Back in 2009, Facebook launched its new algorithm. This enabled Facebook to work with a system that would put in order the posts from your friends and the groups you belong to, and the pages you liked would be shown as well. This algorithm is still a mystery to many but what we know is that Facebook is showing us what it thinks we “want” to see.
Will the new Instagram algorithm be another mystery? Let’s gather the clues and our magnifying glass to follow the footprints to beating the system.
Before, Instagram used to show photos in chronological order. The latest photo that you would see was the most recent photo uploaded by the users you follow. Now, the photo-sharing app wants to make your photo-sharing experience more customised and more personalised.
But how does the feed predict what we want? It infers from different bits of information gathered from your activity on the gram. Brands and businesses are wondering how they can use this algorithm to get more Instagram likes, followers, shares, comments, and general exposure overall on the monolithic social media platform.
How to play by the Instagram algorithm rules
More engagement from your audience
Instagram, even though they made a disclaimer before that the new algorithm is not a popularity contest, looks at the engagement status of your posts. The first factor affecting your feed is the number and frequency of engagement. This might seem to be a mouthful of words, but it just means Instagram takes into consideration the number of likes and comments a post receives. Usually, the posts you see at the top of your feed have the highest and the most number of likes and comments.
But likes and comments are not just the basis for you to go on top. Instagram prioritises the frequency of your engagement. If your posts gain high number of likes and comments in a specific amount of time, your post will certainly be on the top spot. With this in mind, it is best to strategise the time and schedule when your posts will be up, because posting at the right time, meaning when many users are online, means gaining the most comments and likes within the shortest period. This aspect lulls some to try buying Instagram followers and likes, but if you try that with a sketchy website, you might not even know it, but you might get the infamous Instagram shadowban.
Just like its brother’s algorithm, Instagram had also made sure that they timed your followers ‘engagement to your posts,’ though that does not mean that your followers should rush away from your posts to boost your popularity on the ‘Gram. You need to create longer engagement with your followers, and how will you make that happen?
Features like Instagram Boomerangs, videos and multiple photos lead to the longer engagement with your followers. You can also put on lengthy and entertaining, and thought-provoking captions for your followers to answer through comments. In the Instagram popularity scale, comment is more valuable than likes. So, asking random questions, like asking them to tag a friend, in the comments is a big boost to upping your ‘Gram game.
Regular Posting Schedule
Posting daily is another factor affecting the algorithm. For instance, you have not logged in your account for a few days, and once you opened, days-old popular posts will still be available in your feed. How does that happen? It is like Instagram wants you to catch up on posts which they think are important to you.
With the new system, even though there are times that it is harder to get likes, your posts have longer shelf-life. That is why your old posts are still getting traffic, meaning someone is catching up on your posts too.
Align your own Instagram activity with your brand image
The next factor is about who you interact most in Instagram. If you often view stories and direct message or comment on one person’s account, you will also see his or her contents more often in your home feed. You should notice that those users that you constantly view stories or like or comment on their posts, are the ones who are often placed on the left-most part of your stories, and the ones you always see in your feed. With Instagram’s new algorithm, the platform assumes that you like that person’s posts all the time, that is why it always show posts or users that post similar type of content that you always like and you always search about.
Similarly, if you frequently search a particular tag, or like and comment on similar posts, the app will display on your feed the same kind of posts. Instagram also takes into consideration the niche that you are constantly involved with. This also happens when you save or share posts to your friends and other accounts. Since you share that type of post, Instagram will assume that you enjoy these kinds and it will affect the future posts appearing on your feed. This is why if you went on a liking-spree on meme accounts, your feed on the following days will be continuously filled with memes.
With these factors, followers’ immersion to your posts is what Instagram is targeting. Your Instagram followers have to be involved in your posts, it’s no longer just about the numbers beside your profile photo. Instagram wants those who are using the platform to think more creatively and to gain genuine engagement with their current following rather than aiming to just gain more followers.
Create relationships with your audience
These factors prove that Instagram’s algorithm is also interaction and relationship based. So, creating connection with your followers, like associating hashtags that they like in your account, makes you visible in their feed. If you found out that your followers are into garden care and your account is a minimalism shop, you can like and comment on posts about garden care to make your account “relatable” and so that it will not get buried in their feed.
Creating longer engagement encourages your followers to comment back. Encouraging your followers to share your content and also being involved with your followers are as well the footprints to being Insta-famous. Aside from personalizing your ‘Gram experience, you will also be creative in posting content and building connections with your following. With critics saying that this is the age when most people are fame-hungry and narcissistic, largely attributed to social media, Instagram’s new algorithm may just be more than a popularity contest. The platform aims to promote genuine connections and engagement.