I’m sitting here wondering, “Did I post out of order? Should I have begun this series by talking about the algorithm and engagement before delving into details like share groups?” And then I remembered… THIS IS MY BLOG. I DO WHAT I WANT! So if you’re new to The Em Files and are wondering what the heck I’m blabbing about – I decided it was time to tackle the monster that is Instagram. This series is for those that want to grow your account organically, that want to increase your engagement, that want the inside information (without having to pay for it). The world of IG is cut throat enough, shouldn’t we be helping each other up instead of holding each other down? So without further ado, this week’s topic is on Engagement Basics. Part two of this installment will be on how to Increase Your Engagement!
What is Engagement?
You can look at Engagement in two ways. First and foremost, Engagement can be defined as the sum of likes and comments on an individual Instagram post. Sometimes people confuse engagement with how much THEY interact with their followers. Engagement is not how often you comment and message on Instagram. Here’s an example of my own engagement: In my most recent post with AllModern, I had 2,188 likes and 169 comments. This was above average engagement for me. Normally my posts generate 1,600 likes and 80 comments. (Woo-hoo.. blue velvet sofa for the win!)
The second way to understand engagement is as a percentage. This is often called your Engagement Rate and requires some math (ICK!) Thankfully there are apps and websites that can calculate this for you. But for those of you who are curious, your engagement rate is measured by your likes and comments combined per post, divided by your following.
Confused yet? Me too!! If you have a lot of posts like me, calculating your own Engagement Rate is nearly impossible. Because that means you’d have to tally up all your likes and comments on every single post and then divide it by your number of followers. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT! So this is where the real MVP steps in. In order to calculate your Engagement Rate just click here! This is a free site. There is no signing up or linking to your Instagram account necessary. Here is what my Engagement Rate looks like:
Pro Tip: What is considered a good engagement rate? From my experience, anything 6% or higher is impeccable! Typically, as your account grows, your engagement will fall. Don’t panic! This is normal.
Why is Engagement Important?
Now this is the real question isn’t it? Why are us Instagram folk always harping about engagement? In the simplest, most basic way to explain it… engagement represents your follower’s loyalty level. Sometimes I stare at my phone and yell (in my head, of course), “Where are these TWENTY THOUSAND PEOPLE?” Well they’re probably working at their jobs, spending time with family and friends, or running errands. I can’t expect all 24,635 of them to like every single one of my posts. But boy, that would be nice, wouldn’t it?
To answer this question further, engagement is important to different people for different reasons. It shows the level of involvement, interest, and interaction that your followers have with you. Because of this I believe that your engagement is much more important than the number of followers you have. You should be focused on building a community, not an army. If you use Instagram as a creative outlet and for fun… this is peanuts to you. But for those of you who utilize it as a platform for your job, engagement is all that really matters. If your followers aren’t invested in your brand then how are you going to sell the hats that you make or for the companies that you partner with? You could have 100,000 followers but if only 500 of them care about what you post, have you effectively built your community? Just some food for thought.
Stay tuned for PART TWO of this installment, in which we will talk about how to effectively and organically increase your engagement. Click here to learn about Share Groups, a great way to help with authentic growth. Feel free to comment below with any questions that you may have. I’m always up for a good chat!