Instagram Engagement: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

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Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | Jun 13, 2024

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You might hear the word “engagement” thrown around so casually when it comes to Instagram. Everyone wants to “boost engagement” or create “engaging content.” It’s become somewhat of a buzzword, especially for people who don’t know the technical definition of Instagram engagement.

So, what do engagement metrics really mean, and how do they affect your brand on Instagram? That’s what we’re here to uncover today. If you want a firmer grasp of what it means to have good engagement on social media, keep reading. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a thorough understanding of engagement and how to drive it on Instagram. Let’s jump right in!

Vector image of Instagram posts surrounded by icons representing likes, comments, shares, and hashtags.

What Is Engagement on Instagram, and Why Is It Important?

Simply put—engagement on Instagram refers to how others interact with your content. It can take the form of likes, comments, shares, saves, and even messages sent to you from a post. Basically, engagement is when anyone on the platform acts on the posts you publish.

Everyone loves receiving tons of likes and comments on their Instagram posts. But why are these interactions or forms of engagement so important?

Engagement metrics allow you to see how interested your target audience is in the content you post. When a huge chunk of your followers interact with your posts, it means they value and appreciate it. This gives you insights into what types of posts your fans love and which content pillars to post more of. It’s awesome for planning out creative content in advance.

Good engagement levels also boost your visibility on the platform. The Instagram algorithm is known to “reward” accounts that drive a lot of likes, comments, and shares. High engagement signals to the algorithm that your content is relevant. So, it pushes it out to the top of your followers’ feeds to increase visibility. If you drive incredibly high engagement on some of your posts, they might even end up on the Explore page.

Plus, engagement is terrific for driving things like brand loyalty and conversions for businesses. The more you entice people to engage with your content, the deeper the connection you build with them. This makes them more likely to stay loyal to your brand or even patronize it by buying your products.

Someone’s hand holding a smartphone with the Instagram “like” symbol painted above it on a wall.

What Is the Best Way To Measure Engagement on Instagram?

It’s exciting to look at how many likes and comments your recent posts have gathered on Instagram. But counting these interactions is hardly the best way to measure how engaging your content is. Instead, it’s better to calculate your engagement rate per post to see how well your content is faring.

Your engagement rate measures how much of your follower base engages with your content. It gives you a more insightful perspective of how interesting your content is.

But how do you compute this metric in the first place? Here’s a simple engagement rate formula you can use whenever you want to track a post’s performance. Your rate is basically the total number of likes and comments on your post divided by your overall follower count. Then, multiply this number by 100. And that’s your engagement rate!

Let’s say you have 5,000 followers, and you published a carousel post that got 220 likes and 30 comments. Take your total interactions (in this case, 250) and divide it by 5,000. Multiply it by 100, and you get a final interaction rate of 5%.

Calculating your engagement rate is a much better way to assess your post performance than merely counting likes and comments. Think about it. If you have hundreds of thousands of followers, it’s easy to get over a thousand likes. That sounds really good, but it doesn’t mean you’re even scratching the surface of your entire fanbase’s interest.

Someone with, say, 300 followers might have better-performing content if they have 100 likes on a post. That’s because 33% of their audience likes their content.

Black and white wall graffiti of the Instagram icons for likes, hearts, and emoji reactions.

What Is a Good Engagement Rate on Instagram?

Now that you can compute your interaction rates, the next question is—what is a good engagement rate on Instagram?

According to Hootsuite, average engagement rates on the platform range from 1-5%. You can use this range as a benchmark to see whether your post is performing well or better than most.

However, it’s also important to note that the bigger your fanbase, the lower your average engagement rate will likely be. The larger your follower count, the more likely you are to have inactive followers who don’t engage. So, it’s not surprising to see celebrities or macro-influencers with such low engagement rates. Micro-influencers, contrary to popular belief, have engagement metrics that are way better despite having smaller fanbases.

A man filming a video of a river and trees with his smartphone.

To Make Things Easier, Use a Free Instagram Engagement Calculator

Do you need to compute the interaction rates of multiple accounts in one go? It can be tedious and time-consuming to apply the formula above to countless posts. So, if you need to see insights on someone’s engagement metrics fast, use an online Instagram engagement calculator instead.

There are plenty of engagement calculators all over the internet. However, not all of them are accurate or easy to use. Some might require you to tediously count likes and comments or perhaps link numerous posts to the site. But don’t worry; Path Social has a free engagement calculator that’s both accurate and super easy to use!

Our free engagement calculator allows you to simply type in an Instagram handle and see their average engagement rate. In just a few seconds, you’ll see the overall engagement metrics of any influencer, brand, or public personal account.

This calculator is an excellent way to quickly assess and analyze how effective certain profiles are at engaging their audience. It’s awesome to vet influencers for your next campaign or check out your competitor brands’ performance on Instagram.

A blue and red neon sign glowing in the dark showing zero Instagram likes.

How To Increase Engagement on Instagram: Some Quick Tips

Are you struggling with low engagement on your content, no matter how hard you try to make it interactive and exciting? We’ve got you covered. Here’s how to increase engagement on Instagram with a few quick and easy techniques.

1. Build Up Your Brand as an Expert in Your Niche

One way to make your content more engaging is by showcasing your expertise in your niche. Create content that shows your target audience why you’re the authority in your hobby or interest. Let them learn and discover new things through your posts.

Let’s take the fashion niche, for example. Any content creator can wear a cute outfit and post OOTD photos online. However, only a true expert can create guides for making capsule wardrobes or distinguishing between high and low-quality fabrics. Those uber-specific, hyper-niche content can gain tons more engagement than run-of-the-mill outfit content. That’s because you’re adding more value and knowledge to the lives of fashion lovers who take their clothes seriously.

2. Repost User-Generated Content Your Fans Share About You

If someone posts user-generated content featuring your brand, share their post to your Instagram Story. This builds a sense of community with them, strengthening your relationship. It makes them feel like you value them and appreciate the content they publish. That makes them more likely to engage not just with your reposts but your original content in the future.

And it’s not just the people who post user-generated content who can help boost your engagement. It’s also everyone else who sees those posts on your page. People perceive user-generated content to be more authentic than content made by big brands. So, it may drive more likes and comments than your traditional, product-centric content.

3. Experiment With Creative IG Formats, Like Videos and Carousel Posts

If you post photo after photo on your feed, it could get a little boring for your audience. So much so that they may stop interacting with your content altogether. Spice things up and get them interested in your content again by experimenting with different creative formats. Try posting fresh content in the form of Reels, Stories, and carousel posts and see how well they perform engagement-wise.

4. Pose an Interesting Question in Your Post Captions To Drive Comments

It’s easy to get people to like your Instagram posts. All you have to do is post an aesthetically captivating photo, and they’ll double-tap on your content instantly. After all, liking a post is easy and doesn’t take a lot of effort.

It’s getting people to comment on your posts that can be a little more challenging. You don’t have to rack your brain to come up with something witty to like a post. But to write a comment, you need to use a bit more brain power.

Make it easy and exciting for your followers to leave comments on your posts by writing engaging captions for them. If you can, pose a question for them to answer in the comments. Ask for their opinion on whatever topic you posted about, or encourage them to share personal anecdotes. It’s an awesome way to spark meaningful conversations on the platform and simultaneously boost your engagement levels.

A woman thinking hard while looking up and scratching her chin.

Boost IG Engagement by Growing Your Audience With Path Social!

Success on Instagram is more than just having a high follower count and beautiful content on your page. It’s just as important to drive traction for your posts to get genuine engagement from your target audience. So, it’s pertinent to post content that will excite and encourage them to interact with your brand to boost engagement.

Are you looking to amp up your engagement metrics even more? One way to get consistent engagement on your page is to maintain a large fanbase. Expand your posts’ reach by growing your audience with the help of Path Social.

We use AI to track down your niche target audience. Then, we use proven strategies to promote your page to them, from influencer shoutouts to email marketing. These boost reach and visibility, allowing you to gain more followers and likes, comments, and shares on your posts. Let our team worry about Instagram engagement and reach. That way, you can focus on what matters most—creating content you’re passionate about. Grow your online community today with Path Social!