What to do if your Instagram engagement drops

Brands and influencers are facing a dip in their Instagram posts’ engagement. Is there a solution?
4 July 2019

Is engagement dropping on the image-sharing platform? Source: Shutterstock

Instagram is now the preferred social media platform for many people around the world. As part of Facebook, it shares the same extensive user base, giving it an equally wide reach across the internet. It’s a visually-rich and tastefully-simple social media platform and appears to be much more appealing to millennials and young adults (with the elderly now slowly joining the fun).

However, Instagram’s declining engagement rate has been a hot topic on the digital marketing scene since the beginning of the year. A study by Trust Insights showed a gradual decline in Instagram’s brand engagement rate over the past six months. This decline did not just affect businesses, but influencers as well whom these companies rely on to boost their online presence.

What does this mean for businesses that advertise on Instagram? Being the most engaging platform to reach out to people, an Instagram engagement drop calls for a revamp in our current social media marketing strategy if we wish to see better results in the coming months.

Has Instagram changed anything?

Some users attribute the dip to an alleged algorithm change that now hides likes, followers and cracks down unsuitable content. The allegations also claim that Instagram is culling organic reach altogether to prioritize on monetization.

However, a spokesperson of Instagram debunked that allegation and claimed that the company never messed with the algorithm. The spokesperson explained that while Instagram uses “likes” to rank a post, other factors such as timeliness, interest and the bond with the person posting also play a crucial role in determining the post’s engagement. Quick glances and scroll-throughs do not count as “engagement” in Instagram’s metrics, and Instagram won’t rank it as a post that the target user would spend time on.

The comment by the spokesperson basically notes that it’s entirely on the users if the organic reach of their posts decline. But the spokesperson does acknowledge that they’ve put in place a new monetization feature that now allows brands to boost posts by their influencers. A great feature to be added, given that influencers are the driving force behind a brand’s social media presence.

What’s the workaround?

For companies that heavily market on Instagram, a drop in engagement means reduced presence in the news feed, which puts them on users’ blindspots. Rest assured, there are ways to work around this.

Some marketers are now opting to promote certain feed posts on Instagram stories as a way to give these posts prominence. The simple logic is this: if it’s upfront, you can’t miss it. Apart from that, some are actively sharing their posts on other platforms such as Blogger and Facebook to drive more web traffic into their Instagram page, while others opt to remove their paid ads on Instagram to boost the performance of their feed posts instead. These strategies have varied results as they strongly depend on the company’s target audience.

Improving the quality of the posts is also another way to go about it. If the target market rarely spends time reading lengthy captions, keep the captions short and straight. Visually, the best content on Instagram always shows amazing pictures with bold colors, breathtaking landscapes, and minimal designs. Consistently creating posts like these is also another way to a company can boost its engagement.

Another option is to utilize the new function that allows brands to boost posts by influencers. All the brand needs is permission by the influencer for the brand to boost their posts and this can be done in a flash by the influencers, as they only need to enable the option in the “settings” menu. Given that influencers have the power to convince and convert users to paying customers, this is certainly going to be a celebrated feature on Instagram.

The verdict

In digital and social advertising, the best way to improve posts’ engagement is to find creative ways to give it a presence boost. Social media users, no matter which platform they are on, are known to have a limited attention span. Capture their interest regularly in rich, engaging and creative ways to see the numbers increasing once again.