Followers and engagement

What to Do When Instagram Engagement Drops

  • 8 Minutes
Seen a drop in engagement? You're not alone.

Have you noticed an engagement drop recently on your Instagram account? 

You’re not alone. According to a 2021 report, Instagram engagement rates dropped by 25%. 

If you’re wondering what caused this decline and what you need to do, we’re here to help. You won’t find generic advice like ‘be consistent’. Instead, we have some data-backed tips to help you get those engagement numbers back on track.

Let’s dive in. 

What is Instagram Engagement?

Let’s look at what Instagram engagement means and why it matters so much. 

Instagram engagement is a measurement of the interactions your content receives on Instagram. It shows you how people are reacting to your content. This includes likes, comments, shares, saves, DMs, interaction on Stories stickers, and so on. 

The algorithm wants to know how users interact with your content so that it reaches the right audience. A drop in engagement rate means that your content is less likely to be seen by your followers and reach new users. 

Here’s a simple formula to calculate your engagement rate:

Engagement Rate % = (Engagement/Follower count) x 100

Here, ‘engagement’ is the sum of all engagement including likes, comments, shares, and saves. 

Why does engagement matter on Instagram?

Tracking Instagram engagement for businesses is important because:

  • Calculating and tracking this will help you understand if your Instagram strategy is working or not.
  • Posts from accounts with more engagement are more likely to appear on people’s feeds. 

Why is your Instagram engagement dropping?

There are three main reasons why your Instagram engagement drops:

  1. Instagram Reels
  2. Suggested content in the Home feed
  3. Spam followers   

Instagram Reels

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Instagram’s algorithm favors Reels. 

More engagement for Reel content means less engagement for other forms of Instagram content. So, focus on short-form video content. More on that later.

Suggested content in the home feed

Traditionally, the home feed only showed content from the accounts that the user follows. Now, Instagram puts more suggested content in the main home feed. This can also be a reason for a decline in engagement rates: your posts may not get as much exposure as they did before. 

Spam followers

Your followers impact engagement. A rise in spam accounts or inactive followers can be a reason.

6 Things to do when your Instagram engagement declines

Engagement rates drop due to many reasons. So it’s best to try and find out what caused the drop and come up with a strategy. Here’s how: 

1. Do an audit

The first step is to do a complete audit of your Instagram account and content.  

  • Check your followers: Spam followers may have made their way into your follower list. Manually remove such accounts from your follower list. Having a lot of inactive followers can also impact engagement rates. Weed out such accounts from your follower list occasionally.
  • Hashtags: Do an audit of the hashtags you use. Not all hashtags work. Make sure you are not using any banned hashtags. This can put your account at the risk of being blocked! Only use niche-specific hashtags. Also, don’t use the same set of hashtags for every post.
  • Content audit: Find out which content pieces bring you lesser engagement. This will help you create a content strategy for Instagram.

2. Share more Instagram reels

If you posted more carousel posts in the past, it’s time to pivot your content strategy.

91% of active IG users watch videos weekly. Instagram reels help your account reach a whole new set of audiences who are interested in your content. It also generates more engagement than traditional Instagram videos. So, if you’re a brand looking to grow on Instagram, you better hop onto this bandwagon, if you haven’t already.

Creating reels might seem a bit overwhelming. Here are a few simple ideas to get you started. 

  • Repurpose top-performing posts into a reel
  • Shoot your work process and use a trending audio
  • Hop onto a trend 
  • A video of your latest products

Explore popular reels content and take inspiration from what other creators or businesses are doing. Here’s a guide on Instagram reels for beginners

Note: Make sure that the reels you create provide value to your audience and are shareable

3. Instagram SEO

A drop in your engagement might mean that the discoverability of your Instagram profile is lower. Users need to find your profile when they search for a keyword related to your account. For this, you need to optimize your profile for search.

Alt text: make your Instagram profile search friendly

You can do this by adding keywords within your profile: in your username, bio, and captions. New users, who are interested in your content, can find your account and thus boost engagement.

Also, there’s a higher chance for your posts to be featured on Instagram suggested content on the home feed. 

A strong Instagram SEO strategy will make your account more discoverable and increase engagement over time.

4. Make use of Instagram stories

Users love Instagram stories because of their strong storytelling characteristics. In fact, a study shows that 58% of Instagram users claim to have become more interested in a brand/product after seeing it in Stories.  

Creating content for Stories doesn’t need as much dedication as a feed post. You can come on camera and share your thoughts or post behind-the-scenes content:

Source: Instagram – officeworks <Alt text: Instagram story idea for engagement>

Make sure you post stories every day to get the most of this feature. During Instagram’s Creator Week in June 2021, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri suggested that posting 2 Stories per day is ideal for building a following on the app. Yes, that means even on a Sunday.

Don’t skip this tip because manually posting content every single day seems overwhelming. To make this job easier, you can use Sked Social to schedule and auto-post Instagram stories

Another advantage of Stories is that you can make them interactive with elements such as Instagram polls, questions, quizzes, and sliding scales. These invite your fans to engage with your content.

<Alt text: Interactive elements in Instagram story> Caption: Interactive elements in stories

It only takes a second for your audience to interact with the sticker: either voting on a poll or asking a question. All of those quick actions encourage interaction between your followers and your content, thus increasing engagement. 

5. Interact with your followers and be active

Social media is for being social. And it goes both ways: be an active user to get more engagement. Engage with your audience by responding to comments and replying to DMs. Here’s a tip to get more comments on a post: ask a question at the end of your caption or add a CTA. 

Interact with other similar accounts which have the same audience as yours. Leave meaningful comments on their posts and build an engaged community.

6. Post at the best time

The best time is when your audience is most active. 

This varies according to your audience’s behavior. But, generally speaking, workweeks are the best time to post as compared to weekends, according to Influencer Marketing Hub

You can find your optimal time by researching your audience, experimenting with different timings, and analyzing your posting schedule. Want to skip all these steps? Sked Social has a ‘Best Time to Post’ feature which takes all the hard work off your hands.

<Alt text: find the best time to post with sked social>

This tool uses followers’ activity times and other data to discover when your Instagram followers are most likely to engage with your content. 

It’s possible to beat the algorithm

The Instagram algorithm changes frequently over time and it might seem hard to keep up. But, by taking the right action at the right time, you can stay at the top of your game. Understand your audience and create your strategy accordingly. 

Try these tactics, review your engagement rate, and find out what’s working for you. 

To make things easier, you can take the help of an Instagram scheduling tool like Sked Social. With Sked, you can plan out your content calendar, track engagement, schedule your posts ahead of time, and more! Get started for free today.

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