Alright guys, it’s million dollar question time; How do I master the Instagram algorithm?
Does any of this sound familiar?
You’re posting the same kind of content but suddenly your engagement dips.
Or you're using the same hashtags but your audience isn't growing.
We hear this all the time!
We know this can be really challenging when you’re trying to grow your audience and engagement.
We're going to help you understand why these changes are happening and what you can do to get back on top.
Now, a little bit of real talk.
Even though there have been changes to the way Instagram serves content, it’s still one of the best ways to market your business.
And that's because Instagram is a community platform designed to help you discover new accounts to follow.
Which is different to a platform like Facebook that acts more like a news service these days.
And if you have a Facebook page for your business, you'll know the reach on Facebook is often a quarter of what you get on Instagram.
So I want you to know that Instagram is definitely worth sticking with.
This article is going to provide a road map of improvements you can implement right away.
If you’re an Instagram pro, let this be an opportunity to critically reflect on what you’re doing with your feed. Tiny changes can have a huge impact.
If you’re just starting out on Instagram, this will give you the opportunity to be guided as you get your content ship shape.
Let’s master the algorithm, shall we?
Why the change?
If you've been posting on Instagram for a while, you've probably felt the changes to the Instagram algorithm.
And a lot of you are scratching your head as to why.
The algorithm change is to make Instagram more useful for their users.
Instagram wants you to see more of the content you like so you spend more time on the app.
Making Instagram a regular habit is the companies goal so they’ve made changes to who sees what and when.
This isn't a bad thing. The more people engage with you, the more of your content they will see.
These days the algorithm has been changed to show users more of the stuff they like, so if you’re always commenting on feeds like What Fran Wore (just me?) or a business, you’ll see there stuff more frequently.
I know this has shaken things up a bit and you're feeling the frustration.
One thing we know is content is king.
And if you’re creating great stuff, your community will see it.
To make the algorithm changes work for your business, you need to rethink your content.
Let's turn your frustration into a growth opportunity.
With a little creative thinking, you can reshape the content on your account to be exactly what your audience wants.
And you do that by:
- Posting great images
- Using calls to action
- Reaching out to influencers
- Using the right hashtags
- Focusing on engagement
let's break that down, shall we?
Here's how to focus your content so Instagram's algorithm loves you.
Post Great Images
High quality and appealing photos will always be the foundation of Instagram.
If you're posting great images, you'll be able to weather any algorithm changes.
If you only action one thing from this post, make it this one.
It doesn’t matter how great your calls to action are or using the right hashtags, if your images aren't great.
So, if you’re feeling the dip in engagement, check your images.
Are they clear? Well lit? Interesting? High quality?
Don't freak out about this, if you're not a photographer, it doesn't matter.
Start small and experiment with your shots. You don’t have to get it right the first time and the more you practice the better you’ll get.
Using your smartphone and natural light is the first step to taking a great shot.
After that, you want to use some basic photo editing tools to enhance the quality of the images.
You don’t want to go crazy on the filters. Images without filters get the most engagement.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't edit. Enhance the natural beauty of your shot by adjusting contrast, exposure and warmth.
Every single image you post should be something you’re proud of and accurately represents your brand.
The changes in the Instagram algorithm means the popular kids get featured the most.
This means images with likes, shares and comments get more exposure.
So, how do you make sure your images get good engagement?
Ask for it!
Use a calls to action each and every post.
You don’t always been to be sending people to a “link in bio” or to your content.
Ask your followers questions, tell them to tag a friend who would like your post, ask them to double tap if they agree.
It's really incredible how much more engagement you get by asking.
Not only will you be rewarded by having your content shown more regularly, you’ll also be creating an active community.
Reach out to Influencers
Is that an eye roll I detect?
Having a post shared by an influencer or company can seem like a pipe dream, but it is possible.
And it's going to be even more important now with the algorithm changes.
Popular content gets rewarded and posts by Influencers is always popular.
If you have an image shared or get a shout out from one of the big grammers, your product or service is in front of a whole new audience.
And if you choose your Influencer wisely, this new audience will be full of prospective customers.
If you’re a little bit nervous reaching out, remember they’re people receiving your message.
So be polite, explain why you think you’re a great fit for their feed and then offer to send them a product or information without expectation.
They may say no, and it might sting a little bit but it’s not going to be a reflection of the work you’re doing
Try not to take it personally and keep going.
Use Hashtags Wisely
Hashtags are an important aspect when using Instagram. For most of us, they’re how you get found by new folks.
While you still need to use hashtags, the algorithm changes mean you have to be smarter about it.
Don't stuff your captions full of generic terms like #love to get likes.
Choose and use them strategically.
- chooisng hashtags that are right for your audience
- putting them in the first comment
- all killer, no filler ie don't add unnecessary ones.
If you want a shortcut to the best hashtags to be using, check out our free resource library to access our cheat sheet.
And check a source like Websta.me to see which hashtags are driving the most engagement.
Focus on Engagement
Engagement matters now more than ever. It’s essential you interact with your followers on a consistent basis.
Not only is it nice to be nice, you'll be rewarded by Instagram.
The more you engage with your community, the more of your content appears in their feed.
If someone comments or likes your posts, it’s like giving the thumbs up to your content so you will appear in their feed more often,
Take the take to respond to your comments, answer questions and like posts.
And that’s a wrap on how to beat the algorithm, I hope you find this useful!
Get out there and engage with your community, try changing up your images and reach out to Influencers.