Beating the Instagram Algorithm

Honest Communications, a specialist garden and home PR agency, social media management, content creation and communications agency

Have you ever created the perfect social media post that looks great, provides all the information it needs to and is scheduled for a prime time, only for it to flop? This is happening regularly for many businesses, content creators and influencers and yet it’s not actually the content that is the issue.

Social media channels are regularly changing their algorithms, altering the way content is delivered and seen by followers. However, the latest changes to the Instagram algorithm have really shaken things up, with many users barely seeing any content from their favourite profiles, impacting reach and engagement heavily.

But what is an algorithm and how does it work? Every time a user opens the app, the algorithm combs through all the available content deciding what to show each user and in what order. There are three main factors the current algorithm will use in order to select your content; relationship, interest and relevancy.

Relationships play a key part in selecting content for your feed. The algorithm will assess the relationship between the user and author of the content, favouring those who have had multiple interactions with one another. So, the more you engage with a specific account through likes, comments, shares and tags, the more likely you are to see their content on your feed.

Interests also play an important part in the selection of content, with the algorithm assessing whether or not the user will typically interact with the type of content you have put out. If the algorithm spots that you’re interested in grow your own content, it will show you a variety of vegetables, allotments and how to plant content.

The relevancy of the content is also used by the algorithm with Instagram favouring content that fits in with trending topics as well as its timeliness. Recent posts are considered more relevant than something posted a few days ago.

There are so many other factors that are included in the algorithm such as followers, how much time is spent on the app and how frequently along with algorithms for the feed, reels and explore tab. It’s no wonder content creators are having a hard time!

So the big question is how do we beat the algorithm to ensure that our content is being seen?

1)      Active community management can improve a brand’s visibility, make sure you’re replying to all your DM’s and comments, and are interacting with your followers. Similarly asking questions in your posts and encouraging commentary is a great way to start a conversation. Use stories to ask a question, start a poll and use emoji sliders.

2)      The more you interact with your followers, the more likely the algorithm is to put your content in front of them straight away. This will help the post be seen by more external users, and in turn increase reach and engagement.

3)      Get creative by adding reels to your content plan – short, snappy, fun videos will be ranked for their entertainment value. Using the most popular songs or audio is a key way to get content seen on the explore tab.

4)      Schedule your content for the right time for maximum reach. Regularly analysing your channel metrics will help determine a posting schedule.

5)      Hashtags are free and a great way to expand reach past your followers. Use accurate and descriptive hashtags to label your content for maximum reach.

6)      Consistent posting is key to helping with reach, engagement and follower growth. Choose how frequently you think you can post and stick to it, scheduling ahead where possible.

7)      There’s no point posting to your channels if you aren’t going to use the metrics to help them grow. Take the time to look at the reach and engagement and work out what is working for you.

8)      Respect Instagram’s community guidelines and ensure the information you are sharing doesn’t go against them

Creating content for social media involves a lot of trial and error before finding a process that works for you, especially with the way the new algorithm works. Remember content is king and consistency is key.

If you’re looking for support with your social media channels email