Everyone's been talking a lot about the new Facebook algorithm, which is definitely a valid talking point (a lot has changed). But, another platform that has changed its algorithm in 2018 is Instagram.
I'm sure you are aware of some of the changes - the most noticeable being how Instagram does not show you posts in chronological order anymore. It's harder than ever to get your posts to show up first and get seen by your customers/followers.
So, what can you do TODAY to make sure your Instagram account doesn't drop off the grid?
Here are 7 tips to get you started beating the Instagram algorithm! Ready, go!
1. LIVE VIDEO/INSTAGRAM STORIES
Similar to Facebook, Instagram recognizes the importance of live video. It's more personal, promotes engagement, and is more effective at reaching audiences. Even if you're not a fan of live video, be sure that you're consistently posting to Instagram stories. Not only is it more engaging, but it's also where a majority of Instagram users are spending more of their time when using the app.
TIP: For added engagement, be sure to use the polling feature on Instagram!
2. ENGAGING POSTS
When your posts are engaging and people are commenting on your posts, the Instagram algorithm rewards you! But, this doesn't stop by people commenting and liking your photos. You need to be communicating with your audience too. You should be responding to all of the comments on your posts, even if it's just a simple like.
TIP: To entice people to engage with your posts, you need to truly engage and converse with them! Tell a story, ask questions, or reward your followers for commenting or liking your post.
3. LONG-SPENT POSTS
One way to move higher up in the Instagram algorithm is to make sure your followers are spending MORE time on your posts compared to other accounts they follow. Each second they spend looking at your post, the more likely you'll continue to end up in their feed and the higher you'll rank as a provider of valuable and meaningful content.
TIP: You can add multiple photos to an individual post, post videos, or write a longer enticing caption that makes people want to spend more time on your posts. Even by getting a follower to click the 'More..." button after your caption, you're increasing your value as an account according to Instagram's algorithm.
4. THE PERFECT TIME
If you're not using a platform or resource or even your Instagram Analytics to find the best time to post, go do that first! Why is this important? Because, it not only matters that people are engaging with your posts, but it matters HOW QUICKLY they are engaging with it too. So, you'll need to post when most of your followers or interested customers are using the app! This can change day-by-day as well, so you'll want to update this monthly to make sure when you're users are on Instagram.
Going along with number 2, this also means that your first hour or two following your post is the most important! If you have the time for it, try to be available to respond to comments soon after it's posted! The more quick engagement, the better here.
TIP: Most third-party platforms have this feature (like Later, Buffer, or Hootsuite), there are apps such as Prime that allow you to see the best time to post on Instagram, or you can try and use the free Instagram analytics (on business accounts only).
5. HASHTAG USE
Hashtags are one of the most overused, but also underspent tool that can truly help grow your following. You can use up to 30 hashtags on each post! However, 30 random hashtags can be less valuable than 3 super valuable hashtags, so be purposeful in your hashtag use. Never use spammy hashtags that include words like "follow for follow." There's also no point in using hashtags that are widely overused because they most likely won't get seen. These are hashtags such as #dogs or #dogsofinstagram.
People can now also follow hashtags, which can produce even more visibility for you! If a potential customer starts following the hashtag #dogwalkers so they can find dog walkers close to them, you can reach them that way by using that relevant hashtag.
TIP: Have about 20-25 hashtags on the ready saved in the notes of your phone that are related to your business type/content. Then, you can add about 5 more hashtags that are specifically related to each post, so as to not seem spammy and to make your hashtag use even more valuable and personalized to each post's content.
P.S. You can also add hashtags to your Instagram stories & if you don't want it to be seen by your followers, you can hide them behind an added graphic!
A quick way to add more engagement and visibility to your post is to add a location to each post. In fact, it's actually shown that posts with locations on their posts have 79% more engagement compared to posts without locations. You don't have to add a location for every post, but it certainly doesn't hurt and it doesn't add a lot of extra effort to do so.
TIP: If possible, try to change up the location every once in a while, especially if you are a business that has a specific physical location.
Instagram likes it when you try all of their features, so don't be afraid to mess around and try new features! Believe it or not, this helps you in the algorithm. Be an active user and an active participant in the Instagram world in order to see your visibility increase in your followers' feeds. Not only does this help your Instagram algorithm results, but it also makes you seem like an expert in your field (added bonus!).
TIP: Spend 10 minutes a week even going through and messing around with all of Instagram's new features! They are releasing stuff very frequently and consistently.
P.S. It also goes without saying that you need to be posting consistently on Instagram for any of the previous tips to TRULY matter! This doesn't mean you need to be posting 3 times a day by the way. If you're only posting on Tuesdays and Thursdays, that's totally fine - just try and maintain it and stay consistent!
I know how hard it is to keep up with the new trends, especially since we all have the pet industry and the marketing industry and the social media industry to keep up with! The algorithm is ALWAYS changing, but this is the information we have for 2018! Stay tuned for changes!
But for now, I hope this helps.
For other topics related to Instagram, head to the following related blog posts: