Gaming Instagram’s Algorithm

June 21, 2018

Recent newcomers join Instagram to be up there with the veterans, welcoming followers and the attention they bring. But sometimes after being on the platform, for even years you can get stuck on the same follower count. 

Well first take a step back, realise we have all been there! Here are some tips and actions you can use to your advantage, to pull you from your Instagram slumber.

Algorithms are ruining Instagram! False.

Whether we like Instagram’s algorithm or not, it’s here and we need to start going with it, to clear a path for our content. 

You’re about to find out how the algorithm can work for you, but first, here’s how Instagram’s algorithm started changing, and how that’s affecting your brand or businesses on Instagram.

Instagram’s Older Algorithm

Before Instagram’s updated algorithm took shape, we had the old chronological feed. It worked well, really well.

We could upload a photo, write sweet captions, posdot and in that moment, our followers would see the post show up right at the top of their Instagram feed. 

Instagram’s team then changed the feed’s algorithm, which now shows us what we’re interested in, based on what we liked, commented on and who we followed. 

The Problem with Instagram’s Algorithm

So, what’s the problem with Instagram’s new algorithm? Well, compared with the previous version, there’s a drastic change that affects all accounts.

Imagine this, an IG user follows 75 Instagram marketing accounts and 25 travel accounts. (Normal feed shows 75% marketing posts and 25% travel photos)

One day the user decides to get their dose of wanderlust. Visiting the explore page, User starts liking and following accounts left right and centre of beautiful beaches, sunsets and Pina Coladas.

The user moves on and goes about their day while Instagram’s algorithm picks up on the sparkling beaches and changes their feed behind the scenes.

On opening Instagram again, their feed is populated with sunsets and sand. Most other posts that would usually show up from the marketing accounts have been pushed to the bottom.

Instagram does this because the data shows, at that moment, you want sunsets! This is all to do with your past Instagram sessions.

This can be terrible for your accounts growth and as you can see, this presents a new can of worms to navigate.

Posts at the bottom of the pack aren’t liked, shared or commented on, found on the explore page nearly as much as those surfing at the top. Adding insult to injury, Instagram assumes your account, and all of your posts are uninteresting and not important. 

Thus, your account sinks into Instagram’s deep abyss!

Instagram’s New Algorithm Strategies

What would you do with more information about your follower’s interests, likes and dislikes? Could there be some trick to gaming the system, or developing strategies to utilise Instagram’s new feed effectively?

Well, provided in the business back end is the statistics suite with all the tools and data you need to dig through all your posts. Even the stats from your top performing posts, and those which sank to the bottom of the pool.

So, what’s hidden in the business back end? And how can it help grow your accounts traffic exponentially?

Location (Country and city)

You can see the location of your followers, their country and even down to the cities they are from.  

  • You could start forming posts targeting specific cities, local events and developing news. Festivals going on nearby? Hit them up with hashtags and get access to the non-followers involved. Make your posts related in a natural and open way. 
  • You can see which time zones are most popular for your followers. Make the most of this knowledge and start posting within these time zones. Finding the best hours to post will be time well spent, but don’t forget to change this up occasionally to reach other, new followers.

Gender & Age 

Gender demographics and age are crucial to understanding your audience, if you haven’t already found this out, then you’re missing out!

Here are some questions you should be asking yourself.

  • Are your followers engaging more with certain posts than others? Could that be related their age and interests, or gender? 

  • Could you increase user engagement by creating similar posts to the best performing ones? Check what the right ratio of similar well engaging posts are. You don’t want to spam or over saturate your account or alienate new followers and non-followers alike!

You can break down the amount of new follower growth each week, and the ratio between male and females in a circular graph.

Follower Activity (Average user time, clicks)

Learning more about Instagram’s analytics and statistics will help you determine which posts are the most powerful within your target demographic. Play around with Instagram’s back end, get to grips with the terms and meaning behind these statistics.

Using these statistics will help give you the confidence to follow your Intuitional instinct. Create successful engaging content, test and find out what will surge towards the top of the explore page.

Now, going back to the most important part of building your Instagram business and brand accounts. 

Instagram Statistics – Best & Worst Posts

Crafting an engaging post takes a little testing and creativity on your part. But looking into Instagram’s statistics can take away some of the uncertainty. 

Opening up your statistics page, find two posts.

  • One of your best performing posts
  • One of your worst performing posts

The one that has done well, will often have more non-follower engagement than the worst performing content. 

Posts with high amounts of non-follower engagement likely appeared on the Instagram’s explorer page. That’s where most, if not all of the non-follower engagement comes from.

Experienced brands and businesses engage like this with their followers.

  • Intuitively asking for their opinions.
  • Inviting other people and follower’s friends into the conversation.
  • Encouraging Hashtag use and more comments.

These questions drive engagement and creates a snowball which increases exponentially with more comments, likes and shares. 

Creating unique posts and crafting engaging captions takes a bit of intuitive thought. Using the statistics based on your follower’s interests, demographics, and other information will help as a starting point and launching block.

Another research effort would be to check what your competitors are doing. Assess their best and worst posts, are there any glaring differences? Anything reason for the popularity or lack thereof in the comment section? Are your competitors successes consistent?

The more information you can gleam from researching these statistics, and looking at your follower’s comments, profiles and interest keys you in to developing consistent engagement.

These posts should be natural and non-intrusive, you want to attract not repel! 

Be creative, be different, be special. 

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