For some reason, several other Instagram marketers that I have come in contact with over the years have ridiculed me for expecting such an “unrealistically” high engagement rate. I was often being told that it simply isn’t obtainable once you reach a certain amount of followers. Over and over in my head, I would read forum posts and see things like “10% is too high – 5% is a more realistic goal!” While I do believe that engagement rates naturally decrease as you grow, I hold firm in the ideology that 10%+ engagement rates are obtainable even when you surpass a million followers. There are plenty accounts out there to prove my point, but there are two I’d like to individually address.

Zayn Malik, a popular musician, has the 61st largest Instagram account in the world, and he still manages to captivate his fans. He currently holds a 10% engagement rate on some of his more popular pictures. Zayn currently has 17+ million followers, and he has several posts that get close to 2 million followers.

Melanie Martinez, another popular musician, currently has 3+ million followers. She currently holds a 15% engagement rate on some of her more popular pictures. Some of her larger posts go well over 500,000 likes, and her account is littered with adoring comments.

So, why do these accounts have such high engagement rates? It’s simple – their content is good, and their fans love them.

They don’t have special engagement apps.

They sure as hell aren’t in any engagement groups.

They aren’t buying fake followers.

They aren’t even using hashtags.

They’re talented people who make content that people double-tap. You can’t fake that. There is no secret. There is no formula. There is no algorithm tweaking. That’s just the cold reality that so many people try to deny. “Fake it until you make it” is not the strategy you want to have in mind when you are trying to be the best at Instagram; in fact, that ideology in general is not going to give you the best results in life. You make it or you don’t. At some point, whatever you try to fake is going to end up biting you in the ass.

Those fake followers you purchased are eventually going to be deleted. They will drastically lower your engagement rate. Buyers notice that.

Those fake likes you bought are not improving your credibility or reach. Before you know it, you’ll have 10,000 likes and only 2 comments.

Those fake comments you bought don’t look real to anyone. Who are those fooling?

People see this. Consumers are getting smarter. You either have it, or you don’t. The people who are looking at what you’re selling in your bio link – they see it. The people who want to buy shout-outs from you – they see it. Your efforts are going to be compensated accordingly in the end.
Moral of the story:

Content sucks? Don’t fake that. Fix it.
Followers suck? Don’t fake that. Fix it.
Engagement sucks? Don’t fake that. Fix it.
At the end of the day, you can’t fake it.

Work on creating better content.
Work on attracting better followers.
Work on creating content that people double-tap.
Work on creating content that people want to share with others.

This person gets it: