Get out your notebooks, kiddos, because I'm about to give you the secret recipe for Instagram's algorithm...
Did you know you're only seeing the top 30% of posts that go on Instagram? It's true! You're only seeing less than a third of all the posts being put up by the accounts you follow at any given time.
Why? Because of that pesky gremlin working behind the scenes: THE ALGORITHM!
But, here's the good news: once you know what the algorithm is, you can find out how it works (see below!). Once you know how it works, you can start to learn how to make it work for you!
Keep reading to find out the 3 most important ingredients in the Algorithm's recipe that determine whether your posts are making that coveted top 30%...
Here are the 3 Main Ingredients the IG Algorithm pays attention to when deciding what to put in front of users:
If a user has engaged with similar posts in the past - meaning if they “liked”, clicked through to your profile, DM’ed or commented- they are WAY more likely to see posts like that in the future.
When users engage with your content, it sends a signal to the IG algorithm that the user wants to see more of your posts. Every time someone engages, your ranking in the feed goes up.
It also takes note of engagement with accounts that are similar to yours- so if you’re a vegan food blogger and a user follows a bunch of other vegan food bloggers, that user is much more likely to discover and follow you.
Proof of this can really be seen in the “discover people” section where IG suggests “people you may know” or “accounts that follow you”.
MORAL OF THE STORY: GET SPECIFIC with your content so that people know exactly who you are and what you’re about. If your posts are all over the place, it’s WAY harder to find you.
While it may not be exactly chronological anymore, IG does take into account how recently something was posted. So, if a post from 2 days ago is getting a lot of engagement it will probably still be popping up in a lot of people’s feeds. But if it’s from a week ago, not so much. *A recent app update made this even more prevalent, really making sure users are seeing the most recent posts.
MORAL OF THE STORY: Post CONSISTENTLY. It doesn’t have to be every day, but if you want to use IG to its fullest potential, you should probably be posting every 3-7 days to keep your feed fresh and engaging.
SIDE NOTE: If you have an IG business profile, you can go into your “Insights” (looks like a bar graph logo) and see what days/times users who follow you are most likely to be on the app. This can help you target when you post so that it’s more likely to be seen.
Beyond if someone “likes” or saves or comments on a post, IG recognizes how OFTEN that happens; i.e. what is a person’s ongoing relationship with another user or account.
Example; you follow a celebrity account with millions of followers AND you follow your best friend who maybe has a thousand or two. But because you like every one of your BFF’s posts, get tagged in each other’s pictures, watch each other’s stories, etc., you’re going to see your BFF’s posts MORE than you see pics from that celebrity with millions of followers. That’s because the algorithm recognizes that you have a RELATIONSHIP with your BFF.
MORAL OF THE STORY: When users engage with your content, engage BACK! Like and reply to their comments, give them a follow if you feel so inclined, comment on their posts, etc. In other words, establish a relationship!
ANOTHER TIP? Be proactive in creating relationships. One way to do this is to tag other accounts you like in your own posts so IG starts to associate you with them (I do this all the time and it REALLY works! I’ve made some really great IG friends from accounts that have over 100K followers and are way “ahead” of me!).
STAY TUNED...Now that you know and understand what the algorithm is and what its purpose is, you can start to post with purpose to make it work for you.
Come back for my next post where I'll be talking about how to use Instagram Stories to increase your engagement in a totally non-icky way and get more eyes on your beeeeautiful profile, and ultimately, your business!