Why Manual Engagement on Instagram is Necessary

January 1, 2020

What manual engagement is, what it does, and how to do it 

With everything you’ve heard from us about how content is king, good content is the only content you need, authentic content is the best, content this and content that – the reality of the situation is this: your content is worthless if no one can see it. With the Instagram algorithm being the way that it is, the only way more people see your content is if you are practicing manual engagement with users as much as possible.

No engagement on your part = no engagement on their part = no one to see the content you’ve worked so hard to schedule, edit, and produce. We’ve touched on this subject in previous blogs before, but we decided it deserved a blog of its own. 

Grab a snack, grab a notebook and pen, and sit tight. Engagement 101 has started. 



We’re going to pretend for a minute like no one reading this blog has any idea what engagement rate is, how to obtain it, or what it measures. Engagement is, like the word means, when you engage with your consumers and followers online, and vice versa. It’s essentially a digital media representation of good customer service and PR combined. Engagement rate is how often your consumers and followers are actively commenting, liking, sharing, and dm’ing your online social platforms. A high engagement rate is what everyone is after – it means people are interested in your brand, they like your brand, and you’re doing something right. But this is only after people see your content and interact with it. So, how do you make that leap from someone just seeing your content to someone engaging with it? 



We’ve said it once but we’ll keep saying it until everyone around us is sick of hearing it. The modern generation (Millennials and Gen Z) are attracted to and look for authentic, human brands. The more they find a brand that seems human and authentic online, the more likely they’re going to want to engage. More engagement means more exposure. People like to feel or know that there is someone on the other end of the screen responding to them, that their comment or suggestion or love is appreciated. 



You aren’t a digital telemarketer. You shouldn’t give the same comment and response to every consumer and follower. Generic responses like “nice pic” or “cool” on a followers profile won’t give you the engagement you want, and actually probably won’t give you any engagement at all- neither will liking a bunch of pictures. 

If you do, you’re communicating a disinterest in the feelings and interests of your consumer or potential consumer, and that they are not worth your genuine time and attention. So why should they give theirs to you? 

Modern engagement, as we like to call it, requires genuine responses to as many comments as you can give on as much content that is relevant to bringing users back to your brand. It’s a situation of quality over quantity, with as much quality as you can give (sorry for the tongue twister). If you’re still unsure, this is a handy video that talks about the $1.80 method. It’s all about strategic, manual engagement – something we practice and stress for our clients to be implementing.

However, we understand that some companies find this daunting. You don’t always have the time and energy to respond manually to every single comment out there or to comment on relevant posts you’re seeking (which is why we also recommend outsourcing your social team, whose job it is to create authentic engagement). But you should be doing it as much as possible. 



With Instagram having cracked down on third party bots, engagement rate has become the method to measure success of a brand’s online presence. Instagram is constantly updating the platform so it stays as organic as possible, so marketer’s are forced to create and foster organic conversations in the comments and DM’s. The more this happens, the more Instagram will reward you by broadcasting your content to a wider audience. You’re the talent and Instagram is the agency – you just have to do your part well. 


Long story short – engagement is no longer a second thought. It has to be a first – but you also need to STILL be publishing quality content. It can be tricky to balance this on top of everything else, so be sure to seek a professional if capacity for manual engagement is an issue.

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