How to Make the Instagram Algorithm Work for YouAug 13, 2021
By Jake Adam Davey.
Something we can definitely agree on, is that over the past 15 months, 16 months, even 18 months, the world has changed significantly.
Not only has the world changed significantly, but social media has changed as well, and the way that we use social media has massively, massively changed and been significantly impacted.
But that’s not just the case for the past 18 months. The way that we use social media, and the platforms themselves, has changed consistently month on month, and year on year.
And not just on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or LinkedIn, but on even more recent platforms such as Clubhouse, where we're seeing that we don't necessarily get the reach and the kind of engagement or the amount of likes, and the amount of comments, and ultimately the amount of interaction from our content that we might expect, or might hope for, and have seen in the past.
This is the reason the conversation and the question about social media algorithms comes up again and again.
When social media platforms first get started, they will show your post, and whenever you post something, they will share your content with all your followers.
Way back when Instagram (and Facebook) first started, the way that those platforms would operate is that they would share your content to all your followers and therefore all your audience.
So, you could post pretty much anything, and all your followers would see it. Sounds great right?
That was great for a long time, but then what does Facebook do? It changes the algorithm. It reduces the reach, and suddenly only about 66% of your audience sees your content.
What happened next?
Well, Instagram and Facebook changed the game again and this figure went down to about 33%, and then down to 16%, and then down to 8%. Now I think it sits at around 4% (this may be slightly lower on Facebook and slightly higher on Instagram).
A lot of people say that that's not fair, that's not right, and that's not how it should be, and yep, that may well be the case, but Facebook and Instagram are businesses too.
What does that mean for us?
It means that suddenly our audience is getting smaller and smaller and smaller.
OK, the audience actually stays the same, but the way we can connect with those people, and the way that we can reach those people, has changed.
Instagram (like every other social media platform) wants to keep us on their platform, spending more time interacting and engaging. Ultimately, what they are looking for are ways that it can keep people on their platform.
Instagram shares content that people want to see
The algorithm identifies the major things that people want to see, the content they engage with, the content they interact with, valuable content that is useful, and good content.
What is good content?
Good content is content that people are interacting and engaging with.
If we can get clear on what that is, and if we can create that type of content, and if we understand how the algorithm works, we’re going to get the best results. The best interaction, the best engagement, and more followers, ultimately leads to more leads, sales, and clients for our businesses.
We've seen months where our clients have got 21,000 followers in a single month, some of them have grown by 10,000 followers in just six days. You know that we can do something to help people build their audience and continue to grow and get more followers, again and again.
It’s not just simply a coincidence. There are ways that you can do this no matter what happens with the algorithm change.
Wouldn't it feel great to know that a strategy that you were using was going to be almost bulletproof no matter what happened with these social media platforms?
What Instagram rewards
We need to look at the actions Instagram rewards:
- Instagram rewards higher levels of engagement from your followers
In other words, when you share a post, a video, or a story, these pieces of content get engagement.
OK, so we need to set up the post to promote our content, and we need to set up rules for our stories, so that they drive interaction and engagement from our followers. Our posts are not passive and need updating regularly.
- Instagram rewards higher levels of engagement with our followers
That doesn't mean that we need to spend hours and hours engaging and interacting, as that's not useful for any business owner or entrepreneur. We should be looking at undertaking tasks that maximise income generation. There are ways that you can drastically increase the interaction and engagement in a very short space of time to help boost your credibility - I guess you could say boost your brownie points with the Instagram algorithm.
- The time spent on your profile
The amount of time that people spend looking at your profile and consuming your content is one of the reasons that there's been a big shift towards Instagram reels. Creating reels of short engaging videos on Instagram that people will want to see again and again is very useful. But it's not just about creating and sharing videos, stories, or reels, they have to be appealing and relevant. We have to look at ways that we can increase the amount of time that people engage with your profile and content.
- The speed of engagement
This is another big one and there are ways that you can encourage people to interact with one of your posts or content more quickly. Once your post goes live, if there is a slow response for somebody to like and comment, this can lead to lost opportunities. However, if within a very short space of time, such as a few minutes, of that post going out you can generate lots of interest in the form of messages, likes, and comments, then that is going to boost your visibility with the algorithm.
- Use of the features
Finally, the more consistently that we can use not just all the features, but also the feature that Instagram is favouring at this time, the more the algorithm will favour us.
There's a reason why three/four years ago Instagram was favouring stories. There's a reason why two/three years ago Instagram was favouring IGTV, and there's a reason why right now it is favouring reels. These are the newest features of the platform and the ones which they want you to use.
If we can find the best way to leverage and interact and engage with the right features, this will have a massive impact on the reach and interaction you can get.
Of course, this is personal to every business, every brand, every product, and every service, and it looks slightly different depending on who you're looking to attract, and how you approach your marketing strategy, but these simple steps will allow you to make the Instagram Algorithm work for you.
Remember the Instagram rewards:
- Instagram rewards higher levels of engagement from your followers.
- Instagram rewards higher levels of engagement with our followers
- Instagram rewards more time spent on your profile
- Instagram rewards faster speeds of engagement
- Instagram rewards use of the features
If you are looking for more personalised support, or a more personalised plan about how you can do this, then reach out to me and my team. We can support you further to help you build your audience and your brands with Instagram.
Jake Davey is the UK’s leading Instagram expert. Former high school French and Spanish teacher turned online entrepreneur, Jake shows business owners and entrepreneurs how to build an authentic audience on Instagram and be seen as the go-to authority in their industry.
His Flagship program, InstaGalactic follows the proven, 6-Step ROCKET system and shows people how to explode their brand on Instagram so they can impact on a global scale.
He is passionate about helping business owners to scale by leveraging the power of Instagram via his online course, 1:1 and group coaching, hosting the INfluence podcast, and international speaking engagements.
Jake currently has an audience of over 65K followers on Instagram, and has helped hundreds of large and small businesses to influence more people, and build authentic, engaged audiences that convert.
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