If you feel your Instagram posts aren’t getting the attention you think they deserve, you’re probably right. Instagram has grown exponentially in these past few years, and with it, comes various algorithm changes. In fact, it’s rumored that only 10% of your followers actually see your posts on their feed.
This can be extremely frustrating for businesses trying to grow their profile, hoping to reach new customers. Since the algorithm is so vague, the only way to explain how to beat the algorithm is to share what we know about it. Then, we will describe various methods to get your content seen by your current followers and intrigue new followers. Read on for our top tips for leveraging the algorithm in your favor.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM
The Algorithm Records What You Care About
The algorithm is put into place to give users the best experience while using the app. It’s like a recipe used to determine what content each individual profile prefers to digest. Consequently, the algorithm tracks what you like, comment, and follow, and how you engage with other profiles to determine what types of content you want to see. In this way it tries to predict what you care about most so you will stay on the app longer.
The Algorithm Records How You Engage
If you comment, like, or tag the same people in your posts, the algorithm remembers which profiles you’ve engaged with. Thus, there is a higher chance you will be placed in the “close friends” category of those people. You must engage in commenting and liking your followers’ pages as well as answer direct messages (DMs) so your followers will see your posts!
The Algorithm Values Time
Instagram wants you to spend more time on the app. The longer a person is on, the more likely their feed will receive content in chronological order. On the other end, if a person rarely stays on the app, they will most likely see popular content or highlights from the day.
TWO FACTORS FOR BEATING THE INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM ON YOUR FEED
Now that we have demystified what we know about the algorithm, we can explain ways to maximize it in our favor. There are four main points that can be used to work around the algorithm that fall into two main categories: Engagement and Timing.
As we’ve previously explained, authentically engaging with followers is essential to building a following. By showing content users continuously comment on, the more likely they will continue to receive content like it. So how do you create content that people want to engage with?
Post Photos to Your Feed
It seems simple, but some accounts don’t post photos every day! Regular content gives your followers something to look forward to and even anticipate. It keeps your profile fresh and gives you multiple chances to be seen!
Post Videos When you Can
Videos are great for storytelling and keep users on your page. It can give more information about your product, service, or business that photos are too limited to do. For example, videos give an in-depth perspective of your business values so people feel a deeper connection to you. It doesn’t have to be expensive either! Posting a simple selfie video can be just as personal as a higher budget concept.
Reply to DMs and Comments
Don’t ignore your followers! When someone takes the time to send you a message, it’s usually for a good reason. Commenting is a way to interact with your audience that shows that you care and value their opinion. If you take the time to respond, people are more likely to associate that respect with your business and tell their friends about their great customer service. In contrast, they may be disgruntled by you not responding and could tell their friends about their negative experience, hurting your chances of gaining new followers. Treat people as if you’re having a conversation in person, rather than just behind a screen!
Color Grade Your Feed
Adding a color grade to your profile creates interest. Color grading can help followers recognize your page aesthetic and make them want to scroll through your profile and like multiple images. Remember, the longer they stay on your profile, the more likely you will be put into the content on their feed. New people who discover your page will also be intrigued by the overall “look” to your profile because it’s well thought out and has a “flow” that’s appealing and consistent.
Turn on Post Notifications
Engaging with your current followers is just as important as engaging with new followers. Turning on post notifications can help you stay up to date on the profiles that matter to your business the most. Since the algorithm makes it difficult to see new posts, you can receive alerts when someone likes, comments, or tags you in a post so you can give them attention.
Now that you post daily, and engage with your audience, timing is the second most important factor to beating the algorithm. You need time-sucking content that appeals to your audience so they spend more time on the app and especially your profile.
Get Creative with Video
With the creation of Instagram TV (IGTV), it’s no wonder Instagram is getting more creative with video. Instagram recently updated this feature to allow you to share one minute of video on your profile so followers can preview your content. If they want to continue watching the full-length video, they have the option to press the “Keep Watching” button. You don’t have to create exceptional videography to use the feature, but you should incorporate more content that shares behind-the-scenes, interesting facts, or how-to’s.
Put More Effort into Stories
Similar to using IGTV, you should be using the Story feature on your profile. It’s one of the easiest ways to get noticed by your followers. Whereas IGTV allows you to create full-length content, stories are short increments of content that can be uploaded throughout the day. Each “slide” typically lasts 10 seconds that can give quick information to your followers. Try using stories by incorporating polls, funny gifs, tips, or questions that keep your followers responding or viewing. You can also install swipe-up options to your store if you want to draw attention to certain promotions or deals you want your following to take action on. (We go more in-depth on story incorporation in the next section).
The Power of Hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to make your posts visible to your audience and outside individuals. They aid in content discovery by putting your post in various categories that pertain to your photo so people who are looking for similar content are more likely to come across your photo. It’s recommended to use up to 30 hashtags that relate to your post so you have multiple options to be seen.
Use Carousel Posts
Remember, we want people to spend more time on your content, so creating carousel posts can be beneficial to maintaining interest. Sharing a gallery of photos, a seamless panorama photo, or video keeps your followers interested for minutes at a time to explore your post.
BEAT THE INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM WITH STORIES
Now that we’ve boosted your profile feed, it’s important to really dive into how stories can boost your exposure to your audience.
1. Post Stories Daily
When you open the app, Instagram stories are at the top of your page and are typically the profiles you engage with most. They are also incorporated throughout your main newsfeed so that you don’t miss out on the content you want! Instagram accounts that post stories daily will continuously appear at the top of your followers’ accounts because they are profiles they tend to engage with most.
2. Use New Features
Always find new ways to make your stories interesting! The app continuously introduces new filters and tools to keep your profile fresh.
3. Give Users a Reason to Tap and Hold
When followers open an app, you are giving them a reason to spend more time on your stories. You shouldn’t put content simply for sharing content. Be thoughtful and tell a story with a clear purpose. Also try to incorporate ways to learn more about your audience such as polls, stickers, or swipe up options to give viewers a call to action.
4. Use Hashtags in Stories
Similar to using hashtags in your daily feed posts, using hashtags in stories can boost views to your profile. When you go to a specific hashtag page, you can explore new content that relates to your video.
ADDITIONAL WAYS TO BEAT THE INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM
We can’t stress enough the importance of connecting with people. Instagram is a social network, so you essentially have to be social to be seen. Be sure to comment, respond, and engage with your followers and new followers alike, and incorporate tagging users.
Read Up on Your Insights
How do you know you are giving quality content that your audience enjoys? You can actually view through your profile settings and look up insights that give you stats on the interactions people have made on your profile. You can view the number of profile visits, number of website clicks, the reach and impressions your profile has achieved within a specific time period. Maybe you post a photo you think looks great, but it may have the least amount of likes and comments compared to a different photo you post that garnered hundreds of likes and comments. In this way, you can begin to see what your audience responds to, and can upload fresh content they want to interact with.
Connect with your followers and build a community. Ask questions at the end of a post to create a conversation that people want to respond to. Actually read the comments so you get to know what your audience likes. They want to know more about your business and this can create a personal element to your page.
USE DIFFERENT TOOLS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Explore Page Breakdown
The Explore Page on your app is Instagram’s way of showing similar posts that it thinks you will enjoy. It shows photos, videos and related content that is tailored towards you! See what other profiles similar to yours are posting and determine how your content compares! Again, incorporating hashtags is a way the algorithm knows how to categorize your content for others to explore.
Get the Right Gear to Shoot Content
If you decide to take your own photos for your profile, you should invest in good camera equipment that gives crisp images. Sharp, quality photos with distinct editing styles perform better than just a simple selfie shot from an iPhone. Professional cameras can pick up details your iPhone camera simply can’t. While everyone else has photos straight from their phone, your photos sill stand out with their depth and vibrancy.
Instagram is constantly updating its algorithm to meet the needs of its users. Consequently, it can be hard to get your content in front of your audience. As a social network, it’s important that you actively engage with your following, find new ways to incorporate fresh ideas into your profile and be thoughtful of the way you share your content if you want to be noticed. By using our tips for beating the Instagram algorithm, your profile will get noticed by your target audience.