Instagram Users Are the Most Engaged Audience

See how your engagement rate stacks up against industry benchmarks

If you're neck-deep in analyzing 2023 successes and forecasting 2024 goals, this might help: The social media management tool Hootsuite has released its most up-to-date benchmarks for social engagement across 13 industries, including average engagement rates for nonprofits.

Anonymously compiled from accounts that use the platform, Hootsuite's September 2023 data shows that Instagram users are the most engaged with nonprofit content, at an average rate of 2.47% per post. LinkedIn engagement was also high for nonprofits (2.26%), followed by Facebook (1.61%), X/Twitter (1.18%), and TikTok (0.63%).

Only educational institutions had stronger engagement with Instagram audiences than nonprofits, which are outperforming retail, media, food, wellness, and travel/hospitality brands.

Basically, it's a good time to prioritize content that connects with your IG followers.

Season 2 Good Job GIF by The Office

To see how you stack up to the 2.47% rate for nonprofits, just total the number of engagements (likes, comments, shares, saves, etc.) on any single post, divide it by your total followers, and multiply by 100. Tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, and AgoraPulse can also easily report out your average over time.

If one of your goals is to improve your Instagram engagement in 2024, you'll want to create content specifically geared toward fostering interaction, deepening connection, providing value and delight, and involving your crowd. Here are three ideas to steal.

 Idea: Pick your combo
Built for: Generating comments

I've seen this type of post from media and lifestyle brands. The image is a grid of numbered or lettered options within three or four categories, from which you are meant to make one selection each. The caption asks followers to share their answers. For example, build your perfect fall weekendpick one of four outfits, activities, beverages, and songs to sum up your vibe. Another version I saw is about choosing a fantasy football team stacked with the leading ladies of Gilmore Girls, Vampire Diaries, and Suits. (Lane Kim is my pick for wide receiver.) It sounds really silly, but the comments roll in, and conservation brands can totally adapt this format.

For instance, what if you laid out options for getting more involved in conservation in 2024? Have users pick their:

  • issue (A-forest management, B-marine fisheries, C-big game migration, D-climate change)

  • research mode (1-sign up for email, 2-subscribe to magazine, 3-follow on social, 4-listen to podcast)

  • action (E-volunteer, F-sign petition, G-write letter, H-rally at capital)

  • and level of support (5-buy hat, 6-purchase membership, 7-donate once, 8-donate monthly)

Ask folks to build their game plan and put it in the comments, then engage with those who reply.

 Idea: Timely advice or explanation
✔ Built for: Generating saves and shares

These carousel posts should be the bread and butter of your education campaigns. One slide at a time, break down your brand's stance on or explanation of a timely issue or trending topic. You want to be brief and yet provide value above and beyond what you've seen about this topic elsewhere. These guides are posted to the feed and should be reposted in Stories, where users are tapping through at an alarming pace, so think hard about the hook on your cover slide. Stop people with an arresting question (I'd love to read something like, "The Current Farm Bill Has ExpiredNow What?") or high contrast design.

I actually think the best guides have no photos, only text on a colored background with nice iconography. Test to see what works for you.

 Idea: Weekly polls
Built for: Generating Story interaction

This one is really for brands that are already posting to Stories almost every day and not once in a blue moon. Stories is the place to engage regularly and in real time with Instagram users who already follow you. Compare this to Reels or the feed, which are more for discoverability, growth, and establishing a consistent archive of what you're aboutyour followers will see these posts, too, but not necessarily the same day they go live. So, if you're already showing up in Stories to share with your followers daily, commit to adding at least one poll per week to up the engagement. (And if you're exclusively promoting feed posts in Stories, you should DEFINITELY diversify.)

You don't have to overthink polls, either. Try an intro question like, "Any redfish fanatics out there?" to lead off a few slides about Gulf restoration. Photos can support in a "This or That?" poll, featuring two possible weekend hunting experiences, or use "Which is worse?" to rank two relatable pain points. Make sure to follow these with a link to some related archive content. You can even poll on information it would be useful for your team to know, like, "How often do you want emails about conservation news?"

Beyond raising your engagement rates, the more a user responds to your polls, the earlier you'll be listed in their Stories lineup, and the more likely they'll see what you post next time. Win-win.

Anyone else here doing the countdown to end of year? Mid-October is when deadlines start to feel DEADLY serious. 👻 Hope you're finding the time and space to plan for a realistic and manageable run up to the holiday season.

See you next time,

P.S. This is a great week to scan your calendar for time-sucking meetings you should decline and hands-on creative work blocks to schedule through the end of December. Here’s one method.

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