Likes, comments, and shares are the currency of social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: The higher an influencer’s engagement rates are, the more valuable the influencer is for brands. Forms of engagement such as comments and likes show precisely what users love and what they do not. For companies and brands, engagement rates are an indicator of how successfully an influencer can promote products and whose followers are particularly interactive.

When publishing a post, the ultimate goal is to create a high engagement among the audience. Therefore, the actual posting is only the first step in the process. Encouraging the engagement of other users towards a content piece goes beyond simply putting content out there. Above that, different kinds of engagement are present in social networks, representing various stages of users’ commitment to a channel’s content. In the following, we will break down all forms of engagement that can be measured to evaluate the success of an influencer collaboration.

The term engagement describes the sum of all forms of users’ interactions with a post or a channel, including likes, comments, shares, reposts, and mentions. As described in more detail in a previous blogpost, there are different stages of commitment when it comes to engagement. In general, the more commitment a form of engagement requires, the less it occurs.

Engagement Pyramid

Amount of various engagement forms in social networks © InfluencerDB

In the following, we will compare different forms of engagement across Instagram and Facebook.


Likes are the simplest form of engagement on social platforms. With a click on Facebook and a double click on Instagram, users can show their appreciation for a post. While Instagram only displays likes as a heart, Facebook launched its new feature Reactions in 2016 on a global level which allows users to choose from several post reactions next to the regular like button.

facebook reactions

Facebook Reactions

Likes and reactions are the most used form of post appreciation across every social network. Liking and reacting is applied easily and quickly – therefore, it is a very basic form of engagement that only needs a low level of commitment.

To illustrate likes and reactions, let us have a look at the channels of British blogger Victoria Magrath (@inthefrow). She has 759,269 followers on Instagram and 34,275 page likes on Facebook as of today.

A picture posted by Victoria a few weeks ago received 29,508 likes on Instagram, so almost 4% of her overall followers liked the post. This number describes the Like Follower Ratio of the posting, the mount of likes in relation to the follower number.

Instagram likes inthefrow

Instagram post likes

Regarding her Instagram channel, Victoria received 579,361 post likes altogether during the last four weeks, which equals 18,689 likes per post on average for that time period.

The same piece of content was posted on Facebook the same day and received 770 reactions, which equals 2.2% of her Facebook followers.

For this example, engagement in the form of likes on Facebook is significantly lower than on Instagram.

Facebook likes inthefrow

Facebook post reactions


Commenting on a post involves a much higher commitment than simply liking a post. The example of influencer Toni Mahfud (@tonimahfud) shows that the number of comments is significantly lower than the amount of likes. This applies for Instagram as well as for Facebook. Toni has 2,810,151 followers on Instagram and 1,068,490 page likes on Facebook as of today.

Of his Instagram followers, 285,410 people (10.2%) liked the picture displayed below, but only 3,753 followers (0.13%) commented on it.

Instagram post comments

Instagram post comments

During the last four weeks, Toni published six posts on Instagram and received 15,000 comments on these, which equals 2,500 comments per post on average.

On Facebook, the comment rate is even lower. Of his 1,068,490 Facebook page likers, 26,786 liked the said picture/ clicked on a reaction (2.5%), but only 254 left a comment (0.02%).

Similar to the example of @inthefrow, engagement, both likes and comments, is less frequent on Facebook compared to Instagram and comments appear less often than likes.

Facebook comments

Facebook post comments


Shares and reposts are basically one and the same: Users pick up a post of someone else and share this post to their own channel.

On Twitter, this concept is called retweet, on Facebook, it is known as share. Both platforms offer buttons that allow users to “copy” a piece of content to their own channel.

Facebook shares

Facebook shares

Instagram itself does not offer an own repost option but there are apps available that allow users to repost or regram content pieces nonetheless.

Instagram repost

Repost on Instagram via InstaRepost

Another way to repost content is by simply taking a screenshot of the original picture and posting it, mentioning the original publisher in the caption.

Instagram repost

Repost on Instagram via screenshot

Reposting or sharing offers benefits for both the original publisher and the person who shares the post. The user who originally posted the content is usually mentioned/ tagged in the repost. This way, users who do not follow the original publisher are made aware of his or her content and might be encouraged to start following that channel. Likewise, the user who reposts can pull the followers of the original publisher to his or her channel since those followers can see when the original publisher is tagged in a repost.

Photo tags

Example of photo tags of the influencer @fit_trio

But be aware that on Instagram, this concept only works if the original publisher is tagged in the picture and not if he or she is only mentioned in the caption. Only in the former case can the followers of the original publisher see that a post of that channel was reposted by someone else. Also, the tagged pictures are only visible in the Instagram app, not via web.

An important factor to keep in mind when reposting is that it is strictly forbidden to simply copy someone else’s content and pretending to own the picture. The share and retweet options on Facebook and Twitter automatically mark the original publisher in the repost. This can be removed when using repost apps for Instagram, though. The platform itself strictly speaks against infringing copyrights and states:

Share only photos and videos that you’ve taken or have the right to share. As always, you own the content you post on Instagram. Remember to post authentic content, and don’t post anything you’ve copied or collected from the Internet that you don’t have the right to post.


Mentions are tags of other users in one’s caption or in a comment. The tagged user is notified of being mentioned. Tags are a common way to increase attention on social platforms: Users and especially influencers call upon their followers to tag other users in the comments. Thus, those tagged users become aware of the content they are mentioned in and might start to follow the channel. This method is extremely popular for contests and can be an easy way for brands to gain new followers in this context.

gain new followers in this context.


By 2015, 53% of Instagram users, 50% of Twitter users and 44% of Facebook users followed brands on the social networks, a study found.

Comparing these platforms, engagement rates are highest on Instagram. The platform shows a ten times higher engagement than Facebook. Facebook and Twitter show rather low levels of engagement. As a platform that relies on visual content, engagement is higher for photos than videos on Instagram. Users seek inspiration on Instagram – a major benefit that leverages engagement to a higher extent than Facebook or Twitter do. Users seem to be more encouraged to engage with a post that is visually appealing rather than a simple text post.

The examples of @inthefrow and @tonimahfud mentioned above show that likes are the most common form of engagement while comments appear less frequently. Shares and mentions are used less often, but mentions or tags, in particular, can be used to raise attention and increase one’s follower group.


Published originally on InfluencerDB | Influencer Marketing For Professionals