One of the most common questions we hear from our clients, especially the B2C ones is, “How can we increase our engagement rate on Instagram?”.

Instagram, in our opinion, is the most challenging platform for businesses because it relies so heavily on visual content which means time and investment into getting that content created. Not only that, the Instagram algorithm is constantly changing so keeping up with ins and outs of the platform can be time consuming in itself.

The good news is there are many ways to grow your Instagram presence depending on what your goals are and the type of content your audience wants to consume from you.

Firstly, it’s important to understand how your content is being ranked by Instagram. Yes, there is the normal Feed, but did you know Instagram is ranking you separately in other areas of the platform including Stories, Explore and Reels?

How your content is ranked on the Instagram Feed

Instagram uses ‘signals’ to help personalise your experience with the platform including:

  • Your activity. Posts you’ve liked, shared, saved or commented on, and the format of the post. For example, if you engage with more photos, Instagram will try and serve you more photos over anything else.
  • Information about the post. How popular a post is, as well as when it was posted and any other information that might be attached to it.
  • Information about the user who posted. This helps Instagram get a sense for how interesting the person might be for you..
  • Your interaction history with a user. This gives Instagram a sense of how interested you are in seeing posts from a particular account.

How your content is ranked on Instagram Stories

Aside from paid ads, Stories shows you content from the accounts you have chosen to follow. Stories are ranked based on the following signals:

  • Your viewing history. How often you view an account’s Stories so Instagram can prioritise the ones you don’t want to miss.
  • Your activity. How often you are engaging with an account’s Stories. This can be from likes or replies.
  • Your closeness to the publisher. How close you are to the person who has posted the Story based on your general interactions on the platform.

How your content is ranked on Instagram Explore

The Explore section exists to help you discover new content. Instagram predicts how likely you are to engage with a post by looking at:

  • Information about the post. The overall popularity of the post and how quickly users are liking, commenting, sharing or saving.
  • Your activity in the Explore section. Looking back at posts you’ve liked, commented on, shared or saved within the Explore section.
  • Your history of interacting with the account that has posted. In some cases you will have never seen or heard of the user that has posted, but if you have had an interaction, it gives Instagram a sense of how interested you might be in their content.
  • Information about the account that posted. Looking at how many times other users have interacted with that account in the past few weeks to help find you more compelling content.

How your content is ranked on Instagram Reels

Like Explore, Reels is designed to help you find new things, with an emphasis on entertainment. (We stress the word entertainment!). Most of the content in Reels is from accounts you don’t follow and is determined by:

  • Your activity. Looking at other Reels you have engaged with recently.
  • Your history of interacting with the account that posted. Like Explore, you may never have seen or heard of the user that has posted, but if you have had an interaction, it gives Instagram a sense of how interested you might be in their videos.
  • Information about the Reel. Looking at the videos themselves such as the audio attached to it or the visuals.
  • Information about the account that posted. Again, this looks at the popularity of the account.

You’ve probably noticed a common theme with each placement type and that’s the popularity of content. How can you make more engaging content to win the Instagram popularity contest?

  1. Make your content relatable and entertaining. Before you post something, ask yourself, “Would I share this with my own network?”
  2. Use Carousels! Carousels can have multiple opportunities of being seen and engaged with if your follower doesn’t scroll through all of the cards in the post. This is treated as “new” content. Winner, winner!
  3. Add a hook in the first 5 seconds of your Reel to keep people watching.
  4. Your reporting doesn’t lie. Use your Instagram insights to see what content is working with your audience.

How many Reels should you be posting?

We are always encouraging our clients to share more video content on Instagram because it’s what gets favoured most by the algorithm, but in reality, it’s something that needs to be done on a very consistent basis in order to see growth. Looking at Instagram Creators with the largest growth rates, on average, they post 10 or more Reels per month.

Consistency is key with Instagram. If 10 Reels is unachievable for you – it’s OK if it isn’t because we can’t achieve it either 🤷‍♀️ – then find out what works best for you. Look at your insights to determine what content is getting most traction. Carousels can be much more manageable, and sometimes even more insightful than a Reel.

Looking to create a new Instagram strategy, or refresh your existing one? Find out how Aston Digital can help.

More News, insights & opportunities

More News, insights & opportunities