Surviving the Instagram Algorithm
There is no need to “hack the algorithm” and cheat your way into getting more engagement, if you are creating the content that is meant for your audience. Have you been thinking, why am I not seeing all of my followers’ posts? Why are people not seeing my posts? On average, about 10% of your followers see your content. You can blame the Instagram algorithm for that. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix, it is a learning process.
So, how can we survive the infamous Instagram algorithm? Here are 6 components that the algorithm takes into consideration when displaying your content and the content of your followers.
Instagram pays very close attention to your every move while you are on the app (creepy, but thoughtful), in order to figure out what kind of content you’re most interested in. They are looking at the images you interact with when you watch, like, comment, save, and share. Instagram then uses this information to generate similar content via your “Explore” feed and your “following” feed. The content and accounts you interact with most will be ranked higher in your feed.
While Instagram’s simple chronological feed is a thing of the past, post recency is still valued. More recent posts will be favored and pushed to the top of the feed, while older posts will show up a little further down.
Relationships, relationships, relationships. Genuine relationships cannot be stressed enough when it comes to being successful. If you interact with certain users more than others, they’ll be more likely to see your future content than the users you do not interact with. So, how can you help others see your content? Build relationships! Instead of making many comments on various followers, make genuine comments on loyal followers. Use the tools that Instagram provides for you, such as the question sticker. Ask your followers questions on your story by using the question sticker to promote engagement, while also building relationships. Create prompts on your posts that encourage your followers to share their thoughts and foster an opportunity to start a conversation. Engaging with your followers should never end.
Visit recency is how often you open instagram. Instagram will reset since the last time you opened the app. The algorithm will work its magic and pull the posts that they believe will attract you. The posts they find will be pulled to the top of your feed based on the last time you opened the app.
To help reduce spam, it is only possible for you to follow 7,500 accounts on Instagram. If you’re someone who is following that many accounts, it is very unlikely for you to see all the content from each account you follow. The more accounts that you follow, the harder it is for Instagram to show you all of the content posted from all the people that you follow each day. At the same time, the algorithm is still considering all of the other components as it produces your feed. It is time to stop worrying about your numbers and to begin worrying about your content. Make it valuable.
App usage is very similar to visit recency. Instagram pays attention to how long you spend in the app to give you the best content for long or short sessions. Someone who spends a half hour on Instagram will go deeper into their feed and see posts that may not appeal to them as opposed to a user who scans for 10 minutes and is attracted to all of the posts they come across.
Spend less time figuring out ways to make your numbers “appear” good (using bots to grow your following will be the topic of a future post, but long story short, don’t do this). Spend more time on elevating your content. Stop trying to beat Instagram; start working with them.