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How to Beat the Instagram Algorithm | Shake Up Your Social Media

It’s no secret that social media trends, algorithms, and best practices are changing all the time. Our new blog series will give you everything you need to Shake Up Your Social Media and start making your platform work for you!


Let’s talk Instagram. Like all social channels, Instagram’s algorithm is changing all the time. Instagram doesn’t like giving too much away about how their algorithm works, but with the help of their @creators channel and Later.com (an Instagram partner), we’ve been able to discover a few key insights.

Interactions:

  • Post saves indicate a strong interest in your content. Instagram sees saves as a ‘super like’, and will rank posts with high save counts highly
  • Comments are seen as deep engagement, especially longer comments
  • Shares not only increase your reach by showing your post to your followers’ followers, but a high share count will increase your organic reach
  • Likes are currently weighted the lowest – but they’re still important!

Instagram doesn’t favour videos over photos when determining feed ranking – the quality of the content is what’s important!

Don’t be fooled by engagement pods! Instagram is cracking down on fake interactions, and these no longer count towards your feed ranking.

The algorithm pays attention to how much time has passed since you posted. Instagram always wants to serve people the latest and most valuable posts, so make sure to pay attention to when your audience is online!

But how do I beat the algorithm to increase my reach and engagement? I hear you ask. The answer is simple:

Stop focusing on what the algorithm is doing and think more about what your audience is doing!

We know that user behaviour has changed over the last six months. People might be spending more time online, but what they want to see has changed.
More social media users are online to see content that is valuable (40%) and entertaining (37%) than behind the scenes content (25%) or lifestyle advice (26%). People are now logging on to learn something new (51%), be entertained and uplifted (49%), and to share their passions (43%).

What does this mean for you? Here are our top tips:

  • It’s more important than ever to balance your content with value, education, entertainment, and information!
  • Think about the problems your audience have – how can you solve them? Think how you can solve problems for free (using your content), as well as for money via your products or services.
  • Stop asking your audience what content they want to see, instead look at their behaviour! Who are they following? What content are they sharing or saving?
  • Ask your audience valuable questions – What’s on their mind? What is stopping them from doing something? This will give you some insight on the value you can add.
  • Give people a reason to follow you – whether you’re showing people the best places to visit in your local area, are selling a stand-out product, or are sharing stunning and aesthetically pleasing content, you should have a clear and consistent purpose.
  • Make sure your content is snackable – people’s attention spans have never been lower, so it’s important that your audience can easily digest your content.
  • Include a call to action in every post, but make it natural and relevant to the post. If you don’t have a call to action, your engagement will be low, which will lead to lower ranking and reach.

Next time you find yourself lamenting about how the Instagram algorithm has changed, remind yourself that it’s not the algorithm that’s important. What really matters is how your audience is behaving. If your reach drops, think of it as your audience forgetting about you a little bit. If a post doesn’t get much engagement, consider whether the post truly adds value for your audience. And remember: the key to beating the Instagram algorithm is understanding your audience.


Sources:
Vix Meldrew
Global Web Index 2020
Later.com
Instagram @creators

If the thought of trying to keep up with the constant changes in social media trends, algorithms, best practices, and user behaviour makes your head spin, we can help! Get in touch today to explore how we can shake up your social media!

Emily Williams

Social Media Manager