No, not that kind of engaged.

If you’ve done any research into social media and influencer marketing, “engagement” is always high on the list. While engagement can mean several things, let’s focus on engagement rates pertaining to how followers interact with an influencer’s Instagram content.

Engagement Defined

Social media engagement is the rate at which followers respond to someone’s online content. This can include the percentage of followers who are actively viewing your content and the level to which they interact with it by liking, commenting or sharing.

For marketers, high engagement rates are much more valuable than the number of followers you have as they are better sales predictors. The idea behind this is that if someone won’t even go as far as liking your post (and thus engaging), they likely won’t be going to your website and buying your product.

Engagement rates aren’t the easiest thing to evaluate though. What’s considered a good or bad engagement rate and how is it measured? Good question. While there are varying ways to calculate your engagement rate, it is most often determined by estimating the average percentage of likes in relation to the number of followers you have. Comments, link clicks, shares and views can also be taken into account for a more thorough estimate.

Reverse Correlation

The interesting thing about engagement rates is that, ironically, the higher reach an influencer has the lower the engagement typically is. Smaller influencers may have less followers but not necessarily less influence. What “boutique influencers” lack in followers, they make up for in engagement. This is because they typically have a more concentrated content focus. This more specific and niche following means that more people are there because they actually care about the subject matter. Whether its fitness, fashion, health or other, having a more interested following will translate into a higher engagement.

Having a smaller following also means there is a higher possibility for a give-and-take relationship. Influencers being in touch with their followings by personally responding to comments or returning likes creates higher brand loyalty and contributes to a stronger brand overall. These types of influencers are seen as being more trustworthy and authentic than their bigger-time counterparts. This type of loyalty is invaluable to brands looking for influencers to collaborate with.

The Numbers

Numbers are lame so skip through this if you don’t care to calculate your rate.

While there’s no perfect score when it comes to engagement rates, there are certainly numbers to strive for. An engagement rate of about 4% is ideal for influencers with 1-10k followers. This 4% is found by dividing the number of likes per post by the total number of followers you have. Multiply that by 100 to get the percentage #math #backtoschool. For influencers with reach between 10-50k, an engagement rate of 2.45% is good. For anyone with over 100k followers, a solid engagement rate is 2.15%. Again, you can see that as the follower count goes up, the engagement rate falls.

Now, this will only give you the engagement rate of one single photo. To find your general engagement rate across an entire platform, you’ll need to calculate this per photo and then average THAT out. FYI, there are companies that offer this service and will do it for you cause like, who has time for that?

If you’re wondering how you compare to the rest of Instagram, the average rate is 2.7% and the highest performing profile is at 17.8%.

Boosting Your Rate

If you’re finding that your engagement rate is subpar, don’t start deleting your dormant followers just yet. A valuable step to take is to look back at your last 15-20 posts to see which ones did well. Your engagement rate may be low because you’re posting content your followers don’t always like. Take note of what type of content did well and try to replicate that going forward. Once you start posting the content that your followers respond best to, a better engagement rate will follow. High engagement can also come from good photo quality, great captions, and timely scheduling.


Finding influencers with a ton of followers is just about as easy as finding e.Coli at Chipotle (and that’s pretty easy). What’s tough to find (and therefore super valuable) is an influencer with actual influence. For this reason, influencers should be focusing on the quality and engagement of their followers rather than the number.