Notice a sudden drop in Instagram engagement lately? You’re not alone. Accounts all over the platform are experiencing fewer likes due to recent algorithmic changes and a shifting content mix. In this post, we’re digging into the reason why this is happening and what you can do about it.
Why are you getting fewer likes on Instagram?
Here’s the deal. You may be covering all your bases– posting high-quality, interesting content consistently with engaging captions, all at times when your audience is paying attention according to your analytics. Sometimes, that’s not enough to keep your engagement up.
Video is a must
Instagram has been pretty clear on its video-first, photography always mantra, and for good reason– the data shows that video is performing best on the platform. People are trending toward engaging with video more than any other content format. If you aren’t posting Reels, you could be missing out on likes simply because your followers engage more with video than photos these days.
In most cases, Instagram introduces new features because they promote user engagement. After all, holding our attention is the platform’s money maker. When they release a new feature, don’t hesitate. Just use it. Play your cards right, and you’ll get a positive response from your audience and the algorithm.
Do Story Likes Impact Instagram Engagement?
Story Likes hit the platform this past Valentine's Day ❤️. Mosseri introduced this feature as another way for users to engage with creators without cluttering up the DMs. It actually makes a lot of sense when you think about Instagram’s main goals as a platform. They want the platform to be a place where users can interact with friends and family and consume creator content– ideally, one will not distract from the other.
Responding to creator Stories with a message clutters the DMs, which makes it harder for users to see messages from friends and family. The likes feature bypasses this by allowing users to show creators appreciation without clogging their DMs with yet another message.
There isn’t any info about Story likes as a ranking signal so far. We do know that Stories are ranked by who the viewer interacts with the most. The algorithm for Feed Posts is separate from that of Stories, though. Based on what we know so far, Stories likes shouldn’t impact your Feed engagement.
What About Shadowbanning?
Shadowbanning isn’t formally recognized by Instagram as something that actually happens. It does negatively impact engagement anecdotally, however. Regardless of whether or not the concept is legit, follow the best practices below to avoid the unnecessary engagement drop:
- No spam: Avoid spammy behavior like using blocked hashtags, liking a bunch of posts/following a bunch of accounts at a time, using bots, or buying followers/engagement. It does way more harm than good.
- Intentional hashtags: Be intentional with your hashtags. Stick to the ones you believe will be most effective (less competition, more relevancy).
- Engage authentically: Even using automated tools to engage with other users’ posts can negatively impact your engagement rates.
How to Boost Engagement on Instagram 2022
#1 Create High-Quality Content
Content standards are on the rise. Free editing tools + amazing smartphone video/photo quality means anyone can create high-quality content at home. If you post content that looks like it was filmed on a potato, expect your audience to be stingy with their likes.
#2 Post Reels
Can we say this enough, ever? Your audience loves Reels, the algorithm loves Reels, and they aren’t that hard to make. Take advantage.
#3 Use Relevant Hashtags
The days of commenting with every hashtag you can possibly think of are behind us. Work on your hashtag strategy. Only post what’s relevant to your specific piece of content. Every photo and video is unique. Posting the same hashtags every time without stopping to think about how to make it as easy as possible for new users to find your specific posts is a missed opportunity.
#4 Incorporate Memes
Memes are fun and relatable. They carry the relatable humor from Reels into the photo side of Instagram, which makes them super engaging.
#5 Engage Via Instagram Stories
There are so many ways for users to connect with you through your Stories. Take the features at your disposal (like link stickers, question boxes, polls, etc.) and use them to boost Story engagement. Even if Story engagement doesn’t directly impact your Feed engagement (we don’t know the answer to this yet), increasing Story engagement still strengthens relationships between you and your followers which increases the likelihood that they engage in the Feed.
#6 Add CTAs to Instagram Captions
Don’t be afraid to ask for engagement. A tactful CTA can go a long way.
#7 Prioritize “Savability”
Likes and comments aren’t the only forms of engagement on the Feed. If you create content that users want to share or revisit later, they’ll hit the Save button. Try cute graphics, informative videos, and funny Reels.
#8 Stay On Top of Analytics
Your analytics show you what content gets the best engagement, as well as when your audience is most likely to engage. This data is gold. Head to our ANALYZE feature and use it to inform your content strategy.
#9 Schedule Posts to Stay Consistent
The algorithm loves consistency. Post on a regular cadence and you’ll likely be rewarded with better engagement, among other boosted metrics. Pro tip: fill up your content calendar in PLANOLY and schedule posts to go live based on what days and times your audience is most likely to be online.
#10 Avoid Spammy Behavior
This probably goes without saying, but don’t give the algorithm the chance to hurt your metrics by partaking in spammy behavior.
As a parting note, remember this– likes aren’t everything. There are other forms of engagement. If they’re working well for you, keep doing what you’re doing. You got this!