Understanding Engagement

Instagram -

Understanding Engagement

Simply put, you want your followers to want to follow you.

The thought of putting in the work to grow a solid following is intimidating. Trust me, I know. I’m a web designer – not a social media strategist, not a marketer.

Everything I know about social media and gaining followers, I’ve learned from experience over the years with the various Instagram accounts I’ve run for school projects and fun. I’ve bought followers, I’ve followed #follow4follow accounts, I’ve run pricey ads, I’ve aggressively followed and unfollowed people that didn’t follow back – I’ve pretty much done it all.

The first step to growing your following is understanding engagement and why it’s so important. You can have all of the followers in the world – but if your engagement is lacking, what’s the point? You want your followers to be interested in the things you’re sharing.

Follower Engagement

What does this actually mean? Instagram engagement isn’t just how many likes you get. It’s also how many people comment, watch your stories and IGTV, share/repost your posts with their followers, and genuinely love what you’re putting out there.

Say it with me – engagement is the MOST important piece of growing your following.

Anyone can buy followers and seem like a big deal. But real people engaging with your content is what will make or break the success of your account.

Here’s a little cheat sheet on how to calculate your average engagement rate (using likes):

Now let’s use Pinultimate’s account as an example:

Average Engagement Rates (Likes):

  • Under 1,000 Followers:  8.03%
  • 1,000-10,000 Followers:  4.04%
  • 10,000-100,000 Followers:  2.37%
  • 100,000-1M Followers:  1.78%
  • Over 10M Followers:  1.66%

Using this formula, you can see that our average engagement rate is 5.08%, above average for the number of followers we have.

More Engagement = More Sales

All judgment aside, let’s talk about sales. Whether you’re a business promoting your products or an influencer promoting someone else’s products, you want your followers to buy something. How do you get people to buy something? Trust.

How can you expect someone to buy something from you if they don’t trust you?

If you have 500 followers and get an average of 100 likes on your posts, that’s pretty impressive. If you have 50,000 followers and you get an average of 100 likes on your posts, what kind of impression does that leave?

When you’re growing your following, you’re building a community. Supportive comments on your posts not only bump your engagement rate up – they help give other potential followers and customers a reason to trust you.


When you’re passionate about what you’re putting out there, it really does feed your self-esteem to have actual people rooting for you.

Think of the dopamine you get from someone liking your post. Now imagine having thousands of people anxiously awaiting your next post – having a huge group of people to cheer you on and tell you that your business is awesome. Wow.

I could talk about engagement all day, but I won’t. In sum, engagement matters. Don’t just preach to an empty room – give your followers a reason to want to follow you and soon enough, your account will prosper.