Every week, there seems to be some new *rule* about engagement: how you can increase it, what the algorithm is up to, ways you can get more eyes on your content…
And I’m here to tell you that a lot of those so-called rules are — sorry, gotta be frank here — BS! Not all of those new ideas and hacks are going to be effective for your account. I hate to use such a cliche phrase, but these IG trends leave me no choice: don’t believe everything you hear!
So, today, we’re busting those myths, and calling them out for what they are: a bunch of bologna. There isn’t one right way to increase your engagement on Instagram.
Let’s talk about the different types of engagement and how much they matter — in order of least crucial to most beneficial.
THE. NUMBER. OF. FOLLOWERS. YOU. HAVE. DOES. NOT. MATTER.
Now read that over again.
I know we’re supposed to be talking about engagement, but I had to begin with this. The number of people that follow you should never be your main concern when creating content online. This is just a vanity metric — your concern should always be the people, not the numbers.
Now, you may be thinking, “the more the merrier, though, right?” And the answer to that is, well, kinda. If you have 100,000 followers, but each of your posts is only getting 14 likes, you have a serious engagement problem that is clearly coming from your following. This means that the people who are following you do not have an interest in the content you’re posting.
And before you get all self-conscious about your feed, that’s not the issue! I’m extremely confident that you’re posting great, valuable content. But when you have inactive followers, the Instagram algorithm doesn’t push your posts to the people who actually want to see them. This is why removing those inactives is SO important!
Having that 100K on your profile is practically irrelevant if your engagement rate isn’t solid. It’s much more beneficial to have 1,000 followers who love and interact with your content than hundreds of thousands who don’t.
We as a society often get caught up in the social media numbers game, but once you start thinking of those numbers as people, and creating content FOR THEM, your success will skyrocket.
(Oh, and by the way, I’m throwing this in here juuuust in case you weren’t picking up what I was putting down in this paragraph: NO, you may NOT buy followers. That is never a good idea. Please don’t do it. Thank you for coming to my TEDTalk.)
The number of likes you get on a picture doesn’t make it any more or less valuable. However, when you go and like another user’s picture you will be increasing your engagement by doing so – it’s not the highest form of engagement, but every little counts. I view ‘likes’ as a little “hey! I see you & I’m showing my support in a small way” — it’s a way of showing your appreciation for the person who posted the photo.
Comments are a bit of a step up from likes on our little engagement scale. When your people comment on your pictures, the Instagram algorithm takes note of that and assumes that those people want to see more of your content. Score!
On the flip side, taking the time to comment on someone else’s content is a great way of showing your appreciation for them and what they’re posting about. This will also help you develop relationships with those users, and if you find that you connect, they’ll likely reciprocate and begin commenting on your posts, too.
“Saves are basically like super-likes!!!!” — every Instagram “expert” ever
Um, no. They really aren’t.
A few months ago, this notion absolutely took over my entire Instagram feed. People simply decided that saves were the #1 thing to prioritize on the app, and they started referring to ‘saves as the new likes’ and ‘saves as super-likes’ which is flat-out untrue.
Saves are simply another way to determine how much people value your content. By looking at how many saves a certain post gets, you’re able to see how much of your audience wants to refer back to that information – and you can use that data to help you plan your content (hint: using my FREE content calendar template!) – but beyond that, saves are just another button on the app.
Shares, in my opinion, are one of the highest forms of flattery. I mean, how awesome is it that someone thought your content was worthy of being shared on their story, for all of their followers to see?! I don’t know about you, but when someone shares a post of mine, I automatically feel honored. And Instagram thinks so, too — when your post is shared with others, the algorithm notes that users are enjoying your content.
Sharing others’ content also helps you increase engagement through relationship-building, just like comments do. Make sure you always tag whoever you’re sharing from, so they get a notification in their DM! You can then use this to foster a connection with that person — and they may end up becoming a friend (or client)!
I hope you liked this mini version of social media myth busters! What other myths should I debunk?! Let me know in the comments — and don’t forget to SAVE this post on Pinterest for later!
Oh, and before you go… I have a fun tool for you that’ll make your Instagram content planning a whole lot easier. Download my FREE content calendar here!