INSTAGRAM ENGAGEMENT RATE VS. FOLLOWER COUNT – WHAT MATTERS MORE?

INSTAGRAM ENGAGEMENT RATE VS. FOLLOWER COUNT – WHAT MATTERS MORE?

INSTAGRAM ENGAGEMENT RATE VS. FOLLOWER COUNT – WHAT MATTERS MORE? 1024 683 faizan

Have you come across Instagram accounts where the follower number is in the many thousands, but then posts have a relatively low number of engagements – likes, comments, saves, shares – on most posts, that number less than ten? Doesn’t the account’s follower count seem questionable?

As an influencer, do you have a follower trap?

Avoid the Follower Trap

Follower Trap” refers to social media accounts where a mismatch of high follower numbers with low engagement rates exists. This situation happens for many reasons, ranging from non-active followers to  “questionable” activities such as accounts buying fake followers in the thousands. 

Many believe the follower count metric makes an Instagram account look successful, but not so.  To understand its value, the follower count should be compared with an important sister metric that heavily takes into account Instagram’s algorithm –  the engagement rate, or ER.

But first, let’s get back to basics…

What’s an influencer’s main purpose?

Essentially, influencers build quality followers who can be “monetized.”  That means brands will hire influencers to promote and sell their products, services and image to their followers as they are potential customers.

Many industry studies say the best way to create a strong, loyal following is for influencers to create and curate content relatable to their unique fans and followers, even if it is paid, as long as it’s presented in a way they expect, enjoy and relate — such as live product reviews or sharing ideas on how the influencer would use the product.

If this content is likable, the post is likely to have a reasonable engagement amount and followers would likely amplify the content further, by reposting, sharing, or even inviting their friends and family to follow the influencer’s account, thereby increasing the fan base. These newbie followers are likely to interact with the content positively and also refer on… and the cycle continues – success!

Welcome to Instagram engagement metrics where the right numbers can determine the true value of influencers and their audiences.

Why should we keep talking about engagement rates?

Influencers are a bridge between brands and their target audiences, so an influencer’s brand relevance is important. Instagram’s ER measures how well content is performing and generates an indication of positive or negative perceptions by followers, say by the comments left or the emojis used.  ERs ultimately help price an influencer’s worth to the brand and their followers’ value uses engagement rates versus the number of follower accounts as an indication.

How do you measure Engagement Rates?

ERs can be calculated in two common ways, depending on who is measuring:

  • Brands’ Engagement rate by reach = (Likes + Comments)/Reach x 100
  • Influencers’ Engagement rate by audience = (Likes + Comments) / Followers x 100

Plenty of paid platforms that do the math for you quickly and accurately such as IQ Hashtags. 

An influencer’s engagement rate should be continuously improved. It might sound unfair, but for a brand, it may be far better to have a small engaged audience size versus a huge number of followers who will not view, or interact, thereby driving down ER, lower influencer’s value to brands and negatively impact future collaborations. Success benchmarks are also different for each platform –  Instagram is 23% more popular and engaging than Facebook – so different strategies should be tested and the better ones continue to be improved.

What is the average engagement rate?

  • Instagram’s average engagement rate is ~1.22%, (source: Dailypurpose.com) but varies by different factors like industry, product, brand popularity
  • A good engagement rate on Instagram ranges from 3% to 5% 
  • Referencing the graph, there is an inverse relationship between the number of followers and the engagement rate which means nano- and micro-influencers tend to be more effective than macro-influencers and celebrities

Why are accounts unfollowed?

Did you know that Instagram notifies accounts of new followers, but not for unfollows?  So, influencers have to carefully and frequently track changes to have a good understanding of how many followers they are losing daily, ideally the net of new and leaving should always be positive.

Often, unfollows are directly the result of poor quality followers. For example, many profiles who follow a new account in the hope that they will be followed back, and so if this does not happen, then they will eventually unfollow.  

Also, if influencers purchase followers, then these fake profiles and bots, eventually may get closed.  Instagram regularly reviews profiles to ensure they are valid and being used or will be closed – it’s not unheard of for thousands of followers to disappear overnight!

How to get followers hooked to your profile?

Two words –  AWESOME CONTENT.

We’ve concluded that a sizable follower base does not mean all new posts will automatically generate good engagement – this is simply not true! The key is to align content to audiences’ interests and avoid situations that result in low engagement. Below are the reasons which may be the root cause of unfollowing:

  • Followers are not interested or even ignoring the account due to poor and non-relevant content
  • Content is infrequently posted so followers lose interest
  • Audiences are not connecting with the visuals.

Influencers have many challenges – time, skills, creativity – to create great content and also maintain a quality follower base.  If done well, Instagram can also boost organic follower numbers by using its algorithms – referencing high engagement content, Instagram recommends the account to new audiences with similar profiles to their existing followers. Therefore, it is important to ensure the right type of audience and content is on your profile to stay relevant and meaningful.

You can search and read thousands of articles on how to create the right content on Instagram, focused on your niche.  So if you’re a travel blogger, content your audiences may like are the places visited and cover the entire journey, from planning to execution.  Here are the top five ways we feel you should master the art of creating engaging content, with added examples for a travel blogger.

  1. TEACH SKILLS – share topics about your niche, like how-tos, tutorials, tips and tricks. Examples: how to plan a trip to Peru, tricks to finding the best flight discounts, how to find hotel sponsors, etc.
  2. INTERACT FREQUENTLY – respond to as many followers as possible, including comments on posts, or even host live sessions, a popular trend. Examples: Answer questions on any videos posted, or places recently traveled or answer questions on recent trips.
  3. SHARE BTS – create frequent behind-the-scenes stories, which can be unedited and in a raw version, as no one will mind being on-the-go! Example: experience parts of the trip like viewing scenery while on a bus to another city
  4. GET FEEDBACK – run fun polls and questions to know about your audience. Example: where should they next travel, their preferred content type to their favorite country
  5. INCENTIVIZE ACTION – offer giveaways and lucky draws. Example: tag and then invite three friends to follow their page for a chance to win a giveaway, which could include food coupons, or a sponsored gift like a passport cover set by a leather company.

Engage with Walee!

High engagement rates will help influencers get selected by brands as social advocates for their niches. If you’re an influencer, or a business looking for influencers for your next marketing campaign, you’re in the right place. 

Download and sign up to Walee now and become a part of Pakistan’s fastest-growing influencer marketing ecosystem!

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faizan

I am a travel lover and digital enthusiast who loves to share information related to digital marketing. Digital is my favorite flavor about a brand!

faizan