How to Increase Your Instagram Engagement Rate

Instagram turns 10 in 2020. It launched in October 2010 where its App Store debut triggered 25,000 downloads in just one day. Two years later, Facebook bought the app for $ 1 billion.

In 2020, the app has grown larger than expected with 500 million users per day. Its popularity has made it a source of income for content creators and brands worldwide. Many use the app as their only source of income.

Since the potential to make money, connect with your audience, and build a reputable brand on Instagram is so high, understanding how to use it is important. There are several ways to market yourself or your business on Instagram. However, it is impossible to do so without first understanding your Instagram engagement rate.

What is the Instagram Engagement Rate?

Instagram Engagement Rate is a quantitative measure of how users interact with the content on your profile. It takes into account your number of followers, likes, comments and shares. Engagement rates are usually calculated by dividing an account’s likes and comments by the number of followers.

Why is Instagram engagement rate important?

Instagram engagement rates are substantial as they measure an audience’s interest, brand relevance, and social authority.

Audience interest

If your content speaks to your target audience, your engagement rate will be higher. If you take the time to review your content with the best performing i. H. Posts with the most likes, shares, saves and comments will give you a sense of what your users want to see. It’s important to note that high impressions may indicate that your content has been viewed a lot. However, engagement is usually defined as a specific interaction with your posts.


If you have a high engagement rate, your audience will likely see you as a relevant source of information. You may prefer your content over your competitors because your content sets you apart from others. If you have a high engagement rate now, will it be the same in three months? Is it higher than last year? If you don’t monitor your engagement rate and use it as a benchmark for relevance, your score can go down.

Social authority

While you’ve probably already identified your Instagram audience, adding new followers and fans to the list is never a bad thing. These new users take note of your engagement – your followers, likes, comments, etc. – in order to decide whether or not to follow them. They’ll likely switch to your competitors when they see your brand’s engagement. Social authority is not strong.

What is the Average Instagram Engagement Rate?

There is no standard definition of a “good” engagement rate. They vary by industry and depending on your strategic goals.

However, Instagram has higher engagement rates than other social media networks. According to the HubSpot Instagram Engagement Report, posts on the platform generate 23% more engagement than Facebook, even though Facebook has 2x more monthly users.

If you want a numerical value to compare your score to, Rival IQ found that the average engagement rate across all industries is 1.22%. Certain sectors have higher rates, such as higher education at 3.57%, sports teams at 2.33%, and influencers at 1.67%.

For this reason, one can assume that an engagement rate of around 1% is a good engagement rate.

If you’ve already entered the numbers and found that your engagement rate is well below average, don’t fret. There is room for improvement – but keep a healthy perspective. Assess how your engagement rate has changed over time and develop strategies to increase your score. Start this process by calculating your engagement rate.

How to calculate your engagement rate on Instagram

The best way to calculate your Instagram Engagement Rate is discussed among marketers as different industries define success in different ways. Your preferred method will depend on your goals as a brand or influencer.

Calculating Instagram Engagement Rate for Brands

This formula works best for brands on Instagram as it takes into account the number of people who saw a piece of content (impressions) rather than the total number of followers.

Formula for calculating the engagement rate of branded Instagram

Brands typically convert more leads based on exposure first, rather than number of followers. When brand advertisements are displayed, engagement rates go up, especially if they follow the ads on Instagram profiles and become followers. Note that Instagram accounts must be public business profiles in order to see impressions.

Calculating the Instagram engagement rate for influencers

Since sponsors often recruit influencers on Instagram based on their likes and follower counts, their engagement rates take both of these factors into account. Since this metric does not require personal information, you can compare your engagement rates with those of your competition.

Formula for calculating the influencer Instagram engagement rate

Regardless of your engagement rate, steps must always be taken to increase your score.

How to Increase Your Instagram Engagement Rate

  1. Maintain consistent branding.
  2. Understand your audience.
  3. Post regularly.
  4. Create better subtitles.
  5. Get involved with your followers.
  6. Get involved with similar accounts.
  7. Create mixed content.
  8. Use CTAs.
  9. Track your stats.

1. Maintain consistent branding.

Maintaining consistency with your content is extremely important and there are several things you can do to do it.

First, your username should be similar or identical to your other social media usernames. For example, if your Twitter handle is @greenbookworm, then your Instagram handle should be the same when it’s available (or something very similar).

You should also make sure that your content is visually consistent as well, and that you have a format that you use for all of your posts. For example, check out Nike’s Instagram. Nike Instagram Profile


When they publish content that includes typography, they use the same backgrounds and fonts. When they post photos, they are high quality and use the same filter.

Nike Instagram Text Post Brand Consistency


If your content looks similar, your profile will be aesthetically pleasing and users can recognize your photos as a unified brand. If they come across your content on another social media website and discover it’s yours, they can follow you there too.

There’s data to back it up – WebDam found that 60% of the top performing brands on Instagram used the same filter every time they posted.

2. Understand your audience.

You can’t start creating content without knowing your audience. Developing Instagram personas is a helpful tool to increase your engagement rate. Knowing who your followers are will be more likely to be more engaging with you by creating the content you want. Take the time to monitor your audience stats and update your personas accordingly.

You can use Instagram Insights to get a demographic understanding of your followers. If you have a business Instagram account, navigate to the Audience tab under the Insights menu.

Insights into Instagram audience to increase Instagram engagement scoreFrom here, you can view your users ‘top locations, your users’ ages and gender. All of this information gives you an understanding of your users.
Instagram insights for followers gender, age group and top locations If you’re a HubSpot user, you can use the social reports data to get the same insights.

Regardless of your target audience, your content needs to be accessible. Using Instagram’s accessibility tools is crucial. You can use it to add alternate text, subtitles and captions to your content.

3. Post regularly.

Once you know your audience, post content they like and do it regularly. In 2018, 60% of Instagram users said they visit the website on a daily basis and 38% of users visited it several times a day.

How often you post depends on your marketing strategy, but the average brand posts 1.5 times a day. Again, this metric is an average and may not work for all. Posting too much content can overwhelm your users, and they won’t hesitate to remove the content if their feed is clogged.

Knowing the best times for your followers is also important. Instagram Insights also shows you the best days and hours to post.

instagram insights for the best time and day to post on instagram to increase engagement rate

Remember, quantity is not quality, which leads us to the next strategy for increasing engagement.

4. Create better subtitles.

Unless you’re @world_record_egg and posted a photo of an egg without a caption that generated over 12 million likes, then you need to focus on your captions. Use the brand voice you developed to sound consistent and keep an eye on your target audience. You can create short subtitles that are serious or light-hearted.

You can also create longer subtitles that tell stories and take your users on a journey. Take the @humansofny Instagram account as an example. They regularly show the personal stories of people all over the world.

People with long Instagram labels

Since engagement metrics take into account the amount of time users spend on your posts, you should alternate shorter and longer subtitles.

Hand in hand with writing better subtitles, high quality hashtags are used – after all, Instagram was built on them. It is still the algorithm’s primary method of filtering through content. If you’re unfamiliar with hashtags, here’s a summary.

Captions can have up to 30 hashtags per post, but there must be a balance. Hashtag dumping, which is similar to keyword stuffing, can make the algorithm look like you’re spamming for an engagement and you can get a shadow ban. The goal is to find out what works for you and stick with it.

Your hashtags should be a mix of popular and specific long-tail keywords. For example, if you run an Instagram for your hotel, you’ll want to use common hashtags like #hotel and #travel. However, these are also very broad, as the search for the #hotel tag includes 31 million posts. Be more specific and focused on your needs and maybe say #hotel, #travel and #hotel + your hotel name + the name of the city you are in. For example #hotellisamiami.

You can identify the best hashtags by doing keyword research and categorizing the ones that are best for you and your brand. You may also want to create a branded hashtag that users can recognize as your hashtag.

5. Engage with your followers.

After you’ve posted, get in touch with your followers. While Instagram has the “Disable Comments” feature, you can still enable it.

Reply to comments from your followers. They may ask questions or express their enthusiasm for your product. Paula’s Choice, a beauty brand, is a great example of this.

paula's choice in response to the comment on the Instagram below


They regularly host Instagram Q&A where users ask questions and answer them on their Instagram stories.

They take actions that they know will entice their audience to engage with their Instagram content, which will affect engagement rates.

In order to get in touch with your followers, you also need to share their content on your website, known as User Generated Content (UGC). By browsing your branded hashtags, you can find users who post about you. You can scan their content to share in your story and even post it on your feed.

Your followers will be amazed that you are interacting with them, as engagement can mean a personal relationship with your brand. Here is an example of Paula’s Choice posting UGC.

paula's choice instgram user generated content post to increase Instagram engagement rate


6. Get involved with similar accounts.

There would be no point in using Instagram if you don’t follow and interact with other accounts.

Using the platform to interact with similar accounts is extremely important. If you’re a brand, it can mean working with influencers in the same industry. When you share products with them, they publish content that carries your brands. If they tag you, their followers will see your account and many may follow you – all of these metrics will affect your engagement rate.

Emma Chamberlain is a popular YouTuber with nearly 10.4 million Instagram followers aged just 19. She regularly publishes sponsored content and her sponsors publish it. She attracts her followers to interact with these brands and vice versa.

Emma Chamberlain Sponsored Content Instagram Postsource

This creates trust between brands, influencers, and their followers, creating an image of “high engagement” for those who surf on Instagram and they will follow you in return.

In addition to influencers, it is also important to simply deal with brands in your industry. Commenting on accounts according to industry standards allows you to give users attention in the same commenting area. They can click on your profile and become new followers.

7. Create mixed content.

When the app first launched, you could only post photos. Five types of content posts are now supported on Instagram: Photos, Videos, Instagram TV (IGTV), Instagram Reels, and Instagram Stories.

It is no longer enough to just post photos. You have to do everything.


Zenith Media estimates that in 2020 the average person would spend 84 minutes a day watching videos. That is a significant amount of time spent watching videos. So use it to your advantage.

There are five video options within Instagram: Roles, IGTV, Story Videos, Instagram Live, and Video Postings. You have to decide which method works best for you, but a comprehensive Instagram strategy covers them all. When people view content on your page, they spend more time on your website, taking into account your impressions.

If you’re a sports brand, post enticing videos of recognized athletes using your equipment to practice their sport.


Instagram stories are essentially the same as Snapchat stories. HubSpot’s Instagram Engagement Report found that 22% of users viewed branded content from a business, company, or brand more than once a week, and 36% liked, commented on, or shared branded stores.

You can take advantage of these numbers and use this feature to draw attention to your new posts by sharing them on your story or just posting exclusive story content.

This feature can also be used to engage with your audience. Publish quizzes and questions and make them shared with other users. Stories can also be used to get feedback from customers and ask them to submit experiences with your products and services.

Using influencer sponsorships and getting them live on your account via Instagram Live is a great strategy. Instagram Lives can also be saved to your account so that new users can see them even if they have occurred three months earlier.

8. Use call-to-action (CTAs).

A CTA is an image, line of text, hashtag, or swipe-up link designed to entice your audience to act – hence the call to action.

The specific actions users should take should be determined based on your brand, service, or the influencers’ needs. This can mean letting them know of a sale by including a swipe-up link on your Instagram story, asking them to tag a friend in the comment section, or sharing links to content posted by partners.

Links to other websites, while not directly affecting your Instagram engagement rate, do require users to spend more time on your profile and you can convert them into leads on other platforms. Here is an example of National Geographic promoting a new product in their history using a swipe-up CTA.

National Geographic Instagram Story Swipe Up Call To Action


9. Track your statistics.

Why take steps to improve your engagement rate if you don’t take the time to understand if it’s working? Tracking your progress is extremely important and should be something to focus on.

Trial and error are expected and should be used to inform your current and future strategies. Use your favorite CRM to find your most effective posts or content and use the strategy that will be used in those for your next content posts.

After you’ve calculated your Engagement Rate for the first time, it’s time to create a schedule in which to recalculate it. Perhaps you have set yourself the goal of increasing your score by 0.10% in one year. As a result, you may plan to recalculate the numbers every three months. This can also help you understand what isn’t working. If your numbers haven’t changed, something has to change.

All in all, Instagram Engagement Rate is a measure of how your audience is engaging with your content. Your rate is an indication of the social authority, relevance, and interest of your Instagram profiles.

If your content is good and your followers are engaging, your engagement rate is showing it. When you spend time working on your engagement rate, you are collecting valuable data to inform your overall Instagram marketing strategy.

You should see your engagement rate as a measure of customer loyalty and satisfaction.

If your users like you this will be shown.

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