Five Tips to Surviving the Instagram Algorithm Changes

by Natasha Moody

The Instagram algorithm is relies heavily on the engagement levels of individual posts to determine whether it should be promoted more or less than previous content. Instagram decides this by measuring how fast and how much interaction your content has compared to your previous posts.

Here’s a quick peek of how the algorithm works:

  1. When you post a photo, it is first shown to a small percentage of your audience (around 10%).

  2. If within the first 10 minutes, your post gets a strong level of engagement (likes, comments, direct shares), Instagram will then show it to the remaining 90% of your following.

  3. If it continues to perform really well, then your post could end up in the Explore section.

Now that you know how the algorithm works, we’ve put together are a few tips that will help you overcome the algorithm and improve your engagement with each post.

Tip #1: Quality Over Quantity

With the current algorithm, it’s more important than ever to really focus on quality and stop posting just post.  If this means not posting as often, then don’t post as often. Since your exposure is now determined on your interactions, it’s important to post authentic, quality content that will be more likely to impact your followers.

When a post receives a ton of likes and comments, this signals the Instagram algorithm that your post is quality, engaging content that more people will want to see.

Tip #2: Post When Your Audience is Active

It is important that you’re putting out content when people are actually there to interact with it. There is no point going to all the effort of creating a beautiful picture to post when your followers are at work or fast asleep. Determining when your engagement is highest varies from person to person and will depend on where your audience is based or when they are spending time on Instagram. If you have a business account, then you can learn more details from your analytics. Take note of your peak times and plan your content to go out during these hours. 

Otherwise, you can try posting first thing in the morning, around lunchtime and/or in the evenings to test out when your audience interacts with your posts the most. Another way to trick the algorithm is to spend 15 minutes engaging with others before you post an image and 15 minutes afterwards doing the same. No engagement within the first ten minutes of posting means your post will be buried. 

Tip #3: Hashtag Strategy

One of the easiest ways to increase your visibility is to use hashtags. Now that the algorithm is in effect, it is more important than ever to utilize the right hashtags for your posts to make sure interested users see your posts.

WHERE TO PUT THEM: In order for your post to show up on the recent page, you need to include your hashtags in your caption. If you add it later on in the comments, your post won’t appear.

HOW MANY SHOULD YOU USE:  Back in the day, the maximum number of hashtags you could use in the caption was 30. However, Instagram started to register 30 hashtags as spam. So, the general rule of thumb is to stick with less than 10 hashtags, but more than 5. The more unique they are, the better it is for you to attract the right people who might be interested in your posts. Also, make sure that you’re not using the same 5 hashtags every time you post because Instagram could start to register them as spam.

AVOID EDITING YOUR INSTAGRAM POSTS: If you don’t want your visibility to decrease, then don’t edit your caption within 24 hours after posting it. Every time you edit your Instagram post, Instagram resets your engagement ranking. All of the likes and comments that you already received up to that point will also reset. If you notice a mistake in your comments or hashtags after you posted a photo and it starts to gain momentum, then just leave it for 24 hours.

Tip #4: Connect With Others & Comment Back

As discussed earlier, Instagram algorithm tracks your engagement and it tracks how frequently you’re engaging with other people’s content. Interact with your followers by replying to their comments on your posts and their questions in your DMs. Spend time liking and engaging with other people’s post, videos and Instagram Stories and the algorithm will recognize you as an active user.

Tip #5: Post To Instagram Stories Frequently

A great way to connect with your followers is through Instagram Stories. In 2018, you can expect Instagram Stories to continue to dominate your Instagram feed and become an essential part of your Instagram marketing strategy. A great way to get around the algorithm is to take advantage of the engagement opportunities in Instagram Stories, including polls or the “Swipe Up” feature if you have over 10K followers. The algorithm takes into account all areas of your engagement like replying to Stories or sending Stories to other people. The more engagement you have, the likelier your posts will show up in the feed. Also, be sure to tag your location in the post and use hashtags in your Stories! These small details can really give your account a big boost.

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