Unlocking the Secret to Instagram Engagement with Memes

instagram insights Mar 14, 2016

There's nothing quite like memes to drive crazy engagement on Instagram, as we learned from delving into the Damn Daniel phenomenon that took Instagram (and all social platforms, for that matter) by storm a few weeks ago.

As the audience relates to the comedic irony of the content, it gives rise to chuckles, multiple friend tags follow, and virality ensues. Memes therefore make for a super legit Instagram strategy.


Using memes as part of your content mix on Instagram is a clever strategy that many brands are employing. The premise is simple: users double tap for the laugh factor, but also drive engagement rates through the roof by tagging their friends in the comments section. Combine that with post frequency, and that follower count has no other choice but to climb the charts.

ICYMI, Bustle is quite the gem in the space of Instagram accounts dedicated to memes. Publishing fresh and current content aimed at women, their highly engaging Insta feed is followed by big names like Chrissy Teigen, Betches and Cosmo. Yeah, whatevs.

🙌🙌🙌 #internationalwomensday (@swimsuitsforall)

A photo posted by Bustle (@bustle) on

Girl power, baby.

The average engagement rate for brands on Instagram generally falls at 1%, which makes Bustle’s current 2.6% kind of astronomical:

![And it’s only growing.](/content/images/2016/03/bustle-instagram-account-engagement-1.jpg)And it’s only growing.

If you're all wondering what engagement looks like for an account dedicated to one of the most attention-grabbing Insta strategies, keep reading because we're about to show you.

Comments and Likes

Bustle's content elicits crazy likes and comments, ensuring that their engagement rate remains on a continual high.

![Bustle received a total of ~535K likes over the past month.](/content/images/2016/03/Bustle-Instagram-total-likes-1.jpg)Bustle received a total of ~535K likes over the past month.
![Following a similar trend in peaks, Bustle received a total of ~69K comments over the past month.](/content/images/2016/03/Bustle-Instagram-total-comments-1.jpg)Following a similar trend in peaks, Bustle received a total of ~69K comments over the past month.

literally me

A photo posted by Bustle (@bustle) on

Bustle knows.

🍕 = true love (necklaces by @bunniesinla 🙌🙌🙌🙌)

A photo posted by Bustle (@bustle) on

I’ll take Pizza, please.

you did it!!!!!!!!!!!

A photo posted by Bustle (@bustle) on

Actually though. See you later snow.


While likes and comments are all fine and swell, when it comes to brand equity and exposure, it's all about earned content. When other Instagram users are sharing a piece of content to their feeds and tagging your brand, that's what makes audiences grow. And memes are very repurpose-worthy.

Reach 10M users through user generated content over the past month.

I'd like to thank my snooze button and all of my throw pillows. @bustle

A photo posted by BETCHES (@betches) on

That first thumbnail in their UGC? One of their memes repurposed by @betches, exposing @bustle to their 3.8M followers.

Bustle’s Top 5 Most Engaging Posts of All Time

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for... With engagement rates ranging from 4 to (a whopping) almost 8.76%, here are the photos that sent Bustle's numbers into the stratosphere.


💔💔💔 RIP #AlanRickman

A photo posted by Bustle (@bustle) on


Same (@feministvoice)

A photo posted by Bustle (@bustle) on


current status: blue Gatorade

A photo posted by Bustle (@bustle) on


Accurate (@jonnyfamous)

A photo posted by Bustle (@bustle) on


"a nap would be nice" (@_theblessedone)

A photo posted by Bustle (@bustle) on

For brands like Bustle, the secret lies in striking that balance with their original content, where it'll prompt users to both tag their friends in the comments as well as make their audience feel strongly about repurposing the memes onto their own accounts.

Lucky for Bustle, what they’re producing is a hot commodity for regular users and brands alike these days, qualifying their gallery as pretty much a slam dunk. Considering this in addition to their growing engagement rate, it’s safe to say that they’re well on their way.

Want to see insights like this for your Instagram account? Let’s chat.

Jenny Pratt

Vice President of Customer Success at Dash Hudson