Just a few months ago, Instagram updated its algorithm and you probably have noticed the changes yourself. Unlike before, posts are no longer showing on your feed based on their chronological order. Instead, you may be seeing more posts from people or brands that you constantly like or comment to. This is because, as Instagram’s product lead recently shared, “Instagram relies on machine learning based on your past behavior to create a unique feed for everyone. Even if you follow the exact same accounts as someone else, you’ll get a personalized feed based on how you interact with those accounts.”
While this move may be great for most users who prefer to see more posts from the ones they are really interested in and not just the ones who happen to have posted at the time they checked their feed, the new algorithm can be quite a challenge for Instagram users whose accounts are primarily utilized for the purpose of promoting their brand. If you happen to be feeling the gruesome repercussions of this recent change, don’t worry. These tricks will help you outsmart the latest Instagram algorithm:
Plan the Layout of Your Profile Page
It’s all about setting the stage for users to click on your posts, double tap on them, and leave their comments. And what better way to lure them into your posts than to layout your photos and videos ever so nicely that they look like a well-planned out collage? Take Nike’s Instagram profile, for example. Looking at their grid, you’d see a handsome arrangement of sports athletes’ close ups and action photos. Even the videos are meticulously edited to show cover photos which are aligned with the rest of the posts.
Let Your Brand Image Shine Through
Just as you make sure that all your marketing and advertising show your brand’s uniqueness, so too should your Instagram account. Developing a strong visual brand enables users to easily distinguish your posts from the rest of the feed. Take a look at Jansport’s page and you’ll see what a strong sense of branding is. Aside from their iconic bag design that’s visible on almost all of their posts, their profile is teeming with hip, young people enjoying life, which is basically what this brand is all about.
Hire a Professional Photographer or Videographer
If you want to stand out and get those very important likes on your Instagram posts, your photos and videos should be of excellent quality. Unless you have the skills and the right camera for the job, hiring a professional to take photos and videos for your Instagram post is the way to go. This way, you are sure to have attention-grabbing posts that are designed for storytelling, like those from Houzz’ Instagram profile.
Write Engaging Captions
Your posts should be accompanied by captions that either ask questions or compels your followers to comment or click on a link on your bio. Again, it’s all about engagement. And when people respond to your caption through comments or direct messages, make it a point to respond back.
Post More Instagram Stories
The new Instagram algorithm takes into account engagement in Stories as well, so be sure to post frequently on this feature, too. Aside from using its cool filters, effects, and add-ons to attract attention, be sure to reply to reactions or comments provided by your followers because the more the engagement, the more likely that your stories will show up in the users’ feeds. Your stories need not be confined to just one update per topic or day. Take Maybelline’s Instagram Stories, for example. This makeup brand shares more than one story from their events which, when watched altogether, gives the viewer a better feel of what’s happening.
Similar to Stories, posting Instagram Live videos is another way to engage with your followers. While Instagram Stories allows users to share photos and short videos which may be viewed and shared within 24 hours, Instagram Live allows users to share a live feed for a longer length of time, which other users can tune into and engage with in real-time. Live videos are bumped up in the Stories feed and if your followers opted to get notifications, they will be alerted whenever you go live.
Followers on Instagram are more likely to engage with you on this social media channel when they can relate to you and your brand. Instead of posting over-staged photos, show actual products as used in real life and behind-the-scenes shots. As mentioned earlier, it is recommended to hire professionals for taking photos and videos for your Instagram profile. This is necessary so you can capture your brand in the best light possible, not to enhance or alter it in a misleading way. The more real you are with your posts, the better.
Know the Perfect Timing
To improve your chances of engagement, you need to know when your target audience is most active and schedule your posts accordingly. It is useful to switch to a business account on Instagram so you can view the days and specific hours which have the most engagement among users. A lot of online platforms, such as Hootsuite, can be used to schedule your posts.
Host a Contest
One failproof way to increase user engagement on Instagram is to host a contest on a regular basis. Everybody loves winning free stuff, so you can expect a lot of people to join these activities. This is also a great way to increase your followers and to create a positive image for your brand. There is no single formula for determining how frequent these contests should be done, but you might want to launch these during less active months so you can increase engagement and brand awareness.
Keep in mind that Instagram introduces changes in its algorithm every once in a while, so it pays to always be updated and to take the necessary steps to maintain your brand’s visibility to your target audience. Take note of these tricks, and watch your engagement rate on Instagram soar!