*6 Minute Read*

What You Need To Know About Instagram Engagement - The Marketing Muslimah

What You Need To Know About Instagram Engagement

Instagram has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception in 2010. It reached 1 million active users per month in 2018 and that number is likely rising as its graphic appeal, intuitive user interface, and other exciting features continue to attract new sign-ups daily.

The number of active users, the array of features, and opportunities available to attract customers on Instagram make it one of the best places for brands to engage their audience. As of now, many businesses already use it for engagement. However, brands on Instagram sometimes get hit with algorithm updates that skew their engagement rate just when they are starting to think they’ve got it all sorted out.

So, how can marketers and brands work around this problem?

The answer is simple; staying updated about the latest Instagram trends and statistics. Whether you are looking to grow your following, boost engagement, or increase your reach on social media, you need to first determine what works and what doesn’t. Hubspot recently analyzed about 48 million posts to measure the metrics of Instagram engagement in 2019. Read on to gain some insight into how you can use this data to boost your Instagram engagement.

What is Instagram Engagement Anyway?

Engagement simply refers to your audience’s interaction with your posts. More precisely, it consists of all the shares, likes, views, comments, and replies that your content elicits from your Instagram followers. So if the majority of your followers like, share, or comment on your posts, then you’re getting good engagement. Conversely, if you have 100,000 followers but only 400 to 500 interact with your posts, then your engagement rate is low.

Instagram Engagement

Engagement is Still the Primary Goal

More than 80% of the brands that use Instagram for marketing believe that engagement is the most important factor in measuring its effectiveness. Your brand’s engagement rate provides some insight into whether you are drawing in the right crowd.

Instagram allows users to post different types of content including videos, carousels, and static images. The users tend to interact more with videos. Carousels come in second place in terms of engagement, and static images attract the least engagement.

Video attracts More Engagement

The popular saying that humans are graphic beings is once again proven to be true as Instagram video posts receive remarkably better engagement than other types of content. Compared to static images, users and brands get 2x more comments on their video posts. So, if boosting engagement rate is your goal, posting more relevant videos will go a long way in helping you achieve that. That’s not to say you should completely discard the carousel and static photos. It simply means you should give videos more priority.

Stuffing Your Posts with Hashtags might be a Bad Idea

Hashtags are keywords that are relevant to your brand’s niche.  They serve three main purposes on Instagram;

  1. Giving context to your posts.
  2. Displaying your content to users who follow the hashtags you use.
  3. Expanding your reach.

If you are a travel agency, you’re likely to include #travel in captions of your posts because it is relevant to your brand. However, blindly using too many hashtags to increase your chances of getting more engagement might not work in your favor. Hubspot reports that more hashtags reduce average engagement rate so the fewer hashtags in a post, the better.

So how many hashtags should you use in your posts? Five (5) is the magic number. Use no more than five hashtags in a single post because the relevance of hashtags is what matters, not the large quantity.

The most popular hashtags on Instagram in 2019 fall into the fashion, food, and lifestyle categories but their popularity does not mean that using them will boost engagement especially if they are not relevant to your posts.

One effective way to get the most out of hashtags is to create a branded hashtag to increase your visibility. According to Sprout Social, 70% of Instagram hashtags are branded. Your branded hashtag should be unique to your business. It can be something as simple as your tagline or a word to express what your brand represents.

Another strategy is to research your competitors and key influences in your industry to determine which hashtags are generating more engagement for them and then using the same hashtags in your posts.


A rule of thumb in social media marketing is, the higher the number of persons that see your content, the higher your possibility that they are going to engage with them. But is this true for Instagram engagement?

Well, let’s find out.

Like most social media networks, Instagram notifies people when you tag them in your posts, and they just might view, like, or comment on your posts when they get that notification. Overall, it’s supposed to give your content more exposure or even go as far as helping you get an influencer’s attention.

In 2018, about 72% of Instagram posts had no tagged users but that number dropped to 40% in 2019. So tagging just might be boosting engagement since more users are tagging people in their posts. However, tagging more than 5 persons in one post can reduce the number of likes you get for that post. So, strategic tagging is the way to go if you’re looking to boost engagement by using tagging as a key strategy.

Strategic tagging is easy to implement. It only requires you to identify and tag industry influencers and your brand advocates. For example, if you quote the ideas of a thought leader on your page, tag them in it. This will not only tell them that you are engaging with their content but prompt them to engage with yours too, and when they do, some of their followers will follow suit. Once they respond to your outreach, find creative ways to connect with these influencers and consolidate your relationship with them.

Having a Large Following doesn’t always translate to More Engagement.

Many social media marketing experts have noted how difficult it’s become to get more followers on Instagram. Its recent algorithm updates are partly responsible for this but having a large following isn’t really what matters today.

Only 1.9% of Instagram users have more than 1 million followers. Another 2.7% have between 50,000 and 100,000 followers. But even though the majority of Instagram users have less than 50k followers, it is better to have a small but more engaged community than to have millions of followers who don’t interact with your content.

Instagram Engagement

If you are having a hard time getting a decent following, you are not alone. 46.6% of Instagram users have less than 1,000 followers. If you find yourself in this category, then you’ve got two options to grow your community quickly. They are;

1. Targeted Ads

Paid ads would help you attract new followers if you are trying to get your brand off the ground quickly. Beyond that, retaining those followers by keeping them engaged remains your responsibility. So roll up your sleeves and get to work.

2. Influencer marketing.

Working with industry influencers can increase your reach and indirectly attract new followers to your brand. Although most mega influencers who have the large following do a pretty good job at improving your brand’s image, Adweek reports that micro-influencers are more effective at boosting engagement.

Micro-influencers are relatively well known in their industry but they have smaller, focused communities which is exactly what your business needs –a focused audience with specific interests. They are low-cost, and they don’t play hard to get so find micro-influencers who have your target market in their communities and reach out to them.

Latest Post