If you have been marketing through Instagram, it is likely you have come across its countless updates in the past. Just when you thought you have figured the latest Instagram algorithm out, the platform changes it again.
This year, the new update is causing a lot of trouble and annoyance for many social media marketers. Staying in the loop has become harder than ever, especially considering that many changes are mostly updated in Instagram’s Help Center, rather than announcing it publicly through their blog. Despite the backlash, Instagram is sticking to its new rules.
So what are these new Instagram algorithm updates and how can you take advantage of them?
Instagram Algorithm Changes
Your posts are no longer receiving the amount of exposure they used to. It is estimated that your post is exposed to only 10% of your audience. While this can be frustrating for many users and marketers alike, the algorithm weighs the interest of your audience to determine whether or not your post should be shown to all of them.
Instagram may also limit exposure based on your engagement with your followers. This means that you need to make sure you respond to comments within the first hour of posting, or else your post’s exposure may decrease significantly.
Since the original shift from a chronological feed, Instagram algorithm relies heavily on engagement – such as the number of likes, comments, views, shared posts, direct messages, saves and other sorts of interactions a post receives.
If more people interact with your post, Instagram will consider your post as quality and engaging. According to the algorithm they released last year, which still works today, the feeds are optimized in a way that users will see moments they care about the most. This shows that the Instagram algorithm prefers quality over quantity.
How to Make the Instagram Algorithm Work in Your Favor
Instagram will always be changing so it is important that you understand how it works in order to improve your exposure and stay present in your followers’ feed.
Treat Instagram comments like a conversation
Stay on top of your incoming comments to signal Instagram algorithm that you are engaging with your followers. While not all comments require a response, you can always show some love with a heart. If you have thousands of followers, tracking all comments can be challenging. That said, find a social media app that can help you keep tabs on your comments and allow you to respond to them whether on your phone or desktop. Need help with social media interaction? Boost Media Group can help with that.
Use Instagram stories more often
Instagram Stories is an excellent avenue to connect with your followers. In 2018, Instagram Stories will play a big role in your marketing strategy. With more than 300 million daily active users, Instagram Stories will continue to reign the platform. The more your followers engage with your Instagram Stories, the higher the chances of your posts showing up in their feed.
Identify the peak times to post
The Instagram algorithm not only cares about your engagement, it also looks into how quickly you gain that engagement. When you publish a post and it immediately gets likes and comments, this signals Instagram that you are publishing quality content. Thus, the post will be visible to even more of your followers. With all that said, figure out the peak hours when your followers are active and publish posts during those times. This way, your post can reach maximum engagement.
Craft compelling captions
Another key factor the Instagram algorithm pays attention to is the amount of time people spent viewing your post. If you want your followers to spend more time on your posts, crafting compelling captions is one of the smartest moves you can make. Doing this consistently and regularly will eventually make the Instagram algorithm work in your favor.
Include relevant hashtags
Using hashtags on your posts is still a powerful method to acquire more followers and improve your engagement. When using hashtags, make sure they are specific and relevant both to your content and target audience. Otherwise, your followers will mark your content as irrelevant or uninteresting. With this new feature, you need to be careful about how many hashtags you need to use. The “Don’t Show For This Hashtag” option can affect your overall content negatively when too many of your posts have been marked with this. Make sure to change your hashtags whenever necessary and put them where they are a good fit, rather than using all of them in every single post.
Experiment and try out new features
Instagram will love you if you check their new features out every now and then. But, they will love you even more if you try all the new features they keep on rolling out. This might include the Instagram Live, Carousel Post and Instagram Stories. Needless to say, it is essential to always be on the lookout for new updates. Not only will you expand your reach, you will also outpace the competitors. Regardless of how you use these new features, keep in mind to make your content valuable and interesting for your audience.
The Instagram algorithm, although it can be frustrating, only aims to improve the user experience. So be sure you are in the loop, or else not only will your content get buried and go unseen, you will drastically decrease the numbers of your followers. By tracking your Instagram’s key metrics, you are in a better position to understand how your content works and how it can go along well with the algorithm (not the other way around).
Don’t fight the Instagram algorithm, instead use it as a way to build deeper relationships with your audience, create valuable content, and improve your social media strategy.