The Instagram Algorithm change this January hit most users hard. Increasingly, Instagram is making it more and more difficult for your content to be shown to your audience. Similar to Facebook, only around 10% of your audience actually see your posts. Some reports even say that reach is as low as 2%.
Despite the backlash of the removal of the chronological feed in 2016, there seems to be no sign of return.
In the following post, we will help you understand the Instagram algorithm changes in 2018 and provide you with some actionable tips to help you beat the changes.
Before we start. You need to know that Instagram, like every other platform, wants you to stay on their platform for as long as possible. They want to provide as much relevant content as possible to users and to determine what users engage with the most.
- Saved Posts
And any other way a user can interact with another account.
Leverage Instagram Stories
Instagram has over 300 million daily active users! Which is almost double that of Snapchat.
Instagram will reward you if you consistently post Stories, but they need to be as engaging as possible. Get people to engage with your stories by being creative with different colours, text, hashtags, GIFs, polls and Swipe up links (if you have less than 10k followers then direct users to DM you, this still works positively to engagements). Instagram likes it when you use their latest uploads and will reward you, so always look out for new changes.
The more people that open your stories, consume and engage your content, the more likely you are to show up in their feed. You are also more likely to be ranked higher on the order of their stories tab – at the top. So, this is a long-term strategy that can repeat itself.
In your Stories be sure to include hashtags and/or a location tag to further your reach.
Stay In Conversation With Your Audience
Not replying, or at least liking comments on your posts, is said to restrict your exposure to your own followers. Reply as quickly as possible with a meaningful comment rather than something that is generic and spammy. This strategy not only helps show your audience you, but it also increases the chances of increasing the visibility of your posts.
Using a tool like Hootsuite may be a good tool to manage comments and make sure you don’t miss them.
Find Out When Are Your Peak Times
If you want to grow your Instagram account, you need to be posting content to your audience when they are the most active. To see the peak times, first, you need to turn your account into a business account. Check the best days to post and what time to post through the analytics section.
The Instagram algorithm rewards you by the speed in which people engage with your content, which is why it is vital to post when people are more likely to be online. We also recommend scheduling your posts on Hootsuite, block out some time and schedule a block of posts so everything is automated.
Stop Users In Their Tracks With Captions
Write long captions so that users spend longer viewing your posts. Instagram favours accounts who people spend longer viewing their content. This is also why video is so successful. Also, use video to keep people on your content for longer.
Optimise Your Hashtags
You may copy and paste the same hashtags into your posts each time you post, which used to be okay. However, now Instagram is looking for more authentic posts. It is okay to copy some hashtags but mix them up rather than using the same ones all of the time.
Research the perfect hashtags, go to the search bar on Instagram and type in the hashtags you are currently using, or if you are new – type in hashtags that you would like to be found for. Search these terms and there will be suggestions at the top that are relevant to your query. Copy the more relevant hashtags and also click on them to find even more hashtags that you can use.
You can repeat this process by visiting your competitors or similar accounts and seeing what hashtags they use and then find out relevant hashtags based on what they are using. Use up to 30 hashtags on your posts to achieve maximum reach.
You can also follow hashtags so you can keep up to date with the latest popular hashtags.
When you are replying to comments on your own posts or commenting on other people’s posts, be as authentic as you can. Don’t just reply with generic short phrases or just emoji’s. This signals to Instagram that there is low-quality engagement going on.
Make meaningful comments that are at least 5 words long. This not only helps the Instagram algorithm but also gives you chance to network and build good relationships with audiences around Instagram.
As we previously mentioned, Instagram likes when you use their newest features. Although Instagram Live has been around for a while now, they are still keen to grow the feature. Aim to go live at least once a week if you want to build a following and tackle the algorithm.
Push notifications are often sent out to followers when a user goes live so, don’t worry about not having anyone watching – it will come.
Bonus Hack – Use Paid Advertising
If you are new and are struggling with the algorithm then use Instagram Ads to help you promote some of your content. Build a following so you can then start to implement more strategies and then grow organically. It is also rumoured that Instagram favours accounts organically that use paid to advertise regularly. If accounts are getting good results in both, then they are encouraged to continually use Instagram as a marketing platform
- Post high-quality content
- Use all of Instagram’s new and existing features
- Engage authentically and don’t spam
- Respond quickly to comments
- Use the right hashtags
- Optimise your strategy regularly
Instagram is a very popular social media marketing platform for many industries, be sure to include these points in your strategy in 2018 going forward.
What do you think of the new Instagram algorithm in 2018?
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