Understanding the Instagram Algorithm

So Instagram’s algorithm is always changing and right now there focus is basically bringing down exposure. They are focusing on a whole new world. Fun Fact, it was originally the algorithm with Facebook that changed, but since Facebook owns Instagram, this algorithm changed as well. Thought some of my experience and a lot of research, here is what I have found to help you and help me!

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Your Engagement

From what I am understanding from my research in trying to understand this new algorithm, is that how much engagement your post gets in the first hour, matters the most. Once you post, it will not be shown to everyone right away in a chronological order, it will be shown to 10% of your followers. In that hour, how that 10% engages with your post, is what will determine how it will be shown after the fact. If you get that high engagement in the first hour, Instagram will think that you have this great piece of content. Being engaged with your followers within that first hour, is the most important. You are responding to people, engaging to others and being prompt within that first hour will all play a huge role.

Post engagement is dropping

All I have heard people talk about is the engagement their posts decreasing. Your posts use to be able to get tons of likes and now they are slowly being cut in half. While, I understand why you don’t like this, I’m right here with you, it is probably here to stay. I remember my first posts were getting around one hundred likes and it was increasing and since the change, it has dropped back down to those one hundred!

Content vs. Frequency

So this one is a little funny. I saw people saying you should be posting more often in order to hit more people. If the first hour is the most important, what if your die-hard followers (sounds good, right?) aren’t on Instagram that hour? If you post again later, it helps you be seen multiple times that die and have a better chance of getting great engagement that first hour.

If you have a business profile, you can use the analytics on your page to discover more about your followers. Next to your username at the top, there will be a little graph, which is where you will find your analytics. I promise this will come in a lot of use. Some really helpful analytics that are found in this area are your daily impressions, reach, and profile views. This will show you which days you get the most of each. Under followers, you can see more about how many of your followers are male / female, their age, what locations they are mostly located in, and then one of the most important. This most important is what average time on every day of the week that your followers are on Instagram. You can also see which day they are most active. If your followers are anything like mine, the days aren’t as important as my followers tend to be on basically every day.

The second is to stop worrying about frequency and start to worry about your content. The better the content, the better chance that your posts will get high engagement that first hour. It isn’t by chronological order anymore so if you post something today at 10am, you could still see it three days from now at 6pm, if the algorithm liked your post. Either way, you should always be focusing on the content you are posting!

If you want a better understanding of what your followers want to see, you can head back to your analytics page that I described above and scroll down. The posts area will be your best friend. This will show you which of your posts got the most of the reaction you wanted. You can see website clicks, engagement, impressions, comments, likes, reach and saved for an array of time. This will help you know which content worked best for your brand and for what you were trying to accomplish. The best part, if you don’t know what something means, it explains it to you. The better you know your audience and the better you understand what they like, the better your content can be, which will drive more engagement and more impressions.

People are engaging in a new way

One thing I learned, is that Instagram loves when you use all of its features. People love Instagram stories. Tag people, get tagged, use hashtags, follow hashtags, etc. The more things you are using, the better engagement you will get. How many times have you been on someones Instagram story and you ended up four profiles and a hashtag away from where you started? I can’t be the only one. 

Take advantage of how you can engage with people. You need to focus on real and genuine engagement, that is what Instagram wants. They are trying to go back to their roots of sharing a genuine connection. Make your Instagram friends and support each other, follow your favorite hashtags and go find accounts you love there. When I find different accounts I love, I turn on notifications for them. I then consistently engage with these people. This would be liking and commenting on their posts. Looking through their stories, checking out who they are tagging and hash-tagging. I also message them with questions or just pieces of support. I think this is very important in gaining a following. Everyone loves a fan and support is very important. Without fans and support they wouldn’t have any following. When you support someone, they might turn around and support you or maybe other people will notice your support and they will check you out and if they like what they see, you got yourself a fan / supporter.

How do you feel about the new algorithm? Do you have any tips you have seen to work for you?

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