Do you ever feel like it’s a coin toss on whether what you post to Instagram that day will get the reaction you’re hoping for?
“Is my picture quality good enough?”
“Is my caption too long… too short…. too boring…. too intense?”
“Did I use enough hashtags… did I use too many hashtags?”
If you allow yourself, you can rack your brain for hours before ever hitting the share button.
Fortunately for all of us that like change, we’re in luck because the way we receive engagement on our personal and business pages is changing due to Instagram’s ever changing algorithm.
Keeping up with the algorithm
Before you tune this out because the word algorithm instantly makes your blood pressure rise, know it’s attainable to work with once you know how it works.
The easiest way to help understand what Instagram’s algorithm is doing is to observe what you’re seeing on your feeds and IG stories.
IG strives to make their site unique to you. So it stores the things you like, save, comment on and click. This is why every other video on my explore page is of Meghan Markle, #issues.
It doesn’t stop there though. IG now strives to guess what you’re interested in before you ever show interest. Based on your previous behavior, it will pick content similar to what you’re accustomed to liking and analyze what it is about a post that you like.
Finding your niche and creating an audience around that niche will help create a foundation for Instagram to use in your favor. If you constantly put content out there that your audience is accustomed to engaging with, Instagram will note that and show your post on more of your follower’s feeds.
When you post something to Instagram, the algorithm calculates how much your audience will like it based on how quickly it picks up traction. So, when IG decides to place your content on someone else’s feed, the question to ask is: is that person clicking on it, liking it, saving it or commenting on it? If the answer is YES, then the algorithm will categorize it as popular content and show it to more people. If the answer is no, then that is Instagram’s cue to replace your content with something more engaging. Nothing personal. It’s just the game.
A great way to help keep engagement up during the onset of a post is to be active when you initially post. When someone comments on your post, try to comment back quickly. Also, share your post in your own IG story to get more eyes on your content which can, in return, produce more engagement.
Instagram cares about who you care about. Meaning, it keeps tabs on the people you engage the most with and assumes your “friends” will continue engaging with your fresh content.
An easy way to create connectivity with specific followers is to like their posts, comment on their posts and tag them in your posts/stories. Chances are, they will do the same thing for you. Aw look at that, a digital friendship is born.
The power of the story
Now that you have the fundamentals of the algorithm, you can easily segue into capitalizing on your IG stories. In fact, I did a test for a week to show what stories did for my own page.
Below shows whether I posted an IG story, a regular post (or both) and the followers that resulted from it:
- Wednesday: story, no post.
5 new followers, total: 1,446
- Thursday: story and post.
17 new followers, total: 1,457
- Friday: story, no post.
3 new followers, total: 1,451
- Saturday: story, no post.
4 new followers, total: 1,455
- Sunday: story, no post.
4 new followers, total: 1,451
- Monday: story, and post.
13 new followers, total: 1,464
- Tuesday: story, and post.
6 new followers, total: 1,470
- Wednesday: story, no post.
31 new followers, total: 1,501
Total Growth: 55 New Followers
You can see that days I just posted an IG story, still resulted in growth. Of course people are into the “follow to unfollow” game so these stats reflect that. However, it doesn’t discount the power of the story.
What’s even better about these results is unlike your posts, people don’t care if your IG stories are doctored up. In fact, your followers actually prefer authentic videos/pictures in your stories. I simply posted what I was doing, put a hashtag and let Instagram’s algorithm do the rest.
Get To Know The Author:
Courtney is a news anchor turned social media coordinator & content creator.
She loves educating her followers on social trends, skincare, and wellness.