Instagram Hacks: Do You Even Understand That Darn Algorithm?

Lately, Instagram’s algorithm is a total Rubik’s cube. And just when we think we’ve solved it, there’s a new change and our posts are once again buried and unseen.

Is that why only seven people liked my snap of my puppy in his turtleneck sweater?! Ugh.

That darn algorithm is frustrating to all of us – from those who are capturing fire pics of our pets and babies, to those of us who relies on the medium for much of our branding.

So how do we master it?

Well, the first thing to know about Instagram is that the app is in the business of maximizing our attention spans, which is exactly what’s being sold to advertisers.

So, when you upload your latest awesome post, Instagram shows it to a small percentage of your followers. It then measures how quickly your audiences likes, shares, and comments, instantly comparing that stat with your previously posted pics. If this new post is garnering less attention than usual, it’s pushed farther down on your followers’ home pages. If, however, it’s blazing with hearts and comments and re-postings, your post will jump to the top and maybe even on other Explorer Pages, introducing you to more potential followers.

If you’re relying on Instagram to get your brand’s message to your audience, here are a few tips to outsmart that darn algorithm:

  • The new algorithm seems to limit your post’s exposure based on your quick responses to comments. (At The Found Gen, we always promote the idea of conversations over simply broadcasting, so we’re totally into this tip.)
  • Be verbose. Bot-esque comments apparently don’t count as true engagement, so make sure you use at least four words – not emojis – to alert the algorithm that you’re a genuine engager.
  • Story it. Instagram stories from accounts you engage with the most show up first, so polish up on your video – and selfie – skills.
  • Choose your hashtags wisely. Use tags that have high search results, but not so many that your post will be buried in the slew of other posts uploaded at the same time.
  • Test your content and measure engagement. Which posts draw the most attention? Do more of that.

Probably the greatest piece of advice we can give to those starting out in the Instagram branding game is to cultivate loyalty. True followers will find you, no matter the darn algorithm craziness.

Need some help with your Instagram marketing campaign? Our team at The Found Gen has mastered it, and we’re happy to guide you. Also, we’re here if you need help with your Rubik’s cube.