Useful Tips and Best Practices for Writing Instagram Captions
By Michaela VoglSep 22
How has consumer behavior changed in 2022, and what does this mean for brands?
Published January 14th 2022
Engagement rate is one of the most convenient and helpful metrics to track on social media. Regardless of the size of your audience, engagement can tell you how much people are actually interacting with your content, and how effective your campaigns are.
Engagement provides context to vanity metrics such as follower count or impressions that might create a good feeling, but do not necessarily amount to a real business benefit for your company.
Measuring engagement is also highly useful when running a competitor analysis. By benchmarking yourself to the average engagement rate in your industry, you will know how successful your strategy is, and whether you need to make improvements or keep doing what you’re doing.
So how is engagement rate defined, and what can you do with it once you’ve measured it? Keep reading to find out!
Engagement rate is used as a measure of the number of interactions with your content. Depending on the social media network you’re looking at, engagement can be defined as a like, a share, a click, a retweet, a comment, and more.
It often makes sense to measure engagement in several ways. This will provide you with a fairly realistic picture of how much your audience is actually interacting with your content.
Here are some of the ways in which you can measure engagement:
Let’s look closely at each one of those.
You can start out by measuring the absolute performance of any given post you have on social media. This simply tells you how many people responded to your content and in what way.
It takes into account different types of interactions, and if you consider some more important than others, you can assign a different weight to each.
( Likes × X + Comments × Y + Shares × Z )
For example, you can use such a formula:
Likes × 1 + Comments × 2 + Shares × 1.5.
In this example, comments will count 2x as much as likes. Depending on the network you are using, you may change the formula to fit the network’s possible engagement types.
In all other formulas listed below, you can also use this weighted factor if you consider certain types of engagements as more important than others. For example, you may count shares as equal to two, if you consider them more important than comments.
Another way to measure engagement is by measuring it in relation to the total number of your followers.
The formula for calculating engagement by followers is:
Post engagement / Number of followers x 100
( Likes × X + Comments × Y + Shares × Z )/Number of followers × 100%
Measuring a post’s performance based on followers presents a more reliable picture because follower count is a more stable variable than post reach. Reach may fluctuate significantly, while followers’ numbers usually don’t change too drastically.
On the other hand, this excludes the possibility of accounting for posts that go viral in terms of reach, which is why you could also consider the next formula.
You should also take into consideration the fact that the more followers you have, the lower the engagement rate will be if you use this formula. In some cases, this can be confusing, especially if you have millions of followers. To normalize the engagement rate for such conditions, you can multiply the interaction by 10000. Basically,
(Interactions) * 10000 / Fans.
Another way to measure engagement rate is based on the reactions to a post in relation to the reach of the post. This provides you with a sense of the proportion of people who have seen your post in relation to those who have reacted.
Its downside is that reach fluctuates more — because of the number of shares, changes in algorithms, etc — and when it is inordinately high or low on a particular post, it will skew the engagement rate in different directions. A low reach will seem like a high engagement rate, and vice versa.
The formula for measuring this type of engagement rate is:
Post engagements / Post reach x 100
Yet another way to measure engagement rate is to consider the number of impressions generated by a post. This rate is also best taken in context with others because of the difference between reach and impressions.
While reach refers to the separate users a post has been seen by, impressions are about content showing up on a screen. So when one and the same user sees a post several times, this counts as separate impressions.
Engagement rate by impressions is measured in the following way:
Post engagements / Post impressions x 100
There are other ways in which engagement can be defined and measured, but these are some of the most popular ones. But looking at such numbers is useless without having a benchmark to compare yourself against. And to figure this out, you have to know what’s a good engagement rate.
A “good” engagement rate is a relative thing. It varies from one network to the next, as well as between industries. This is so because the networks develop, algorithms are constantly tinkered with, user engagement changes depending on how users can interact with content, and different audiences have different ways of using social media sites.
Ideally, you should consider creating your own benchmarks for what you consider a good, average, and bad engagement rate. Benchmarking yourself against your competitors and the industry is a better way of determining how you are performing than by referring to average rates for a social network. The latter may create unrealistic expectations of how you should be performing.
Once you’ve determined what your engagement rate is, and have a way of benchmarking yourself to your competitors, you will know how you’re performing on social media.
If you need to improve, there are ways in which you can turn your engagement rate insights into an actionable social media strategy.
While increasing engagement effectively varies from network to network, there are some general guidelines that are always applicable and will help you to convert customers. These include:
1. Understand your audience better.
Еngagement rate is strongly related to posting content that is relevant to your followers. If you’re seeing little engagement, revisit your buyer personas to see if you’re addressing their pain points effectively.
2. Adjust posting times for optimal impact.
Part of understanding your audience is also knowing when followers are online and active. Sometimes increasing engagement is simply a matter of picking a better time for your posts, so as to ride the wave.
3. Use multiple visuals.
Regardless of the network, rich visuals, images, and video are some of the most efficient ways to generate engagement. Images create stories that people can relate to. They’re also a great way to build your brand identity, which makes you more visible and easy to remember.
4. Encourage user-generated content (UGC).
UGC serves as social proof that adds legitimacy, which is an important factor in decision-making.
5. Answer user questions.
Responding to user questions is an effective way to engage with your followers. Starting a conversation will attract others who will either benefit from your response or pose their own questions. It also works in the direction of building brand loyalty and advocacy.
6. Make ample use of calls to action (CTAs).
Posting content that doesn’t prompt people to act is a missed opportunity. Using CTAs helps engage users in a conversation or some other form of action, rather than leaving them as passive recipients of content.
7. Mix your content.
Mixing your content guarantees that you don’t sound repetitive and predictable. Different users will relate to different content formats. Apart from mixing text, images, and videos, consider using a variety of these contents, such as surveys, live videos and Q&As, contests, giveaways, and more.
8. Run social ads.
Organic reach and engagement across social media networks are largely declining. Running ads helps you boost your engagement. It enables you to target the right audiences that are more likely to engage with your content.
Looking for more tips? See our guide on how to increase your Instagram engagement!
Your engagement rate is akin to the pulse of your social media page. It can tell you if your page is asleep, and few people pay attention to it, or if it’s wide awake and making some good noise. And social media is all about the right kind of noise, after all.
Boosting your engagement rate is much easier if you’re doing it in a concerted and planned way. Here’s where our social listening and social intelligence solutions can help you. By making use of the array of tools that we offer, you can keep your audience interested and convert leads into customers. Or if something seems off, you can easily spot it with the analytics features and change the course of your strategy. And, finally, you can do all of that from one and the same platform and interface.
Interested in seeing our solutions in action? Request a personalized demo, and let’s see what we can do for you!