How to Stay Relevant with the Instagram Algorithm in 2018

April 4, 2018

Long gone are the days where we got to see our content in order of what was posted last. Now our timelines are filled images and videos that could have been posted anywhere from 2 minutes ago to 3 days ago. Facebook started this transformation of timelines with an algorithm that favours organic content, showing us what it thinks we want to see and interact with. Instagram followed suit and have recently added features such as the ability to follow hashtags and a ‘recommend for you’ section to see what friends have liked. 

Instagram is now largely showing organic content, with feeds based on the interactions the user has with various accounts. This means the posts on your feed are put in the order with level of interaction through likes, comments, shares, saves and communication on Instagram stories. Therefore business pages and posts are often way down the list reaching a small percentage of eyeballs even when they have a large following. 

Stay On Top 

Bad for Business but Good for Influencers 

When used in the right way, Influencers can vastly increase brand awareness and eventually lead to paying customers. But users on Instagram are increasingly becoming more aware to being ‘sold’ to, therefore there’s now a need for authenticity within the market. The key is for the influencers and businesses to have a deep understanding of their audience and leverage their strengths to build a narrative in an authentic fashion. When this happens users are more interested in the content when they feel the influencers actually connect and are users of the product.

Nothing Beats Great Photography 

It’s quality over quantity. If you want to stand a chance against the 80m photos circulated on Instagram everyday then you need to have professional, unique and sometimes artistic shots. Even if you can’t afford a professional photographer, invest in a high quality camera to make sure everything is picture perfect. 

But that’s not the only reason to make sure you have quality content. New posts are measured against your average engagement levels and if your new post is less than your average, the lower is appears on your audiences feed and on the explore pages. Hence, engagement is everything in this space. 

Time It Right 

In order to get the most eyeballs on your content, you need know when most of your target users are active. To get an insight into this, business accounts can see the days and times where there is the most engagement from their audience and schedule posts in these times. There are great tools such as Hootsuite that could automate your posts for you.

Engage With Users 

Instagram Stories are a great way to hike up those important engagement levels. This is great if your posts aren’t seeing the attention needed to boost the brand. Stories offer different ways for users to engage, such as replying to a story, sending it to someone, creating live videos or the newest feature of polls. The more you commit to providing quality content and conversing with users, the more likely that your posts will feature much higher in feeds. Also persuading users to switch on post notifications are a sure way to make sure your content reaches your audience every time. With the new ability to follow hashtags, you can capitalize off trending conversations and gather data on user behavior.  

Instagram will implement small changes to this algorithm to focus on ‘delighting’ users with what they want to see. Therefore businesses need to make incremental changes in their social media strategy to make sure they are getting the optimum reach. Looking into your analytics is paramount. You can analyse posts that have the most engagement levels and then replicate these results with new content, creating a surefire way to success. Measuring these statistics will give insights to what is working and what isn’t. Fundamentally, learning about how the algorithm works is an important aspect to social media strategy, enabling you to leverage it in your favor.

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