The Biggest SECRET on Instagram you need to know for your brand right now
Do this one thing and everything on your Instagram will work better.
We’ve learned a lot from our clients. That and being on Instagram every day for many different brands yields powerful insights.
Few are more powerful than this one in 2019.
Engagement means more than you know. 👈Not the secret.
First, some context. Organic reach is on the decline across Instagram. IG no longer shows your posts to as many people as it used to. This has been getting worse since Instagram started showing ads.
The Problem: Passive Organic Reach on the Decline
Organic reach on Instagram is something we are very familiar with. We track active organic reach for all of our clients. Our activity organically reaching people and driving traffic to their Instagram businesses is active organic. We’re talking about passive organic reach here.
“Passive” organic reach is what the Instagram algorithm decides to show you. We call these displays. You post content, pick which hashtags to use and Instagram decides who to show your post to in their feed. That’s organic reach, specifically passive organic reach.
This is where our secret lies and why our secret is so powerful. It effectively fixes the problem of declining reach.
Passive organic reach is on the decline. Instagram is showing more ads and more ads mean less room for your posts to make it on your Followers news feeds and feeds of those who don’t follow you. Historically, this was coming. Facebook declined organic reach majorly a few times, starting in the early 2010’s.
Instagram has done the same in recent years. We started to see for many of our client’s that their engagement was down, even with our active organic reach strategy. Granted, they are still 2x-10x or higher than the average engagement rate, but engagement is down across the board.
The average engagement rate is down from 3% a year or so ago to around 1-1.5%. For context, Facebook is at .16% and Twitter is at .046%. Engagement rate is the rate at which people engage with your content. They have to see it to engage. The decline in organic reach has led to the lower engagement rates we are seeing.
The days of Instagram (or any social media channel) showing your posts to most of your Followers is gone.
But, the best thing about Instagram is that it is a simple and elegant platform. Posts are displayed in two major ways (IGTV being a distant third not taking off just yet). Posts are in your feed or in your Stories. This limits the number of posts you’ll see on Instagram. So, to keep you on Instagram, they need to maximize the effect of the posts they do show you organically. To keep you on Instagram, IG wants to show you more of what you want to see. It determines “what you want to see” with engagement. Engagement includes likes, comments, video views, shares, direct messages, story views, and any interaction with your Instagram and content.
So, this is the BIG secret.
You have to win engagement to make up for declining reach. This will boost the effectiveness of everything your business wants to accomplish on Instagram.
For businesses and brands, you have to post content at the start of your posting cycle so the rest of the posts are displayed for those who engage.
The BIG Secret 👇
The Solution: Win engagement to win more displays of the rest of your content.
If you aren’t getting engagement up front, Instagram isn’t going to display your posts to people who haven’t engaged.
So, if you’re depending on passive organic reach to show your posts to your followers, you’re only reaching a fraction of your potential. Instagram isn’t going to show your posts to most of your followers.
If you win engagement, Instagram will show your next few posts to ALL of those people engaged. This is in ADDITION to the accounts Instagram is going to show your posts to anyway, through passive organic reach.
Let’s do the math.
Instagram A and B both have 1,000 followers. So, Instagram is going to show their posts to around 32% of their followers. This figure is based on the size of their IG among other factors. Their posts are going to reach around 320 people. Both are on equal footing.
However, Instagram A only posts sales content (“buy this posts”) and their engagement is average at 1.5% This means 15 of their followers will see their next few posts in addition to the standard 320 they get from basic distribution. Their total is at 335.
Instagram B starts their posting cycle off with a post specifically designed to get engagement. This post gets 100 likes. We’ve got clients that do this easily with around 1,000 or so followers. We’ll show you their posts in a minute. Because IG shows your next few posts to people who have engaged, you’ve added 100 people to your future distribution. Remember, Instagram wants to show you more of what you want to see to keep you on IG. Instagram B ups their total distribution to 420 people for their next few posts. That’s an increase of around 25% distribution of their content.
So, if you want your offer post to win you more email sign-ups or your sales post to sell more stuff, you need to start by showing that content to as many people as possible. You do this by winning your displays through engagement on an previous post.
This doesn’t even account for the increase in exposure Instagram will give you because of your higher than average engagement. IG will show your content to people outside of your followers because of your increased engagement rate. The more engagement IG sees on a post or story, the more it will display that post for others to see outside of your audience. Top Posts and Top Hashtags are designed around this algorithm. Activating engagement is one of the biggest factors in making top posts.
The take away is that you have to win engagement to win better distribution of your content. You have to win it up front in your cycle. This is perfect for our clients who are in business to grow or branding with goals in mind. This secret tip will help them improve their strategy and get better results. You can put this into action on your IG and get the same benefits.
What does this look like?
Our recommended strategy is simple. We recommend a minimum posting cycle of once a week (four posts a month). Explore why we recommend this schedule instead of once every 3 hours like some experts have said recently or the basic once a day you’ve been heard for awhile on IG. Those posts include a branding, offer, sales, and testimonial post. Learn more about What to Post for Businesses and Brands here. If you want any of your posts to succeed, you have to win more displays first. This is why we’ve recently updated our article to start off the cycle with an engagement focused post.
So, if you’re just posting sales posts…”buy this thing”. You’re missing out on a lot of reach if those posts aren’t getting a lot of engagement.
How to use this secret to your advantage
Start your post cycle with a post specifically designed for engagement.
Meet @fetchthestyle. Fetch the Style is a playful brand for dog clothes and dog mom and dad stuff . They are just starting to build a powerful brand on IG with us, but they’ve already mastered this post for their niche. They are able to capture massive engagement and win the future displays of their other posts to boost their future posting. They get so many comments it is crazy!
Here is an example of what they post to win this massive engagement and so get more display views for their other posts.
They are doing an outstanding job of winning engagement and starting off their Instagram sales cycle strongly.