Following the 2018 revamp of Instagram – not only an aesthetic change, but an algorithmic overhaul too – users have been left in a state of confusion. What is an algorithm? Why do I need to care?
In order to master Instagram, whether for business or personal use, understanding the system is key to maximising the reach for your posts, so here’s a breakdown of the rules complex.
High engagement = high reach
To combat the fact that your posts are only seen by 10% of your followers, keep persisting! Engaging through all of Instagram’s features is the best way to push your post up to the top of your followers’ feeds. How? Instagram’s latest algorithm rewards activity, prioritising ‘popular’ posts that are tailored to your followers. Be a respectful online presence that your followers simply can’t ignore – but posting an Insta every hour is not the only way.
Additional features such as Instagram Stories enable you to actively reach out to followers through temporary photos, videos and polls. Instagram tracks the amount of people who view your story, participate in polls, utilise the ‘swipe up’ feature and who forward your story. The more engagement, the merrier!
However, this isn’t a one-way street. Your engagement with your following matters too. Instagram enjoys promoting posts with active conversation occurring in the comments between followers and the picture’s publisher. This activity will attract more attention to your posts as they subtly climb their way up to the top of everyone’s feeds.
Time is of the essence
Not to forget – response time is important. The algorithm rewards posts that get the most views in the least amount of time, meaning it is more beneficial to post when most of your followers are online. It is worth trying to suss out what time this generally occurs at, so you can queue posts, click and go.
Instagram also records how long users spend looking at your individual posts (hello Big Brother), benefitting you more if linger longer. This is where the strategic captions and creative hashtagging come into play – longer captions where the ‘read more’ prompt becomes visible encourages followers to spend longer amounts of time on your post. Top Tip: videos on Instagram must be 3 seconds or more, hence attracting more traffic to your posts. Uploading a few videos into your feed will encourage Instagram to promote your post higher in your followers’ feeds.
TLC for all Insta features
We can’t forget some of Instagram’s other features, designed specifically for follower engagement. Instagram Live enables users to connect in real-time with their following, ask questions and comment on the livestream. This combines the two algorithmic ideals of follower engagement and prolonged viewing of content. IGTV is both a new feature of Instagram, but a separate app too. This platform enables users to post pre-recorded videos over a minute long, up to an hour long. The algorithm considers the same
Essentially, Instagram’s new algorithm draws you to engage with the app in order to successfully reach your followers, so you can become more prolific across their feeds. Simultaneously, you need to have regular and quality interaction with your followers to maximise this algorithm and soar to the top of everyone’s feed.