Instagram algorithm updates are the bane of our existence. They make us want to pull our hair out, throw away our phones and consume tequila (lots of tequila).
As soon as you seem to have it down, the algorithm rears its ugly head, making your tactics old news. So old, in fact, they make Betty White seem like she was born yesterday.
Posting regularly, and using hashtags, will not guarantee your content will be seen or reached by your intended audience anymore. Ah, remember the days when that was all it took?
But, we have come to a stage where you cannot fight it anymore. Instead, you need to consider how you can work with the algorithm to shake up your approach and keep ahead of the curve. Here are 5 ways you can algorithm-proof your Instagram account today.
1 Focus on Building Relationships & Conversations
Engagement is more important than ever before. Finding ways to build audience loyalty from your followers can help you earn that top spot in their feeds.
Create deeper relationships by doing the following:
- Write captions that encourage your audience to share their thoughts, and give them the opportunity to start a conversation with you.
- Focus on engagement. Ask your audience to tag a friend, or run a contest that encourages your audience to comment.
- User-generated content is all the rage. Repost content that your followers have posted, so that it inspires more sharing and further expands your digital footprint.
PRO TIP: Respond to comments while they’re fresh, to create social proof for your content. This helps your chances of earning more engagement while your post’s potential reach is at its peak.
2 Want Comments? Then Give Them
Let’s face it, we’re not all Kim Kardashian. If you want to build a following you need to be as engaged with your followers as you hope they will be on your account.
Comment on their posts, to start building relationships outside of your own content. By no means should you be a spam bot and write generic crap all over the place – people hate that! Rather put a little thought into a relevant and catchy one liner that makes potential customers double take when they see it.
Be strategic where you comment. Focus on larger accounts with big followings so that you can get your comment more visibility too. Think of accounts your target audience are likely to follow, follow them and join in on the conversation.
PRO TIP: After identifying where your comments are most valuable, opt to get notifications for new posts from that account. This helps increase the likelihood of being seen early on, thanks to Instagram’s focus on recency of posts.
3 Post In Peak Hours Always
Have you identified your peak posting times? This can be a little bit of trial and error, but start with your Instagram Analytics report, which is available to all Business profiles.
Click on the Audience tab in your Insights, and scroll down. You’ll see a small section showing you when your followers are online.
Play around with those peak times and see when works best for you. Perhaps posting just before the surge is better for your account. Or perhaps the opposite is true.
4 Hashtag Strategically
Hashtags on Instagram can help you increase your reach by helping you show up in relevant searches.
Make sure to be effective, however; you need to choose the hashtags that your target audience is actually conducting searches through to discover content and accounts.
Industry-specific hashtags are especially important. They may not have as many posts as the more popular hashtags, but are already being circulated and searched through by groups on Instagram looking to connect.
This is where you’ll actually get views that can lead to clicks through to your profile, engagement, and, hopefully, new followers.
5 Use Stories For Fun Content
Instagram Stories are for fun and are not subjected to the same algorithm as posts on your feed. This means that you can notify your audience when you post to your profile, just in case they don’t see it in their feed.
This is also a way to speak with your audience and create that engagement, loyalty and trust your perfectly curated profile sometimes battles to do.
There are so many ways you can have fun with your stories:
- Share Stories from others. Not only can you be notified when someone shares a story that mentions you, but you can then also share their story to your own.
- Add stickers with your branded hashtags. When users tap through on your branded hashtag sticker, they’ll be taken to a feed of static posts using that hashtag.
- Build engagement with interactive stickers. This includes poll stickers, emoji sliders, and question stickers. The latter allows you to ask users questions and then post their replies to additional stories later on.
Instagram’s algorithm is always going to be prone to change. I wonder what it will look like a year from now? But, as long as you’re changing with them, you’ll always be ahead of the curve.