Instagram is definitely one of the most popular social media apps of today, scrolling, tapping the heart button, adding hashtags, all of that has become a thing. However, now it seems that the engagements brands used to see on their Instagram business accounts have taken a drop for the worse.
More and more brands are moving towards Instagram and engaging more with the rising use of Stories as well as the social platform's shift into eCommerce. So, might this be a reason for the overall Instagram engagement drop?
Well, let's consider the following. Instagram had around 25 million active business accounts in late 2017, and since then, Instagram has not reported any official update to that number, but if you had to think about it, it is now significantly higher in numbers. So if you take all this into account, plus brands seeking attention in feeds, as well as engagement on their branded content, surely the overall has to decline?
Instagram has this term called 'Shadowban' which refers to users accounts getting blocked by moderators, and the worst part of it all is that you might not even know that it is happening to your account. Instagram is also cracking down on "bots" and services that automatically post, like and comment on your behalf. It is a good thing because it gets rid of spam, but there is a downside to it. Instagram has been penalising accounts who are not necessarily breaking any of these rules.
The penalising issue involves accounts' content being removed from the hashtag categorisation, and if you heavily rely on hashtags to reach your target audience, well this might be the biggest reason why you are seeing the vast drop in engagements.
According to Trust Insight, who is a marketing data and consulting firm, the overall engagement across Instagram is down and has been sharply declining since May 2019. They analysed over 1.4 million Instagram posts from the beginning of January to the middle of June. The key findings of the study show that as of mid-April, the maximum average engagement rate for the accounts included in the study was 1.54%, and the minimum engagement rate was 0.8% in June 2019.
It is not just business accounts that are suffering. Trust Insight also did a study on 150 influencers in one part of the fashion industry. The influencers went from a maximum of 4.3% engagement in mid-February to a minimum of 2.4% in June. That is a 44% decline in engagement for the same period of time.
The biggest concern is that we will most probably see the same trends as we did with Facebook. Facebook started out by giving brands plenty of organic reaches, and eventually, brands started to notice that the organic reach declined.
Some solutions you can take action on:
1. You might want to double-check each of your hashtags before you use them. So, if you search a hashtag and it does not have a "top posts" section, then it is likely banned from Instagram.
2. Instead of using bots or other auto-posting tools, go into Instagram directly to post content and engage with your followers. This is both a safer option from a 'Shadowban' standpoint and a better practice for creating a meaningful connection with your audience.
3. Do not use repeated hashtags. Apparently, repeating hashtags often can lead to your account being banned.
4. Keep your activity to a minimum. Due to Instagram banning the patterns of what bots do on your behalf, liking, commenting and following too many accounts in one session could get you banned. Instagram is trying to get rid of bots, so anything you do that is the same as these bots will end up looking spammy. Several sources state that 100 likes, 60 comments and 60 followers per hour are in the safe zone.
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Source: Social Media Today