This is a chapter from my Photographer’s Guide to Social Media & Marketing.
Instagram’s algorithm values engagement, a lot like Facebook does.
In the article, I’ll break down how you can improve your engagement, besides creating better content – which obviously is the most important part.
How to measure your engagement rate
There are a lot of tools that can calculate your Instagram engagement rate, Try put your Instagram username in this tool.
The Instagram Engagement rate is usually calculated by taking the Average Engagement Rate (%) Per Post = Total Engagement / Follower Counts / Number of Posts x 100
As you see, my engagement rate is 8.49% which is alright but could also be better.
I experimented with different Instagram Marketing techniques a year ago. I don’t do anything today – but I was curious to see and test what works for big succesful instagram accounts.
I wouldn’t recommend doing any of the following things I’m about to list here.
How Instagram might measures engagement
The tool I showed you above takes the public data that’s available, but Instagram might look at all of these metrics as “positive engagement”
- Profile clicks: People who go to your profile from your post.
- Comments: People who comment on your post.
- Likes: People who like your post.
- Reach to like ratio: How many saw your post vs. liked it.
- Saves: People who save your post.
- Shares: People who send or share your post.
- Time spent on your photo: People looking at your photo for a long time.
- People zooming: If someone zooms in on your photo.
- Maybe even people screenshotting your photos: I’m not sure about this – but it’s possible.
Instagram Engagement Strategies & Tips
It’s clear Instagram cares about engagement. This is why a lot of the most popular Instagrammers ‘fake’ or ‘optimize’ their engagement by using these methods I’ll show you below.
Most of these methods below are in violation with Instagram Terms of Service, so doing this might get you in trouble.
#1 – Instagram Engagement-Groups
Engagement groups are basically people who agree to like or comment on each other photos. It can be a group on Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp or Telegram etc.
It works like this:
- You upload you photo to Instagram.
- Then you share a link to that photo in your Engagement group.
- Everyone likes and comments.
I tried it a year ago and it’s super time-consuming and I honestly don’t think it’s worth many peoples time.
Should you participate in Instagram Groups? Do they work?
It’s really up to you.
I think Instagram’s developers and the algorithm the run can spot fake engagements.
Especially if the engagement comes profiles that are unrelated to your topic and follows a simple pattern of like for like.
Let’s say I want to try it out. What do I do?
It’s simple. Just DM friends, or even better, people who post similar content as you do, and make a WhatsApp, Facebook or Telegram group together and like/comment on each other photos.
Turn On Notifications
If you don’t want to put that much effort into it, you can also just make a deal with other people to Turn On Notifications on each other’s accounts, so you receive a push-notification once each other posts and starting engaging.
#2 – Instagram Shoutouts
An Instagram Shoutout is when another person mentions your profile in either their Instagram Story or in a post.
If you get a shoutout from a big relevant profile, it will give increase your followers and if the followers are relevant, it will also increase your future engagements.
How do you get a shoutout?
Some people sell shoutouts. Some people trade shoutouts. If you find a large Instagram Account that gives shoutouts, just send them a Direct Message and see what’s up.
Shoutout For Shoutout
Some people trade shoutouts, which is called “shoutout for shoutout”.
This tactic makes a lot of sense because it benefits both of you and comes with a cost.
The problem with this strategy is that you need a lot of followers to attract other large Instagram profiles, to want to trade shoutout for shoutout. If you have 500 followers and the person you approach has 10.000, he or she probably don’t want to trade with you, because of your limited reach.
I personally haven’t done much Instagram Shoutouts, at all. I’m not really sure why because I actually think the strategy makes a lot of sense and it’s something I want to do more of in the future.
#3 – Instagram Power likes
When I first heard about Instagram Powerlikes I was immediately intrigued – so I tried it out, also one year ago.
Buying power likes means that you pay someone or a network/group of large Instagram accounts, to immediately like your photo when you post.
The idea is that it will tell Instagram your post is “trending” and will, therefore, show it on the explore page and in the Top Posts of the hashtags you use.
I tried using power likes for a month actually. And while it gave me a lot of likes, really fast, from accounts that have 100.000-1.000.000 followers, I really didn’t see any crazy boost in reach or impressions.
I think I paid 150 USD for it and it didn’t do me anything good. I hope it would’ve boosted my photos to the explore page or top posts in the hashtags I used. None of that happened.
The problem with power likes, and with my experiment of buying them, was that the accounts I got likes from, were very irrelevant from what my account is about.
My account is about street photography and all the large accounts who liked my photo, were meme-accounts, fitness accounts, and motivational-accounts. And the reason for that is that those accounts are usually easier to grow and is there for what the people who sell powerlikes, has a lot of.
If you want more trick & tips, get this book
A lot of what I’ve learned about Instagram marketing comes from this Instagram E-book and it’s the most thorough book about Instagram marketing I’ve ever read. I’ve spent around 1000 dollars on Instagram Marketing guides and software so far – and the 37 bucks have been my best investment by far – see what’s inside the e-book here.