Everything You Need to Know About Instagram’s Algorithm
Instagram and other social media networks regularly update algorithms to improve the user experience. Instagram’s last major change was in 2016 when it stopped displaying feeds in reverse-chronological order. Instead, it stated it would start showing users the posts they care about the most. Instagram has continued to build on the changes, and you need to adjust your strategy so your posts reach your target market. Learn more about Instagram’s algorithm and discover the changes you need to make to increase your reach and engagement.
A Quick Overview of the Algorithm
Even though Instagram hasn’t provided specific details about its algorithm, it’s clear that it prioritizes four things over everything else. First, it considers the relationship between the poster and the user. For example, if Joe engages with lots of your content, he will see more of your posts.
Second, it considers the interest the person has shown for similar accounts and posts. For example, if Sara regularly engages with posts similar to yours, Instagram will start showing her your posts. However, if she never pays attention to posts like yours, Instagram won’t include your photos and videos in her feed.
Third, Instagram’s algorithm analyzes overall engagement when choosing which posts to display. If your posts have high levels of engagement, Instagram will think that others will like your content as well. Thus, it will show it to more people.
Finally, it considers the timeliness of posts. Instagram prioritizes recent posts over older ones when choosing content to display.
Now, let’s dig in and look at how you can use the algorithm to your advantage.
Great Content Is Key
Instagram has made it clear that you need to create great content if you want to rank high on feeds. While “great content” is subjective, you can’t go wrong when you post high-quality photos. Forgo bland, uninspiring photographs and use eye-popping, exciting visuals instead. You want to upload posts that grab people’s attention and make them want to engage, so the higher the quality, the better.
Post When People Are on Instagram
Since Instagram’s algorithm displays recent posts first, you need to publish content when your audience is online. Increase your exposure by posting between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. CDT. Then, review your analytics to find out how many people see your posts. You might have to adjust your posting schedule based on your analytics. It can take some work and fine-tuning, but eventually, you’ll get your posts in front of your target audience.
Don’t Ignore the Importance of Likes
Instagram wants people to see posts they’ll like. The social media network can’t get inside people’s heads, so instead, it analyzes historical engagement rates. You can boost your engagement rates right away by buying Instagram likes. Instagram will notice that your posts are getting more likes and reward you by showing your photos and videos to more people. This will lead to additional organic likes. Then, you can reach the level of engagement needed to expand your organic reach on Instagram.
Comments are another way to boost your engagement levels. When your posts receive lots of comments, Instagram will prioritize your content.
Comment length doesn’t matter. There is a myth that Instagram only counts comments that are at least three words, but the network gives the same weight to comments of all lengths. That includes comments that only consist of a single emoji. Use a call-to-action to ask for comments and then watch your engagement grow.
Instagram’s algorithm categorizes posts by hashtags. You can get your posts in front of more people by using the right hashtags. Choose hashtags that your target market is likely to search for, but make sure the phrases aren’t too generic. They should be highly targeted so you reach the right people.
Use Photos and Videos
Instagram doesn’t prioritize videos over photos or the other way around. Instead, it displays video content to users who are more likely to interact with videos and photos than those who are more likely to engage with photos. Reach both types of users by posting photos and videos. Then, you can reach and engage with your entire audience instead of leaving some people out.
Keep in mind that you can get higher engagement levels from videos, though, due to the length. People spend more time watching a video than looking at a photo, and that goes toward your engagement levels. Because of that, your videos might have a more extensive reach. However, you still need to post both due to Instagram’s algorithm.
Instagram’s algorithm is built to detect bot activity. If you use bots, you won’t get credit for the likes, shares, or comments you receive. Fortunately, you can buy real Instagram likes. If you go this route, you can receive the likes you need without getting penalized by Instagram.
Post Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories don’t impact how your content ranks on users’ Instagram feeds. However, you still need to post Stories regularly due to the engagement levels. Instagram Stories tend to have high levels of engagement, and often, people check out profiles after interacting with the Stories. This, in turn, can help you increase your engagement levels on your posts. When that happens, you will get a ranking boost, so more people will see your content.
While there’s no hard and fast rule regarding how often you should post Stories versus posting on your feed, many brands divide it in half. They put half of their content on their feeds and half in Stories. Play around with your posting strategy a bit and keep an eye on your analytics. The analytics will help you determine how often you should post on each.
Adapt to Instagram’s Algorithm
If you’re going to be successful on Instagram, you have to adapt to the network’s algorithm. Make these changes, and then keep an eye on any new updates. Remember, Instagram is constantly changing, and if you change with it, you can enjoy success.