If you have difficulty getting noticed by more people over time on Instagram, you have probably been advised to get together a marketing strategy that includes content planning, ads, and a growing engagement rate, including a steady increase in likes count, among others. Likes are, after all, a direct engagement metric. But likes are not the only thing you need to work on improving. You aim to get the app algorithms to work in your favor over a sustainable period. Have you been trying to understand why Instagram algorithms give certain users a more extensive reach and exposure than others? You are on the right page. This article will try to break down how IG algorithms work and then look at what you can do to get yourself a bigger audience on the platform.
IG Algorithm – the ABCs of Instagram Backend
The first thing you need to know is that Instagram is powered by not one but several different algorithms working in sync with one another. Each user gets a personalized social platform experience based on who they frequently interact with, what searches they run, what videos they view, and what posts they save. The feed is also tailored to suit staying online and the usual time of logging in. All of these are what we call “parameters.” The algorithms make complex calculations based on these parameters to give each account holder a unique experience each time they use the app.
So, what you see is based on calculations different algorithms do for:
- IG home feed,
- IG Reels,
- IG Stories,
- IG Explore,
What do these calculations do? They take into account:
- Sponsored ads that aim at you as a target audience.
- Recent posts by accounts you frequently interact with.
- Posts by accounts you often search content from.
- Posts relevant to your hashtag/ keyword search in recent history.
If you notice carefully, this means that IG collects your online information in the following broad categories to determine your reach and visibility:
- When the post was uploaded, what its initial reception was, who interacted with it.
- What kind of post was put up, and what hashtags or keywords get associated with it?
- How have users reacted to the position given its views, likes, saves, comments or shares?
- What is the reach and impression conversion rate of the publication?
1. Don’t Try to Beat It, Work with It:
Since the algorithms are designed to give you exposure, trying to beat it using short-term procedures should not be your go-to solution. Think instead of a marketing plan that will build brand credibility and make you more popular over the long term. For instance, creating a routine and predictable posting schedule will bring in more audience than an erratic posting routine. Aim to attract more organic and active real followers. Think of ways to increase direct conversions to bring more audience traffic to your account. In other words, look at ways to improve your engagement rate and not just your direct engagement signals.
2. Use a Marketer’s Approach in Planning Your IG Activities:
While planning your platform actions, you must think like a seller without forgetting what Instagram works best with. As a marketing expert, keep in mind that this social media platform runs on human interactions. So, you need your group to be mobile and communicative. It would help if you also remembered that soft-selling your brand rather than hard-selling works better on such a site. You can advertise and try to get conversions, but communication will always get you more traction than direct selling tactics on Instagram.
3. Work with the Latest Trends and Features:
Instagram is constantly reinventing itself as a social media platform. Although it is primarily visual and user-centric, it has come a long way from a simple photo-sharing app. A lot of the recent changes are oriented towards favoring different forms of long and short videos, going live, and allowing for direct client interactions like selling, booking, making inquiries, etc. Besides, to work for the psychological welfare of its users, Instagram has incorporated certain display autonomy in terms of parameters like the number of likes received. It is a good idea to keep yourself abreast of all these changes. Keep yourself informed about what these changes mean and how they affect the app algorithms. It can help a long way in getting your IG activity finalized.
4. Create Posts in All Available Formats:
Experiment and experience. Do not be afraid to explore new ways of getting your brand out there and connecting with your niche audience. If you have been only publishing photos with captions until now, try creating a short video. Consider using inbuilt graphics, music, or gifs. Some things you should consider exploring include:
- Go Live,
- IG Story,
- CTA oriented posts,
- Collaboration posts.
5. Optimize Your Posting Schedule:
The best time to catch your audience’s attention is when they are online on IG. Posting or scheduling your posts to get published when most of your target audience is active gives your publication a tremendous potential for attracting quality engagement. The more real-time attention you get within minutes of posting, the higher up on feeds your post will feature. It means better visibility and reaches for the posts. Make a consistent and regular posting schedule so your audience builds curiosity and expectations. The app algorithms tend to push up posts that do well in their first few moments of going live. It is especially beneficial when your post appears higher up on searches. For instance, on the explore page, new users who have never connected with your account get to see your content. When such users visit you out of curiosity, your posts begin showing on their feeds (if your posts are public) even if they do not turn into your followers immediately.
6. Stay on Top of Your Hashtag Usage:
One can never stress enough the importance of using hashtags on Instagram. Hashtags are your means of giving your post SEO benefits. Use the right ones, and in the right combination, you will soon see your post topping search charts and gaining more engagement. Use too many of them, and you might cause your viewers to be confused about your content’s true nature. It can backfire on your concentration as well as visibility. As long as you remember that not every hashtag enhanced post finds visibility based on the tag alone, you will be able to optimize your publication properly. When using tags:
- Do your study on what hashtags are trending and which hashtags are stagnant.
- Which hashtags are too vague or too generic for your post?
- Which hashtags are used frequently by your peers or competitors?
- What are good numbers for engagement rates when it comes to analyzing any hashtag used?
7. Perfect the SEO Game:
Whether you post a still visual or a long IGTV video, it is essential to get your SEO right. For this, pay attention to:
It is the description that accompanies your post. Whether it is a regular post, reel, or IGTV video, always use your primary keywords in the first sentence if possible. Use as many secondary keywords as necessary to place your content in the correct categories for search optimization. At the same time, ensure that your caption is easy to read by a scrolling IG user.
Like the keywords, hashtags help place your content in front of the right audiences. Use as many hashtags as necessary but keep in mind to not go overboard. Avoid generic hashtags, and create a few unique ones that can be explicitly identified with your brand.
Whenever applicable, use geotags, which help widen your impression and reach localized demographics. It is specifically recommended if your business benefits by targeting local audience groups.
It includes tags of other IG users, influencers, companies, or anyone else your post is made in collaboration with. You may be making a post of gratitude or recollection. Mentions widen your post’s target audience to include those tagged, which automatically helps you get seen by a bigger audience.
8. Be Authentic, Stand Apart:
It does not require you to work hard at all, and all you need to do is refuse the tendency to do what others are doing. While following the trend is essential to stay on top of IG algorithms, adding your authenticity to it is the trick. You don’t need to create original content for this, and you can use UGC or repost old material. You can put up reminders, teasers, and cliffhangers but ensure that what you post speaks for your brand.
9. Use Ad Features to Your Benefit:
Many business users are in two minds about using IG Ad features. One of the most budget-friendly means of self-promotion on the platform can help you climb the feeds and gain visibility. When you choose to promote a post or create a new ad for yourself using inbuilt Instagram tools, the platform uses its algorithms to give you a better impression and reach for the duration of the ad period at least. You will find yourself higher up in the search and explore page and on individual feeds. Use the ad feature to your advantage by:
- Having a clear understanding of what micro-goals you want to achieve using a particular ad.
- Promoting posts or content that already has a great engagement rate. Such a post already has established social proof for you and has the natural potential to attract more users.
- Clearly defining your target audience. It will enable you to get an increased ambit of reach and impressions in the right circles of app users and bring more potential for conversions.
- Identifying your time and budget. It will help you not burn a hole in your pocket and help you keep track of how close you are to achieving your micro-goals.
In addition, use CTA on your posts as frequently as you can to invite engagement and new audience traffic to your account.
10. Research, Revise, Reinvent:
While you must stick to your target goals, it is also essential to adapt to changes as and when needed spontaneously. Instagram as a platform is constantly evolving, and so is user behavior. Hence:
- Use tools to keep track of your Analytics and record how your posts are faring.
- Continually observe your target audience’s online behavior patterns.
- Have an understanding of when and how to promote your posts if need be.
- Make use of the latest app features to your advantage whenever you can.
Extra suggestion – Avoid Getting Shadow-Banned:
It can happen if your posts are not in keeping with IG terms and conditions or there is a sudden stagnancy in your engagement rates. Shadow-banning is a tricky and significant term whose rubric isn’t clear yet. In gist, the algorithms ignore your posts and do not give you visibility favoring other accounts because of some flaggable or suspicious activity (or non-activity) on your account. IG hasn’t yet revealed what makes its algorithms IGNORE certain pages more than sure others, and the platform is working towards making its workings more transparent by the day. Until more is known about shadow-banning, the best you can do is keep all activities legitimate and keep your actions consistent on the platform as you work towards finding a bigger audience for yourself on the network.
Being continually updated about everything related to Instagram is the key to understanding how best to work the algorithms in your favor. It may be challenging, but it is not impossible to build yourself a trending account and a strong brand image on the platform. Stay focused on your micro-goals and be adaptable to changing your marketing strategy when need be. If your budget permits, it’s never a bad idea to stow some finances away for a legit marketing investment now and then. If you stick to these basic ideas, you are sure to find the desired increase in your audience reach within the time limit you have set for yourself.