New Coke. Pepsi Crystal. The iPhone battery life after an update. All examples of how a brand can royally screw up a good thing! I’ve often wondered why brands and corporations can’t leave well enough alone; they always have to “improve upon” what is already working, and loved! The same can be said about Facebook and Instagram. For some reason unknown to the masses, the good folks behind Facebook and Instagram have decided that users no longer need a chronological feed, but rather a feed that is based on your interactions and engagement. Sounds good, right? But if you haven’t interacted with someone, say, because you’re working an 8 hour shift, the Instagram algorithm reads that as “she’s not interested. We won’t show this in her feed.” Or something…who knows? The whole process is so mysterious and full of secrets!
For those of us who use Instagram for work (influencers, bloggers, and small brands) and depend upon real engagement for our livelihood, the Instagram algorithm and its’ random updates, is a stressful challenge! Many bloggers and influencers are now reporting decreased engagement, less likes, and less exposure. All of which trickles down to less page views for blog posts, and less earning potential. So how can a blogger who depends on social media for clicks, collabs, and promo, beat the Instagram algorithm?
1. Content, Content, Content. Most bloggers and influencers know that content is key, but I’m going to have to beat a dead horse and say it one more time. If you haven’t drilled down your niche and target audience yet, now is the time. Figure out who you want to speak to (for example, my niche is plus sized fashion, and simple glam), and make sure that your content is relevant to your niche! Quality content boils down to ensuring that your pictures, videos, and stories are tailored specifically for your targeted audience, as they will be more likely to like, or comment on your posts, and drive up your presence in their feed!
An Instagram feed that does a great job of posting quality, targeted content is @bossladiesmindset. The goal of this account is to inspire and empower women with an entrepreneurial mindset. They constantly post motivational quotes and imagery for the #bossbabe set, and with 251K followers; they are clearly succeeding in their aim!
2. Instagram Like/Share Groups. I’ve experienced a lot of Instagram growth through participating in Facebook groups. I know that a lot of people are against this approach (comment pods and groups have gotten a bad rep), but many Facebook groups have an “Instant Like” option in which you drop your Instagram photo link, and participants in the thread have 30 minutes to like every photo linked in the post. This means that when you post a photo to Instagram, you get instant engagement, which helps you get around the Instagram algorithm, and your photo gets moved to the “front of the queue”. Most Facebook groups for Instagram support also have daily “Like” and “Comment” threads as well. This method won’t increase your followers though, so you still need to ensure that you are posting quality and targeted content!
*If you join either of these groups, please ensure that you follow the directions to join, as well as adhere to the rules of the groups once accepted!
3. Hashtags. Some people love ‘em, and some people hate ‘em, but Instagram allows you to use up to 30 per post, so I say go for it!!! I recommend using about 10-15 hashtags, as there’s a lot of scary talk about Instagram shadowbanning users who go crazy with hashtags. Just make sure that your hashtags have less than 1 million posts, as it will increase your chances of staying in the first few rows of pics on the hashtag. Also, make sure that your hashtags are targeted toward your niche. Some of the hashtags I use frequently are #NCblogger, #plussizeblogger, and #plussizefashion. They are all popular hashtags, which give me added exposure, but they are not so popular that I rapidly fall to the bottom of the queue for the tag. It’s also a good idea to create a hashtag specifically for your brand. You can tag your blog name, or your product. You can find a complete list of hashtag ideas on this list!
4. Use a Call to Action in each post. Call to actions are very effective when it comes to increasing the engagement rates of your target audience. You’ve seen people doing this, or perhaps you’ve done it yourself without even realizing it! Some examples of CTA’s that are popular on IG posts include “comment below if you…”, “tag a friend in the comments if…”, etc. Because you are asking your audience to interact with your post, you are increasing the likelihood of your posts being featured higher on their feeds, or even on the explore page! The Instagram algorithm considers people engaging with your content on a regular basis as a sign of interest, and in turn, will ensure that your posts are seen for continued engagement.
Here’s an example of how @Sephora uses a call to action to engage their audience:
5. Use Influencer Strategies. Influencers, whether they have 100,000 and up follower counts, or 1500 (microinfluencers are on the rise!) have a lot of social media power, and brands are looking to influencers to expand their reach! The use of influencers has become more critical to brands than older methods of advertising for two reasons: because people tend to believe the recommendations of those they are familiar with, or feel a connection to, and because posts from influencers are more likely to show up in the feeds of target audiences, due to the audience already engaging with their feeds! Whether you’re a blogger, influencer, or just want personal Instagram growth, you can use Infuencer strategies (shouting out brands, tagging brands, targeted hashtags) to garner attention to your feed! I’ll use my own Instagram to show an example of how an influencer can promote a product:
I’m certainly not famous, nor do I have a huge follower count, and you don’t have to either! You simply have to have the attention of a targeted and engaged audience!
Do you have any tips or tricks for beating the Instagram Algorithm?
Leave them in the comments below! ??
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