How to Master Instagram’s Algorithm

Remember the good ol’ days of chronological Instagram feeds? *Sigh* good times. In 2016, Instagram updated their algorithm making it a little harder to get your post seen when/where you need it to be seen. BUT, not all hope is lost – that doesn’t mean your content won’t be seen, it just means you’ll have to take a few extra steps if you want to be seen. And, you may even gain some even more relevant followers in the process!


Here are some tips to ensure your posts will reach your ideal audience:

  1. TIMING Anyone who has posted on Instagram will know this is tried and true, no matter the current algorithm. Posting at 6am when your target audience sleeps until noon is a surefire way to miss the likes. Pay attention to when your audience is online and active – when are they posting and liking? And how often? Also, take note of industry leaders’ habits – this is key! More on timing here.
  2. ENGAGEMENT The more likes, comments, shares your post gets, the higher it’ll appear in users’ feeds. Liking others’ posts, commenting, and liking comments will also work in your favor. Bonus points for tons of engagement activity within the first hour you post! Which leads us to the next point:
  3. CONTENT DO NOT POST CONTENT THAT WON’T APPEAL TO YOUR AUDIENCE! Unrelatable content = fewer likes. Post something you know your audience will be likely to engage with. Fewer posts with great content are better than tons of low-quality posts. Additionally, if users are engaging with other posts/accounts like yours, posting similar content is a great way to get into more feeds.
  4. HASHTAGS Hashtags are a quick and easy way to find new followers and connect with various communities. Here are some tips on hashtag best practices straight from Instagram:
    1. Be Specific: Their example uses a photo of a VW van and suggests using #vwvan instead of just #van so that other VW lovers can easily find it without having to go through other brands.
    2. Be Relevant: While it may be tempting to use a more generic hashtag that has over 1,000,000 tags, it’s not the best way to connect with those you’re targeting. This helps to find and keep followers who’ll continue to engage with you over time.
    3. Be Observant: Pay close attention to what other users with your same tags are doing. You may find new relevant hashtags along the way.
  5. VIEWING TIME The longer users linger on your post, the more likely it’ll be shown to other users. The recently new slideshow feature is great for this because it encourages users to scroll through multiple pictures/videos in a single post. Video and Boomerang posts are also helpful here.
  6. SEARCH FACTOR Likes aren’t the only way to engage. When you search for an account, Instagram knows you may be interested in seeing more of their content, and other similar content. Instagram also tracks direct message shares…all the more reason to keep creating relevant and interesting content!

For more on social media strategy for your brand, give us a shout! (262) 650-9900

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Affirm Agency

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