Jun 2017

A new Instagram algorithm was introduced in 2016 which makes it easier for individuals to find new content aligned with their interests, but businesses that don't know how to overcome these new factors are having difficulty expanding their reach. You put a lot of time and effort into your posts, so it doesn’t seem fair that they’re falling flat. Let’s look at how the Instagram algorithm works and what to do to beat it. 

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  1. Engagement

This sounds like a no-brainer but I’m not just talking about likes. Engagement means Likes as well as comments, shares, bookmarks and tags. When a post gets this kind of engagement, it’s deemed as something that could potentially go “viral” and appeals to a large audience. So does this mean if your post doesn't get a huge amount of engagement right off the bat, it won't be seen? Not necessarily, but here's how to make sure you are getting comments and shares on your posts.

How to beat it

Rather than posting with the intention to get Likes, aim to increase engagement. Ask a question that your followers should answer in the comments. Prompt people to tag a friend who might find value in your latest post.

  1. Relationships

Do you ever notice that it’s the same people that tend to like your photos? That’s because it is! For the most part. When someone shows interest in your content, Instagram serves more of it to them more often. And because Instagram and Facebook are owned by the same parent company, they pull information from your Facebook account too to determine who’s friends with who and who likes who’s content. It’s almost like social media determines who are best friends are… and If you think about it, it’s a really nice gesture for Instagram to think of us so thoughtfully...but for businesses looking to increase their exposure, it can be tricky.

How to beat it

Rather than pasting the same hashtags for every post, expand your reach with using different ones each time. Do some research and find hashtags that are relevant to your content and are popular. Remember, you can use up to 30 hashtags, so use them all!

  1. Relevance

If you typically follow health and fitness accounts, Instagram is going to show more of that to you. Similar to the types of posts you engage with, the algorithm is also based on who you follow. Instagram is so smart that they can recognize patterns in the photos, and make classifications that way.

How to beat it

Try tagging some accounts in your industry in your posts -- but avoid accounts that have a huge amount of followers. They probably get tagged often and tune them out and won’t see yours.

  1. Searches

Instagram also learns what you’re interested in based on what you search in Instagram. The hashtags you search for and the profiles you look up will also contribute to the types of posts you see.

How to beat it

Explore new hashtags by browsing through some of the ones people with a lot of engagement are using.

  1. Recency

I’m mentioning this one last because it isn’t the most important influence on where you show up in your follower’s feeds. Have you ever opened Instagram to see a post from 5 minutes ago and the next one if your feed was from 1 day ago? That’s because those posts were served to you based on the previous factors I should mentioned.

How to beat it

If you’re someone who’s worrying about what time you publish your Instagram posts -- don’t think about it too much. Focus on the previous 4 things and you’ll notice a huge boost in your likes, comments, and followers.

So there you have it! Hopefully you learned some new tips and are eager to apply them to your own Instagram account. 

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