Culture

Instagram reportedly let some influencers in on user engagement tips

Some influencers say the secret sauce for gaining more popularity and engagement is "unrealistic" while others appreciate the insider tips.

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User engagement is every influencer's lifeline. All tips and tricks are welcome. Especially if these tricks and tips are coming from Instagram itself. According to Business Insider, Instagram recently told several influencers how to increase user traffic and engagement with their posts.

Shared behind closed doors, these suggestions come down to a matter of math (number of posts) and timing (how many times posted per day and week). The three Instagram content creators Business Insider spoke to told it that recommendations included posting three in-feed posts every week (which also means IGTV and Reels). They should also try to post somewhere between eight to 10 Stories through the Instagram Story feature. Look, no one said full-time content was going to be easy.

On a daily basis, influencers should post Stories twice a day for engagement, Instagram reportedly advised. Reels should be posted four to seven a week and IGTV posts should be somewhere between one and three each week. The reactions to these recommendations ranged from incredulity to appreciation. One Instagram influencer said that she had to stop herself from laughing out loud at the amount of content required for more traffic, which sounds like a sensible reaction. Others echoed this sentiment, while some said the input was valuable.

Welcome to the influencer market — Love it or hate it, the influencer economy is very much alive. For years now, social media users have turned to Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, and other platforms to get cues about consumer trends, brands, and products through influencers' feeds. While the COVID-19 pandemic effectively sucked the popularity and appeal out of celebrities thanks to their tone-deaf posts, influencers — especially micro-influencers with follower numbers between 1,000 to 100,000 — gained attention and continued to find success.

Social media companies are clearly aware of the power of influencers too. They're a lucrative commodity for networks because they drive engagement and are often the first to get access to — and show off — new features. According to the influencer marketing agency, Mediakix, at least 17 percent of profiled brands invested a separate and detailed budget for influencer marketing last year alone. There is also a growing body of literature on how to be a successful influencer, such as The Influencer Economy: How to Launch, Share, and Thrive in the Digital Age, and talks right out of Google on the same topic.

Clicks beat ethics — Of course, giving select users tips is ethically problematic. Either share with all or none. But then, this is the same industry where influencers have been known to buy empty bags to pretend they've been given (or bought) designer products. The Federal Trade Commission isn't particularly fond of influencers either, as is obvious from its crackdown on influencer marketing tactics that fail to disclose advertising partnerships to audiences.

But despite the pushback, influencers continue to gain ground and fans, even in politics with the help of decidedly partisan influencers. It's not shocking then that Instagram sees how financially viable and socially impactful they are and lets them in on a tip or two. Their success is key to its success.