What You Need To Know About the Instagram Algorithm

How does the Instagram algorithm actually work? This question is asked often by creators, businesses, and others just trying to grow their Instagram accounts.

Recently Instagram has moved away from a “chronological feed”, and is putting more valuable content in front of you that you’re more likely to engage with and like. This recent shift has users wondering if videos perform better than photos, or how they can get their posts to be seen by more of their followers. Also, the ongoing hashtag dilemma is a constant battle of figuring out which hashtags to use for further visibility.

Basically, there are 6 key factors that influences what instagram shows on your feed. Interest, Relationship, Timeliness, Frequency, Following, and Usage. But keep in mind that even if you think you’ve narrowed down each of these perfectly – the Instagram algorithm is always changing. Your Instagram feed isn’t just based on who you follow, it’s also based on who and what you like. If the Instagram algorithm thinks you will “like” a post, the there’s a higher probability that it will appear on your feed. So the biggest change is that your Instagram feed is a combination of your behaviors on Instagram which include; the friends you interact with, the stories you watch, people who tag you, and of course any posts and content that you like and engage with often.

So you might ask which engagement are most important? Instagram has prioritized any content that receives the most engagement which includes Saves, Shares, Comments, and Likes – in that order. If you are looking at video content, then any content that is shareable and savable will yield more views according to the Instagram algorithm. Since the social platform is moving towards more “community” driven and valuable content, rather than just photos, it’s also important to know that establishing a community and following is essential for growth. Instagram will push your content to a small percentage of your followers, and if they engage with your post then Instagram will broaden your reach to more followers and so on, which ultimately allows your content to then be visible through hashtags and the explore page – and that is where you will see real growth and a much larger reach.

Although engagement is key for success with the new algorithm, there are other factors to consider that can also boost your profile’s growth. Timeliness of posting, Frequency, and App Usage can be secondary ways to continue getting those likes and comments on your posts. Instagram pays attention to how long ago you posted a photo to keep your feed updated and interesting. A great way to boost your profile in the algorithm’s favor is to find the best time to post for your followers. If you post at the times your followers are online then you have a much better chance of racking up more likes and comments because they will actually see your post. Another factor to consider is how often you open the Instagram app – yes Instagram keeps track of this. If you’re a frequent scroller, then your feed will look more “chronological” since Instagram tries to show you anything new since your last visit. On the flip side, if you aren’t as active then your feed will be more prioritized to show you the more important posts you may have missed.

Overall the Instagram algorithm is always changing, and the key to growth is adapting and changing right along with it. While you’re trying to understand Instagram’s algorithm, keep in mind their main themes: Interest, Relationship, Timeliness, Frequency, Following, and Usage. Once you’ve mastered behind the scenes, then you’re ready to start posting!

Are you still stuck on figuring out how to grow your account? Reach out to our team and let us know what you’re looking for.

Hashtags – and why you need them!

Your Instagram strategy right now is to either grow more followers, or to remain stagnant. I’m sure we can agree that most users are going to want more and more followers right? Well the biggest culprit to growth comes down to your use of hashtags!

What is a #? If you asked this question a decade ago, everyone would answer that is the symbol for a “number”. Ask that question in 2020 and mostly everyone will refer to it as a hashtag. So what is a hashtag? By definition, a hashtag is a combination of letters, numbers, and/or an emoji that is preceded by the # symbol. To put it simply, a hashtag is a word with the # symbol that can be used to categorize content or make that content discoverable. For example, the hashtag #dogs on Instagram has 111 million posts that use that hashtag. You can click the hashtag “#dogs” and you can scroll through 111 million posts if you want to. But how do you stand out from so many posts and so many accounts? Here is a breakdown of the Instagram Hashtag and how you can use hashtags to increase your account growth organically.

The main purpose of hashtags are to expand your Instagram audience. Posting a picture of your dog and using the hashtag #dogs will make your post visible on the #dogs page (but not for too long since there are over one hundred million posts for that hashtag). If someone follows the #dogs, then your post will show up on their feed as well, even if they don’t follow you!

When thinking about which hashtags to use, it’s important to think of which category your business or post falls under. The most common hashtag categories are: Product/Service, Niche, Industry Instagram Community, Special Event/Seasonal, Location, Daily, Relevant Phrase, Acronym, and Emoji. Each hashtag brings something to your posts depending on which hashtags you decide to use. Since you only get 30 hashtags per post on Instagram, it’s important to delve into your brand or post to really categorize which hashtags will bring the most interaction and engagement.

So how do you choose which hashtags are best for your content? Well it can be difficult since Instagram only allows you to use 30 hashtags per post. But most people assume using the largest hashtags are best – but you actually want to use the ones that have fewer posts! For an example, if your post is of your new puppy and you use the hashtag #puppy then your post is going to become lost amongst the millions of posts with the #puppy. Instead, search for hashtags that are less common such as #puppiesdaily which has roughly 190 thousand posts. You can even search further and use the hashtag #puppiesofnyc if you live in NYC because that hashtag has less than forty-thousand posts and your content will be seen more often and quicker.

The Instagram algorithm and hashtag use can be confusing and difficult to work with, especially since it is always changing. But staying up to date on the newest trends and doing research behind your posts about unique hashtags to use are essential for your profile or business to grow on social media. Don’t be discouraged if you suddenly change your Instagram strategy and still don’t see huge growth either. It takes time to grow organically and understand each platform.

Need help with your Instagram strategy? Reach out to our team here!

Finding Your Ideal Target Audience

“Finding your target audience doesn’t have to be difficult! Asking yourself the right questions will prepare your business for successful interactions online and real growth across your social platforms.”

So how do you begin to understand who your target audience is? Better yet, how do you know what to post based on that target audience? From a business standpoint, your social posts may not reflect how you would post on your personal accounts. That is why knowing and understanding your target audience is crucial to developing a growing and dynamic social brand.

Before you begin posting, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What gender(s) are you speaking to?
  2. What age group do you cater to? Any specific generations?
  3. What types of income do your customers have?
  4. Where are your customers/audience located?

Once you have a completed profile of the “ideal target customer” then you can start drafting your posts. For instance, here is an example of a target customer based on the above questions: My ideal customer is primarily female, aged 25-35, has an average income of 40-50K and is located in the United States. If this “customer” is your target audience then you are likely finding materials and images that cater to this type of lifestyle and age group.

It isn’t hard to find your target audience, but it does take work! Even if you know who your target audience is, things constantly change in social media. So you must always analyze your results and keep track of your engagements. Always remember to cater to your audience – not yourself. As a business you are reaching people that follow your account for a reason, so stick to that and stay true to your original content.

If you’re unsure how to find your audience and cater your posts to them – reach out to our team here!