources for your page’s posts, better understand the interests of your audience, determine the best niches and layouts as well as connect with people to develop mutually beneficial relationships.
Animate cartoons, draw an infographic (very good for engagement), create visually attractive content. Do whatever excites other. Try to please your audience.
– There are platforms to help you create original content or learn new skills
Platforms like Snappa or online lessons on SkillShare for Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, etc. will definitely help. Snappa is oriented towards users who want to make original looking content. And thanks to a broad range of courses on Skillshare, even a newbie gets good very quickly if they put in the time.
Such platforms as Snappa remove any barriers in terms of visual content creation limits. Spend 20 minutes and create amazing-looking content that looks like the work of a professional graphics designer. Only that you did it, without any expert competence in the field…
Yes, you still have limits, but with thousands of fully customisable templates, for up-and-coming profiles, there is more than enough room to operate. If you opt to expand your skillset in Adobe or related applications, the obtained knowledge will help create original and exciting content.
– Why are these platforms worth your time and attention?
“Attracting and immersing lots of potential followers becomes much simpler.”
Well, because having original and good-looking content improves engagement, just as we mentioned. If text occupies less than 20% of the picture, it has an 80% chance to be viewed longer and more in-depth than those in which there is more text. That’s a fact.
Find a template or a colour layout, tone scheme (whatever) and continue using it for the foreseeable future. By expanding (advertisements on Instagram) and having recognisable content at the same time, you kill two birds with one stone. Attracting and immersing lots of potential followers becomes much simpler.
Catch our drift? Well, to run things down:
- Learn graphic design up to a point where you can create professional templates for your Instagram profile OR choose a platform with editable templates
- Make sure to include infographics, charts, numbers, etc. in your updates
- Post such content regularly
- Advertise it to maximise benefits
5. Apply three E’s emotions concept (E.E.E.)
Buzzvoice has a concept-based idea which has in the past and continues to show amazing results in long-term engagement and audience growth on social media.
Your followers are the most essential asset on Instagram. To improve engagement, you have to connect with the audience. How to connect, you ask? Well, let us give you a simple strategy with actual examples that could just do the trick for engagement boosting!
The three-letter abbreviation E.E.E. stands for entertained, empowered and entitled. It is a unique, recently surfaced psychological concept, that is used for social media marketing purposes. If more of your followers feel the following three emotions with correspondence to your profile, posts and content, your engagement rates will jump up. We guarantee it.
“Entertained, empowered, entitled.”
Here’s how you achieve the three E’s.
‘E’ No. 1 – Entertainment
For an audience to be entertained, it has to receive positive emotions and original content which it has not seen before. Entertainment part of this methodology can be approached from two sides.
One says that it should not give major dilemmas or hard questions and instead make people smile, feel relaxed and confident about themselves. Of course, as a service provider or business, you should present ideas or new products in such a way where people are encouraged to consume or persuaded to do something for you. In general, an easygoing, caring and positive approach will bring engagement up in the long run.
For best results NOW, choose guerrilla marketing, shock advertising, hard and straightforward content. The best examples of short-term advertisement impact would be the radical environmentalist, political or social activist groups like FEMEN. They are all over the news while they protest because they use shock tactics like getting naked in public, putting up outrageous billboards or even go as far as throwing pies or eggs at government officials that they do not like.
However, after things settle down their entertainment value goes down drastically. This could be attributed to the fact that most people have a subconscious desire for rebellion but crave utopias at the same time. Every once in a while, it’s good to feel like you are going against the flow. If you rebel or call out something, people will follow. Just do not forget that the effects will be short-lived.
‘E’ No. 2 – Empowerment
They say that money and power are the two most potent drugs. Our society is the perfect evidence of this. Do the top government officials like to let go of their positions? Do many rich donate their wealth to the poor?
However, making your audience feel empowered is the most difficult ‘E’ step. It requires constant interaction, maybe not even following your plans and going a different route sometimes. It is rewarding in a way that you build a more sustainable relationship with the audience and start to create loyal fanbases.
Empowerment of audiences is all about noticing them and helping them feel included. Here is how you get to empower audiences for more engagement.
No. 1 – Make the most of Instagram stickers to begin with.
“Make the most of Instagram stickers to begin with.”
Look at the vast amount of sticker options you have. Every sticker can work for you by empowering your audience.
Tag a location – people nearby will be more engaged because they are going to have a natural urge to find out more.
Mention people who sent or said something creative by tagging them/shouting them out. Others will follow because they too want recognition.
Music tags – everyone who listens to the same song or artist will develop a connection.
Each of these teeny, tiny little options can bring in engaged and loyal audiences due to their feeling of being included.
“There is not a better way to make an audience feel empowered other than giving them a platform to share and influence the content they see.”
Nonetheless, the two tools worth most attention are polling and the question form. By doing a weekly or monthly Q and A on your Instagram stories, you will not only equally include every single follower into an activity but also find out more about the audiences in general. By analysing questions, you can find what interests them, what they like more, and what could be changed with what, etc.
Polls do the same thing. Before making content-oriented decisions, like what series should you start next or where should you travel next, make sure to ask your audience. If you ask, follow up on your word and engagement rates will definitely improve over time.
No. 2 – Ask about what they want to see
Opening a poll or letting your audience share their opinions, insights and thoughts is a great chance to get more insight on your audience as well as their perspectives in general.
If you see stagnation in engagement rates or a negative trend (or if your results are unsatisfactory), ask your followers, ‘What would interest them?’. Videos, infographics, a podcast, a gaming channel?…
In a sense, by getting their unfiltered opinion you employ the most efficient market research specialists in your field that are out there…
No. 3 – Rewards
An empowered audience feels rewarded for their attention. This does not have to happen every day but once so often do spare some money or time to make a giveaway or shout out some funny, interesting or noteworthy comments.
Giveaways are the simplest form of rewarding an IG audience. However, it works pretty much all the time thus most businesses and Instagram pages hold them.
Shoutouts or dedicated content (personalised thank you GIFS, videos, signed memorabilia, etc.) also work, but only for a more established brand. One which has a loyal or constant fanbase.
There are no better ways to make an audience feel empowered other than allowing them to interact with you, giving them a platform to share and influence the content they see as well as rewarding them .
‘E’ No. 3 – Entitlement
This is the ‘Secret sauce’. If you can make your audience feel entitled to follow you and be a part of the community surrounding your posts, you will have stable and sufficient engagement.
Why do people follow their favourite sports teams? Why do they follow brands like Versace? It’s the prestige that attracts. People feel the need to support brands like Apple or Gucci (show their loyalty) if they have their products. It does not matter whether they enjoy the content, it matters that they feel a part of the community.
Since building prestige is hard and very expensive work, make people feel entitled through entertainment and empowerment. Give them a voice to influence your content, bring original and visually attractive posts for
Do not forget that you can buy likes to stimulate page growth and make the page seem much more popular (exclusive at the same time).
6. Use Longer captions to caption the audience
“Previously it was considered to be a huge photo gallery. Now it is a social media for everything visual.”
A chart from Later (above) shows the correlation between user engagement and caption length in the previous years. We know (and can see from the chart) that Instagram has pushed to become a very socially conscious and deeper social network in the past years. Previously it was considered to be a huge photo gallery. Now it is a social media for everything visual.
– Captions in 2020 will be more important than ever before
Their interface changes, updates and other actions were directed towards helping creators engage their audiences. Results show.
An average feed post nowadays has 50-80 words or around 3 to 4 hundred characters and two or fewer hashtags. In 2013 this was 10-15 words…
In 2016, only roughly 2% of people who saw a post with a lengthy caption (over 150 words) were engaged. Now the number is up to 6%. Crazy to think that three times more people spend their time to read something about others’ life experiences, joys or downfalls. Make use of longer captions. Hire a copywriter or pour out thoughts or experiences from your past. An audience always appreciates honesty, especially if you shed a little light into your private life. Include emojis, use paragraphs or occasional hashtags to make the reading experience as little boring, as possible.
However, this is always risky since privacy and huge followings on social media never mix. Be careful what you wish for!
7. Engage your audience with Cross-platforming
Audiences love visually engaging content (What we said about infographics). Remember how everyone on your feed shared what they listened on Spotify the most in the last decade? Wasn’t that a boss advertising move by Spotify? They completely took over social media stories for a couple of days without doing anything much, really… It is not a new feature which trends towards the end of the year. Annually.
– How to make the most from cross-platforming
Engaging audiences requires variation, and cross-platforming is variation. You can see engagement jump from 1-2% on average to 4-8% if cross-platforming is done right.
Facebook, E-shop links, YouTube, even IGTV… Actually, especially IGTV because through Instagram it is effortless to navigate to the link. Besides in the explore tab, it is 4x the size of a regular post…
“Engaging audiences requires variation, and cross-platforming is variation.”
8. Learn from others
We touched a bit on a platform called SkillShare. But how about good-old observation learning in the field?
Just look at the list pages which you personally follow. What is common between them? Which of them offer unique or captivating content? What do they do? How often do they post? How do their posts look? How many followers do they gain every week?
Answering questions like these could help quickly identify the best methods in the real-world.
This is why it is important to separate what sounds good from what actually works. On paper, you could find the best marketing strategy since ‘Buy 1, get 1 free’, but out in the open, it could not work for you. Why? Who knows…? And frankly, who cares?
Be patient and persistent. Do what you do consistently. One lucky break could set your page up to blow up the Gram. But that is 1% of the cases. 99% of them are purposeful and challenging work.
“This is why it is important to separate what sounds good from what actually works.”
Since engagement is quite a tricky metric, to begin with, experimentation with content is one of the key ingredients for improving engagement rates in the long run. Videos, photos, stories or branded collaborations on IG and IGTV… Do a little bit of everything.
Who knows, maybe you have the golden voice for narrations and can attract tons of people through unboxing. Or perhaps you have the cunning know-how for fantastic slogan creation and animations…? You won’t know either until you have tried.
There is an abundance of options at your arsenal. Begin by experimenting with various different video lengths, move on to multi-posting or sub-page creation, etc.
10. Create niche memes
– Are memes still a thing in 2020?
Oh yes. Everyone posts memes, even the big brands and multi-billion dollar companies embrace the occasional joke or two. Remember the EEE? Yup, memes are simple to make and prove to be delightful forms of online entertainment.
– Meme-ing and winning
Memes can be labelled as a social media phenomenon. Thanks to 9Gag, Reddit, later – Facebook and now – IG, memes have become the primary form of visual humour online. For example, Curology is a custom skincare brand. They are a huge business success and a fun thing to follow on social media. Take a look at the example below.
There are a ton more memes like this on their page. How does this improve engagement? First of all, it communicates a down-to-earth brand language. It is meant for everyone, and everyone has their flaws, including Curology clients. Embracing them with a smile not only sheds a positive light on their brand but also makes people smile and be happy, in turn making them much more open to consumerism. Which is engagement 101.
A more radical example of meme usage. These are so-called ‘Dank’ memes. Consider these the inside jokes of the meme world. A person who is not familiar with memes and specific memes, in general, would not get the joke; hence audiences either get or entirely do not roll with content from Slimjim. Slimjim seeks to attract a niche audience and they have selected a ‘Rougher’ approach to things.
Cosmo is one of the biggest names in the magazine business. However, even they use memes. And boy do they have lots of them… However, they usually put a twist on things and recreate famous memes through their own content or build OC on their own terms. As it seems, they do make easily likeable content, but also make it their own which nicely fits into most of the points BuzzVoice has listed for you.
What we recommend is not being afraid to spice things up once in a while. By using memes, you can engage audiences by entertaining them. Instead of posting professional or very straight-to-the-point content all of the time, how about relatable quotes or a small meme to make everyone laugh? Audiences will repost and appreciate, thus, in turn, boosting engagement rates two or three times for the time being.