Instagram Still Rules Social Engagement (2019)

by | Apr 16, 2019 | business | 0 comments

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Introduction

Social engagement is becoming more essential to the survival of brands. The pervasiveness of social media, especially Instagram, is now driving how brands and companies engage with their audience.

As such, it is important to get a grasp of how Instagram is defining the landscape of social engagement. Here we will reveal the benefits of social engagement and the power of Instagram.

1. What Is Social Engagement?

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Essentially, social engagement is a conversation. According to CX Social, this conversation occurs in online communities or across social media platforms. Social media engagement allows businesses and brands to keep in contact with their customers.

When brands use social media engagement, customers spend 20% to 40% more money on that brand. Social media engagement bridges the gap between a brand’s interest and customer needs. Without it, brands might not be able to control the direction of their company’s message and online perception.

Social engagement is the key to shaping how potential customers see your brand or product. It is the perfect way to establish a strong message about your company. Not to mention, starting conversations with your customers allows them to build long-lasting relationships with your brand.

When it comes to your brand’s survival, trust and credibility is needed. Trust and credibility rely on long-lasting conversations and engagement with your customers.

Over the last few years, social media has become the dominant method for marketing and communication. As such, it is so important that brands establish a strong social engagement strategy.

2. How Do We Measure Social Engagement?

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Measuring your social engagement rate deals with analyzing interactions with your brand’s posts or content. However, social media engagement has more to it than just your number of followers.

Moz shares that there are five major engagement metrics. They are conversation rate, applause rate, amplification rate, economic value, and relative engagement rates.

The conversation rate measures audience comments and replies per post or the amount of conversations on a post. On Facebook or Instagram, it might be the number of comments on a post. On Twitter, it is the number of replies to a tweet.

The applause rate measures a post’s favorability with the audience. Facebook and Instagram has likes, Twitter has favorites, and Pinterest has repins. The applause rate measures the “likes” of a post.

The amplification rate measures the “reach” of a post. This means the number of times a post is shared between people. This could be retweeting or resharing content across mutliple platforms.

The economic value measures revenue gained from posts. However, the most complex metric to measure is relative engagement rates.

Relative engagement rates have to do with comparing engagement between different social media platforms. You will see this in action in the next section.

3. Instagram Has the Best Social Media Engagement Rates

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In 2015, there was a surprising fall in social media engagement. Forrester, a marketing research company, studied 3 million user interactions with branded posts across seven social platforms. Their research revealed that people do not engage with social content often.

The brands studied had a less than 0.1% engagement rate on six of the seven social platforms. In other words, the ratio of fans to reponses on branded posts were severely off.

On Facebook, for every 1 million fans, brands recorded only 700 likes, comments, and shares. Twitter saw even less. For every 1 million followers, brands saw only 300 responses.

However, Instagram’s social engagement rates towered miles above its counterparts.

Branded posts on Instagram had an engagement rate of 4.21%

Instagram was 58 times more engaging per follower than Facebook and 120 time more engaging than Twitter.

In practice, these numbers look even more impressive. On Facebook and Instagram, Red Bull shared a video of snowboarding on a half pipe.

Red Bull’s 43,000 Facebook fans liked the video 2,600 times. On Instagram, the video was liked over 36,000 times.

The numbers speak for themselves. Clearly, Instagram is vital to unlocking strong social engagement rates.

4. Why Is Instagram The Best Social Engagement Platform?

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The statistics clearly prove Instagram’s favorability. There is little doubt that Instagram is the best place to expand your brand reach. However, what makes Instagram more engaging than other platforms?

According to Forbes, Instagram rules for four reasons: mobility, visual nature, novelty, and functionality.

Instagram’s interface is built specifically for mobile use. You can edit and post images directly from your mobile device, giving it an attractive instantaneous feel. Moreover, its simple scrolling feature delivers new content to users at an efficient rate.

Human beings thrive on visual cues more than anything. In fact, images are processed 60,000 times faster than text. Moreover, 65% of people are more likely to recall information if presented with an image.

Instagram, by nature, is a visually-driven network. Its main form of communication is through images. As such, it is likely to attract and engage more people.

Compared to other platforms, Instagram has attracted and kept younger audiences. In turn, Instagram can outlast trend changes over the years.

Lastly, Instagram’s functionality is extremely flexible. Advertisers, professional businesses, and personal networks are all welcome on Instagram.

5. Monitor Your Engagement with Analytics Tools

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What also makes Instagram impressivet is that it has some of the best social media monitoring tools. In 2019, there is everything from engagement metrics to social listening.

Iconosquare is a great social media monitoring solution. This comprehensive tool can track your tag and filter usage, your growth history, source of engagment. You can even find out your post impacts and details about your followers.

If you want a simpler engagement analysis, Phlanx can do the job. Phlanx has an engagement calculator that can track the social engagement of any Instagram account, professional or private. Phlanx is extremely useful in determining fake followers and ensuring legitimiate engagement.

Finally, it would be remiss to overlook Instagram’s native analytics tools. Instagram Insights analyzes impressions, engagement, brand reach and more. You can even see your audience demographics to improve your communication with a target audience.

There are far more tools than what we have shared above. Considering how diverse the platform is, there are multiple tools at your disposable.

Ideally, the best social media monitoring tools look at followers, brand outreach, post reception and engagement. They should also have time saving analyses and profit regulation.

6. Instagram’s Algorithm-Based Feeds

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In 2018, Instagram announced they were changing their feeds from chronological order to algorithm-based feeds. Initially, this caused some upset and a 33% decrease in Instagram engagement. People were convinced the new algorithm was hiding content among other nefarious things.

However, that is not necessarily true. The algorithmic-based feed is actually geared towards encouraging engagement with content that is more relevant to users.

According to Later, Instagram feeds are not just about who you follow. It is also about who and what you like. Feeds are created based on a users’ behaviour and interaction with accounts.

For example, you and your friends might all follow the Kardashians. If you interact with their posts often, their posts will be at the top of your feed. If you do not, then their posts will be farther down in your feed.

The Instagram algorithm determines users’ content based on interests, timeliness and relationship.

The more you like an account’s posts, the more they will appear in your feed. Instagram also prioritizes recent posts and it will favor accounts that you have “relationships” with. If you are tagged or comment in photos with friends and family, Instagram prioritzes their posts for you.

7. What Does the Algorithm Mean for Brand Engagement?

The algorithm change for Instagram feeds clearly has a massive impact on users. But what about brands and influencers?

Besides the initial panic, the change does not necessarily reduce the amount of engagement. Curating and creating unique, valuable content is just more important. So long as a brand maintains engaging content, the algorithm should still strengthen their engagement.

However, this might not apply to small or newer businesses. Harvey Alarcon of M2M says that the algorithm rewards accounts that have always generated high enagament rates. Brands that are still new might have a harder time.

However, there are several methods that can strengthen your brand engagement.

8. How to Improve Instagram Engagement Rates in 2019?

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With over 800 million users, Instagram is the prime location for your branded content. However, it also means a greater competition pool. Consumers want to know what differentiates you from your competition and here is how to do it.

Establish a call to action. According to Digital Dealer, look for exciting, but simple ways to incite or direct action in your followers.

Secondly, hashtags are your friend. Hashtags are a great way to reach prospective followers. In turn, they will interact with your content and your social engagement may potentially improve.

Third, make an eye-catching caption. On Instagram, your photo alone should tell a story, but your caption can add dimension and depth.

On that note, make sure your visuals are interesting. Venggage states that almost 40% of people respond better to images than text. That being said, images will draw followers’ eyes first and should be appealing and engaging.

While Instagram is the most powerful platform right now, promote your content elsewhere. Try adding a link in your Instagram bio to articles or other content you have created. In this way, you encourage more brand visibility.

9. The Power of The Instagram Story Feature

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One Instagram feature that is a powerhouse social engagement tool is Instagram Story feature. Of the 800 million active users, 300 million of them are using Instagram Stories everyday. As such, here is another great avenue for engagement.

Instagram already makes it super easy to share relatable, personal content and build a following. We have already seen it is a great way for brands to build a personal relationship with its followers. Instagram stories bring this relationship to the next level.

Instagram stories are photos, text, or video that can be instantly shared but only last for 24 hours. This provides a new immediate way to communicate with your customers and increases engagement opportunities.

Their immediacy helps your audience feel like you are personally speaking to them. Moreover, the quick, temporary nature of Instagram stories make the experience almost exciting. It encourages people to watch and follow lest they miss out on valuable content.

Instagram stories are also extremely accessible. If you look at the Instagram interface, the story feature is placed right at the top of the page. As such, your audience is more than likely to see your content.

10. Are Instagram Hashtags Useful?

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Hashtags can be quite helpful…to a degree. In a marketing sense, hashtags help create a degree of personalization for your brand. When it comes to social engagement on Instagram, hashtags are useful for making your content discoverable.

With Instagram’s algorithm, users see content they interact with the most and that are related to them. A hashtag organizes your content so people can easily find it. Instagram even allows users to follow specific hashtags.

However, note that Instagram hashtags work in conjuction with the popularity of your account or content. As in, the effectiveness of a hashtag relates to high post engagement. If your content does not have high engagement, hashtags won’t put it at the top of the list.

This is why celebrities or popular brands might not use hashtags at all. Their popularity alone puts them at the forefont of everyone’s feed

Moreover, Instagram actually penalizes spam hashtags. It has a list of over 60,000 banned tags. So, if you accidentally use a banned hashtag, your content will not appear in people’s feeds.

Used well, however, hashtags can help you gain more visibility. In turn, your engagement has the potential to improve.

11. Get to Tagging on Instagram

Where hashtags categorize your content, tags connect your content with other people, brands, or events. On Instagram, you can tag through hastags, location tags, product tags and people tag.

We already explored how hashtags can help you above. Location tags are useful, especially if you are a traditional brick and mortar business. Also, brands can use location tags to find influencers and get a better sense of your audience.

When you tag influencers or people in your content, you gain more brand exposure. It helps if the person you tag has a hefty following. It means your content will show up in the Explore page of anyone who follows them.

According to Mention, tagging has higher engagement results than hashtags. And it makes sense.

Hashtags really only helps your content make it to the top of a feed. However, tagging literally involves people in your content.

It practically invites people to interact with you. Moreoever, it begs for a response, which is what you need for higher engagement rates.

It is an easy way way to gain free exposure.

12. Instagram’s Future in 2019

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It is evident that Instagram has proven itself a strong contender in social engagement and marketing. But what does its future look like? How will the plaform adapt?

Later talked to thirteen social media experts to get grasp of the future of Instagram. Here is what they shared about social engagement:

  1. IGTV will gain more visibility.
  2. As Instagram gets more business focused, analytics will grow and be more comprehensive.
  3. Instagram will be more engaging and interactive in 2019.
  4. Instagram will look for more valuable, authentic content.
  5. Influencers will try to be more personal and relevant.
  6. Instagram will try to improve user-to-user communication and messaging systems.

Conclusion

Now, you have seen that Instagram is more than a novelty piece of social media. It is no longer just a place for people under 30 to share pictures of their food or vacations. It is an active landscape for brands to interact, grow, and learn from their customers.

Instagram stands out because it opens avenues of communication with little effort. For big and small brands alike, Instagram means the difference of falling behind your competition or staying ahead.

I hope this article was informative and helped you see how Instagram could be benficial for social engagement. Feel free to ask us questions or provide any of your observations about Instagram!

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