Em Files

The Em Files – Engagement Basics

October 2, 2017

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!

You Might Also Like


  • Reply The_cornellranch October 2, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Em, again thank you so much for sharing! I fons this to be super improtant bc the reason we are sharing a photo of our homes is because we love to share with others ans inspire! And with that talking about things and meeting the people who liked our home photo or any photo for that matter is the other half of it all! I love to talk to everyone and meet new people who share the same passion! Thank you again! Xoxoxoxo

    • Reply emilyeveryday October 2, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      I love this outlook Ash and it’s something I didn’t cover! Even if you’re doing IG just for fun, you want to make sure that you’re inspiring others and engagement is the best way to track that! ❤️

  • Reply The_cornellranch October 2, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    **find ugh typo queen! Haha

  • Reply Megan October 2, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Another great post Em! Lots of useful info for those that are trying to grow their account. Thanks for dishing all the info again ?

    • Reply emilyeveryday October 2, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      Yay Meg!! So glad to help ?

  • Reply Emily White @shoptaprut October 2, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Seriously!?! How are you so amazing!! I took notes!! Notes! I can’t wait to teach other what I just learned from you! Thank you!

    • Reply emilyeveryday October 2, 2017 at 10:15 pm

      Girl I love that you took notes! Just wait for the next installment ??

  • Reply @living.through October 2, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Love your writing style. I feel like I’ve had a conversation with you every time I read a post! This is useful info and I’m looking forward to hearing more about how to raise engagement rates.

    • Reply emilyeveryday October 2, 2017 at 10:15 pm

      Omg that’s such a great compliment! Thanks for reading! Can’t wait to chat in my next post ?

  • Reply Kelly October 2, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Emily this was so helpful! Thanks for helping a girl out!

    • Reply emilyeveryday October 2, 2017 at 10:14 pm

      Happy to help Kel! Stayed tuned cause it’s only gonna get better ?

  • Reply Kelsey October 3, 2017 at 12:33 am

    I never knew how intricate this platform of social media was! Wow. Mind. Blown. Seriously though, thanks for breaking it done for us. I look forward to the rest of “The Em Files.” P.S. I love the “IT’S MY BLOG AND I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT” quote. You funny guuurrl!!! ?

    • Reply emilyeveryday October 3, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Bahaha thanks Kelsey for appreciating that line!! And yes there are so many facets of IG that I can’t wait to share with you all ❤️

  • Reply Megan October 3, 2017 at 11:12 am

    I love this. It’s so true when you say “where are those 20K people?” — if you’re engaging with people, the number doesn’t matter. I post my home and like others homes because I truly love decor. I have passion for people that do as well. Thanks for this!

    • Reply emilyeveryday October 3, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Exactly Megan! It’s about turning your followers into fans so you aren’t asking where they are.. because you know! They’re engaging with you.

  • Reply Alycia October 3, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Loving the Em files! So helpful! Thank you for the link to check your engagement, that was fun and informative! Can’t wait for part two!?

    • Reply emilyeveryday October 3, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      Isn’t that a cool site? I love it! You’re so welcome Alycia and thanks for reading! ❤️

  • Reply Julie October 3, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Love this, Emily! So much great info. I can’t wait for the next installment!

    • Reply emilyeveryday October 3, 2017 at 4:07 pm

      Thanks for reading Jules!! I need to get to writing the follow up to this soon ?

  • Reply Ruth October 4, 2017 at 12:58 am

    I love your blog Emily 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Lisa October 4, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Emily, I’m blessed to have found you’ and am soaking up ALL you share. Now I really owe you a bottle of cheap wine! Xoxo ?

    • Reply emilyeveryday October 4, 2017 at 10:10 am

      Lisa, so happy to help in any way that I can! I’m going to hold you to that wine offer. 😉

  • Reply Shae October 4, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Great post Emily! Thankfully I’ve started to focus less on followers and like you said, more on the engagement I’m getting. People following you just because but not caring a lick about what youre doinh won’t help grow your business! Can’t wait for part 2.

    • Reply emilyeveryday October 4, 2017 at 10:11 am

      Exactly Shae! It’s called vanity numbers… and we look so much into them, when really we should be focused on our audience and engaging with them!

  • Reply Corinna October 4, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Boosting engagement is my biggest hurdle. I tried deleting supposed ghost followers, I tried engaging with the explore page and followers of followers to get my own posts shown to more of my followers. I’m pretty sure no one outside my groups sees my stuff. Please continue sharing your magical ways!

    • Reply emilyeveryday October 6, 2017 at 8:49 am

      Keep working on it Corinna! You can totally get that engagement back up!

  • Reply Donna @ rusticmoderncharm October 5, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Yup! Let’s help each other up! Loved learning my engagement score. Keep them coming, Em!

    • Reply emilyeveryday October 6, 2017 at 8:47 am

      Isn’t that a great, useful site? I have so many more of those gems hidden up my sleeve!

  • Reply Laura carlton October 5, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Love that site you linked, I’m freaking giddy because my engagement is 12%. Emily your awesome!! Thank you for teaching us the ways of the gram. It can indeed be a scary place. Also, yay, for just teaching us without charging us $99. We small business owners aren’t always rolling in moola, inventory just had to be bought, kids need to be fed, dog peed all over the couch and we have to invest in Febreeze.?

    • Reply emilyeveryday October 6, 2017 at 8:43 am

      Yes to 12% girl! Yeah – I’m not here to make a dime. Just to help out people who’s dogs pee on the couch like mine! 😉

  • Reply christina kelley October 17, 2017 at 1:17 am

    Emily you’ve already done so much to help me and this posts is just frosting on that cupcake. I have been pulled in what seems like 10 different directions just in the past month so this gives me some clarity and a good goal to set for the upcoming months. Thanks for the insight!! And thanks for letting us in on your top secret tips! ?

    • Reply emilyeveryday October 20, 2017 at 10:26 am

      Christina I’m so glad that this has offered you some clarity. 🙂 Keep up the great work girl!

  • Reply The Em Files - Increasing Your Engagement on Instagram February 26, 2018 at 11:28 am

    […] The Big Kahunas. (Okay, I’m done with the idioms.) If you haven’t read Part One about Engagement Basics, then I suggest you start there or this may get a bit confusing! You need to lay the foundation of […]

Leave a Reply