Engagement Rate vs Followers: What matters the most?

Engagement Rate vs Followers: What matters the most? 1024 683 admin

Have you ever wondered what matters the most among engagement rate vs followers? You’ve likely come across Instagram accounts with thousands of followers. However, it’s not unusual to observe that their posts often garner less than ten likes, comments, saves, or shares. Doesn’t the account’s follower count seem questionable?

As an influencer, do you have a follower trap?

Avoid the Follower Trap

Follower Trap” refers to social media accounts where a mismatch of high follower numbers with low engagement rates exists. This situation occurs for many reasons. These reasons can range from non-active followers to “questionable” activities, such as accounts purchasing thousands of fake followers.

Many believe the follower count metric makes an Instagram account look successful, but not so.  To understand its value, you should compare the follower count with an important sister metric. This metric heavily takes into account Instagram’s algorithm—the engagement rate, or ER.

What’s an influencer’s main purpose?

Essentially, influencers build quality followers who can be “monetized.”  That means brands will hire influencers to promote and sell their products, services and image to their followers as they are potential customers.

Many industry studies stress that the best approach to building a strong, loyal following requires influencers to create and curate content that resonates with their unique fans and followers. This remains valid even if the content receives payment, as long as they present it in a way that aligns with audience expectations and provides enjoyment and reliability. Examples of this approach encompass live product reviews and influencers sharing their ideas on how to use the product.

If this content is likable, the post is likely to have a reasonable engagement amount and followers would likely amplify the content further, by reposting, sharing, or even inviting their friends and family to follow the influencer’s account, thereby increasing the fan base. These newbie followers are likely to interact with the content positively and also refer on… and the cycle continues – success!

Welcome to Instagram engagement metrics where the right numbers can determine the true value of influencers and their audiences.

Why should we keep talking about engagement rates?

Influencers are a bridge between brands and their target audiences, so an influencer’s brand relevance is important. Instagram’s ER measures how well content is performing and generates an indication of positive or negative perceptions by followers, say by the comments left or the emojis used.  ERs ultimately help price an influencer’s worth to the brand and their followers’ value uses engagement rates versus the number of follower accounts as an indication.

How do you measure Engagement Rates?

ERs can be calculated in two common ways, depending on who is measuring:

  • Brands’ Engagement rate by reach = (Likes + Comments)/Reach x 100
  • Influencers’ Engagement rate by audience = (Likes + Comments) / Followers x 100

Plenty of paid platforms that do the math for you quickly and accurately such as IQ Hashtags. 

An influencer’s engagement rate should be continuously improved. It might sound unfair, but for a brand, it may be far better to have a small engaged audience size versus a huge number of followers who will not view, or interact, thereby driving down ER, lower influencer’s value to brands and negatively impact future collaborations. Success benchmarks are also different for each platform –  Instagram is 23% more popular and engaging than Facebook – so different strategies should be tested and the better ones continue to be improved.

What is the average engagement rate?

  • Instagram’s average engagement rate is ~1.22%, (source: Dailypurpose.com) but varies by different factors like industry, product, brand popularity
  • A good engagement rate on Instagram ranges from 3% to 5% 
  • Referencing the graph, there is an inverse relationship between the number of followers and the engagement rate which means nano- and micro-influencers tend to be more effective than macro-influencers and celebrities

Why are accounts unfollowed?

Did you know that Instagram notifies accounts of new followers, but not for unfollows?  So, influencers have to carefully and frequently track changes to have a good understanding of how many followers they are losing daily, ideally the net of new and leaving should always be positive.

Often, unfollows are directly the result of poor-quality followers. For instance, numerous profiles follow a new account with the expectation of receiving a follow-up. If this reciprocal action doesn’t occur, they tend to eventually unfollow.

Also, if influencers purchase followers, then these fake profiles and bots, eventually may get closed. Instagram conducts regular profile reviews to verify their legitimacy and whether they are actively used; otherwise, they may be subject to closure. It’s not uncommon for thousands of followers to vanish overnight in such cases.

How to get followers hooked to your profile?


A large follower base doesn’t guarantee automatic high engagement for all new posts—this is a misconception. The key is to align content to audiences’ interests and avoid situations that result in low engagement. Below are the reasons which may be the root cause of unfollowing:

  • Followers are not interested or even ignoring the account due to poor and non-relevant content
  • Content is infrequently posted so followers lose interest
  • Audiences are not connecting with the visuals.

Influencers have many challenges – time, skills, creativity – to create great content and also maintain a quality follower base.  When done effectively, Instagram can enhance organic follower numbers by leveraging its algorithms. These algorithms reference high-engagement content and recommend the account to new audiences with profiles similar to existing followers. As a result, maintaining the right audience and content on your profile is crucial for staying relevant and meaningful.

How to create engaging content?

You can search and read thousands of articles on how to create the right content on Instagram, which focus on your niche. So, if you’re a travel blogger, consider content that your audience may like, such as covering the places you visit and documenting the entire journey, from planning to execution. In the following section, we’ll outline the top five ways you should master the art of creating engaging content, with added examples for a travel blogger.

  1. TEACH SKILLS – share topics about your niche, like how-tos, tutorials, tips and tricks. Examples: how to plan a trip to Peru, tricks to finding the best flight discounts, how to find hotel sponsors, etc.
  2. INTERACT FREQUENTLY – respond to as many followers as possible, including comments on posts, or even host live sessions, a popular trend. Examples: Answer questions on any videos posted, or places recently traveled or answer questions on recent trips.
  3. SHARE BTS – create frequent behind-the-scenes stories, which can be unedited and in a raw version, as no one will mind being on-the-go! Example: experience parts of the trip like viewing scenery while on a bus to another city
  4. GET FEEDBACK – run fun polls and questions to know about your audience. Example: where should they next travel, their preferred content type to their favorite country
  5. INCENTIVIZE ACTION – offer giveaways and lucky draws. Example: tag and then invite three friends to follow their page for a chance to win a giveaway, which could include food coupons or a sponsored gift like a passport cover set by a leather company.

Engage with Walee!

Among engagement rate vs followers, engagement rate help influencers get selected by brands as social advocates for their niches. If you’re an influencer, or a business looking for influencers for your next marketing campaign, you’re in the right place. 

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