Last updated: April 13, 2020
With the increasing popularity of social media, many companies look for digital marketers who can manage their social accounts and increase popularity in the digital realm. One of the most popular of these social media platforms is Instagram. Almost everyone has experience using Instagram for personal pleasure and entertainment, but as a social media manager, specialist, or intern, that experience won’t cut it! Simply creating pretty content is not going to help gain greater engagement and reputation for your client. However, understanding Instagram’s algorithms and taking advantage of them can do wonders for any accounts you manage.
Instagram is a highly targeted, visual marketing channel where your client has an opportunity to build an audience and grow their business. Over 500 million Instagram users browse the app every day, making it home to some of the most engaged audiences around. But there are right ways, wrong ways, and clever ways to use Instagram. Understanding and applying these tips around Instagram’s algorithms will help you use Instagram the right and clever way while making you look like a killer social media manager!
The first thing we think about when managing an Instagram account is content. When thinking about what content needs to be created it is important to also think about when content should be published. Instagram’s algorithms favor accounts that are consistent with their published content. That means you need to get your content on a calendar. It needs to be planned out and published both consistently and frequently.
When you post good content consistently to Instagram, you’ll not only improve your engagement but it’s a signal to the algorithm that you’re a quality account; and Instagram rewards accounts that they see has quality. This increases your likelihood of being posted on peoples discover page and also sends your content to the top of your follower’s feed. So, remember the more frequently and consistently you post, the more like your audience will see and engage with your content while pleasing Instagram’s algorithms.
The engineers for Instagram have built algorithms to create the best experience for users. One thing that these algorithms do to make it a better experience, is they prioritize accounts that fall into a “close friends” category. They detect “close friends” by the amount of engagement a user has with an account. For example, if you comment on a lot of someone’s photos or are tagged in photos with them, this signals to Instagram that they probably fall into your “friends and family” category. So, if you want your followers to always see your content and have your content at the top of their feed, you need to engage often with them. Have notifications on so you know when people comment on a post, and make sure you respond to them. You not only want to make conversation on your post but make sure to comment on your followers’ posts and engage with their content. All of this is great to help increase your posts’ visibility.
The Instagram stories algorithm also puts a lot of focus on timeliness as it wants to make sure it’s always showing you the latest stories from your favorite accounts. That why some accounts that post regularly enough, will always appear at the top of your feed if you watch and engage with them! Spend time posting consistently to Instagram stories. By posting stories more often, you have a better chance of appearing at the top of the stories feed on a follower’s homepage – giving you multiple chances throughout the day to be discovered!
When creating stories you want to make sure your content invites users to engage with it. If users take a screenshot of your story, share it with another person, or tap and hold it for some time, Instagram then knows that people are very engaged with your content. All this signals to the algorithm that you’re a more credible account which will result in being pushed to the top of people’s feeds.
Staying informed on changing algorithms in the social media world is very important for all digital marketers to do. If you understand the algorithms, then you are in a better place to meet your clients’ needs for more engagement and more money! After creating content for the client’s social media feed for over three years, I can reassure you that following these tips will help you manipulate the algorithms to increase following and engagement. However, it so important to note that I don’t run Instagram accounts the same way I did three years ago. Algorithms change a little bit every year. These changes are almost always to protect the user and make Instagram a better social media platform. That is why it is important to stay informed when these changes happen so you can have a better experience as a social media specialist. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to get more engagement for a client while seeing no results for your hard work. So, stay on your toes and enjoy the changing world of digital marketing!
Social Media Strategist