Nobody wants to have their content vanish right before their audience’s eyes. If you’re posting, you want your posts to be seen, right? Well…
It all comes down to that pesky Instagram post algorithm.
It decides whether or not your posts get seen by your followers.
Back in 2016, Instagram announced some changes to their feed and they were really bad news for brands, influencers and marketers. Instagram’s feed used to be chronological, meaning that latest posts show first in the feed. Well, Instagram changed that to make sure that first posts are determined by “algorithm” which ensures only the most relevant posts get shown.
What does this mean for Influencers?
Influencers will have to adapt to this by changing the way they do things. There are certain methods and facts that are known to have a strong impact on the new post algorithm – and Influencers need to make sure they use it. If used correctly, it will make a HUGE difference in what kind of results does one achieve. And it’s also worth saying that “algorithms” are slowly becoming part of every platform. Therefore, understanding how they work will have huge impact even outside this platform.
With all that being said… Let’s take a look at couple of ways you can use Instagram post algorithm to your advantage:
Engagement is King
When it comes to algorithms, high engagement is all that matters.
The better your engagement rates, the more algorithm favors you. If someone or something has high engagement rates, it is naturally perceived as valuable and because of that it will be suggested to others. In order to successfully appear on that Instagram feed, you need to up your engagement rates in general, and from that person specifically.
This means that if someone likes, comments or responds to your stories – he cares about your posts and the algorithm will notice that. Make no mistake that every single post of yours will be shown to that person if he engages with you regularly. So, the only question is: “How do I improve my engagement rates!?”
Here are some ideas:
Use Instagram Stories
Instagram story gives you lots of options to make your followers engage with you. Some of those are asking questions, answering to polls or rating your story from 0 to 100. The only thing that matters is that you get that response. Whether it’s a poll answer, asked question, reply to your story or even a live stream comment – it counts as engagement!
Now, some forms of engagement may be rated higher than others, but we will never know that and Instagram surely won’t tell us. But the best way to make sure we succeed is to use every available resource.
Use Questions In Descriptions
You’re probably familiar with this method as it’s gotten quite old now. Almost every brand post will start off with a question targeted at the audience. It can be something as simple as “So, how was your day?”. Whatever it is, the point is – It works, so use it.
Using questions will lead to more comments on posts, which in return increase engagement rates. But, likes / comments / replies are only part of the whole scheme.
Timing Still Matters
Although new posts are no longer the top priority, they are still favored compared to the older ones.
There was another algorithm change in 2018 that made sure this is the case. There’s a really funny reason for this change – people were actually getting Christmas AFTER the New Year’s Eve. It was getting ridiculous.
When a post gets too old, the algorithm doesn’t care about it anymore.
So, your timing still matters and if you want your posts to be shown in your audience’s news feed – you have to post often and at the right time. (If you’re interested in knowing what’s the best time to post, feel free to check out that article)
Your Posts Can Reach New People Too
If you want to target completely new people who’ve never seen your page before – you can do that, too. And you don’t have to pay for advertisements.
Instagram’s feature “Recommended For You” does exactly this.
With this, your posts can appear in the feed of people who’ve never heard of you before. And the way it works is simple: Instagram algorithm takes this stranger’s most recent searches & interests and recommends new posts based on that input. So if somebody was searching for a lot of tennis content recently, he will suddenly have tennis related pages in his “recommended” block on feed.
How Can You Make Use Of This
The way you make use of this is by dedicating your Instagram page to a certain, specific niche. You do this by posting certain images and using certain keywords in your Bio and post descriptions (and hashtags too!). This will make it easy for algorithm to recognize it and recommended it to anyone who searches for similar content that you provide.
If your Instagram profile “stands” for something, it will get recommended to those who search for that. It’s seems way too simple but it works. This is just another reason why you should pick a specific niche in order to succeed.
Instagram algorithm is a tricky thing to understand, but it’s entirely possible to make use of it in the best way possible. By just following these methods, your posts should already see significant improvements when it comes to engagement / numbers.
Learn the rules, adapt – and make use of the system.