After Instagram discarded chronological order feed in 2016, brands and creators now constantly need to fight Instagram algorithm to get discovered by other users.

Instagram also claims in their Creators account that “since switching to a ranked feed, the average post is now seen by 50% more followers than it did with the chronological model”.

We’ll let you decide if that is true.

The most unfair thing of the whole update is that even those people who voluntarily pressed the Follow button don’t see your content if they don’t interact with it often.

In this article, we will discuss several actionable ways to increase your Instagram ER.

How to calculate the Instagram engagement rate?

Engagement rate on Instagram is a vital metric that shows how your audience responds to your content and if it responds to it all. There are several ways to calculate it:

  1. The first option to calculate the ER of an account is to take the total number of reactions (likes and comments), divide it by your total follower count and then multiply by 100%.
ER = (likes + comments) / all followers x 100%

Some even include shares and saves to reactions and calculate the formula considering them.

2. Use Combin Growth to find out the ER of your account, sort users and posts by ER and learn about ER of other users.

With Combin Growth, you can learn your own ER. To do so, log in with your Instagram account and head to Profile. The ER will be displayed next to your account data.

You can also sort posts and users according to their ER. Using the tool, you will not need to calculate the ER on your own.

3. Engagement rate by reach.

This formula is very representative since the reach is one of the essential metrics in social media marketing. The number of followers means nothing if the reach is low.

The formula that helps you to calculate the ERR:

ERR = reactions / reach x 100%

4. Engagement rate per post.

This ER is an average engagement one particular post has. Typically, you need this formula to calculate this metric:

ERP = reactions / followers x100%

This is important to note that this formula calculates the ER of one post, so if you want to find our the ER of a user’s account, this formula is not your best option. If you’re going to estimate the quality of content and audience of a specific influencer, you need to take into account the last 10–12 posts.

What engagement rate is considered to be good?

It strongly depends on the account. For instance, small accounts with 1000–3000 often have the ER that equals to 10–15%. But it’s normal if as the account grows, the ER drops. This is an organic process.

That’s why Instagram pages with a large following often have low engagement rates approximately 2–5%. Accounts with millions of followers typically have 3% or lower. And that’s not a tragedy.

How to increase Instagram engagement rate?

Before starting work on increasing your ER, you should understand that as your follower count grows, the engagement rate will drop automatically. Yet, it’s never too late to enhance the ER.

So, what are ways to increase your Instagram engagement rate?

  • Improve your content quality.

It goes without saying, but one of the reasons ER is low is that your audience is bored. To avoid this, experiment with various content formats, include stories with stickers, IGTV and IGTV Series, create viral challenges and write insightful “savable” captions.

Your content needs to be super useful and yet entertaining to draw your followers’ attention.

Besides, track which content performs best and dismiss those formats which didn’t work at all. You can monitor the performance of your content in Instagram Insights.

  • Figure out what time you should post on Instagram.

It’s hardly possible to publish content every day and always hit the time when your entire audience is online, but you still can get insights of when your target audience is active. Instagram analytics give you these data.

Scheduling Instagram content will also streamline this process. With posts and stories planning tool Combin Scheduler, you can publish your Instagram content even if you don’t have access to Instagram or the Internet connection right away. This is very convenient, especially if your audience is diverse.

You can also add a link in bio, repost others’ Instagram posts, tag other Instagrammers, add location, hashtags, and schedule stories with Combin Scheduler.
  • Analyse your current audience.

If your Instagram followers tab is full of bots, mass followers, celebrities, Instagram stores, or any other audience that is irrelevant for your account, your ER will be low.

Obviously, you need to get rid of such ghost followers. You can do it with Combin Growth by simply unfollowing people that are not your target audience.

  • Figure out what you need to work on: engagement rate by post, reach, or ER by reach and improve the weakest part.

If the reach is low, the solution will be a bit different. In such a case, you will need to increase it by target ads, influencer marketing, and interaction with your target audience that is not yet your followers.

If the problem is a low ERR, you should work on the content quality because this issue typically means that lots of people see your content, but no one wants to interact with it.

  • Communicate and interact with your audience.

Reply to their comments, questions in stories and direct messages. You can also like and comment on their own posts, why not? Just randomly choose some of your followers and like or comment on their content. You will draw their attention for sure.

What kills the Instagram engagement rate?

Mass liking, mass commenting, shoutout for a shoutout (SFS), “like for like” or similar mechanics CAN’T kill the ER.

Things that can harm your engagement rate are bots, mass followers who can’t even see your content in their feeds, boring giveaways and generic giveaways. Such giveaways attract people who are not interested in you as a brand or creator.

They follow you because you offer something for free. After the giveaway, if these users stay with you, they turn to ghost followers that don’t care about your content and don’t interact with it. Guide on how to conduct giveaways that will not kill your account is covered here.

The bottom line

So, final takeaways you should know: there are several ways to calculate the ER and, hence, several ways to work on its improvement. Some general recommendations are to work on the content quality, get rid of irrelevant followers, communicate with active followers, and conduct only niche- and/or audience-specific giveaways.

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