Instagram users, including us, have been sharing their frustrations lately about the fact that not as many people are seeing their posts. This is an issue for businesses who want to attract new clients, and influencers who depend on growth and engagement to determine their monthly income.
We got fed up after hitting a plateau with our Instagram content's reach and video views, so we decided to do some research. After discovering these updates within Instagram's algorithm, we were able to revamp our online marketing plan based on what we learned. This information has helped us to outsmart the system and continue growing our following.
Here's how it works:
1. THE EXPLORE PAGE
Did you know that Instagram's Explore page actually has its own separate algorithm? Yep, it does. Instagram is determined to make the contents of the page personalized to fit each individual user's interests and interactions.
When you select the search icon to view your own Explore page, it will show completely different content than what pops up on anyone else's Explore page. This is because it’s designed to help you find new content that the app believes YOU will enjoy. The app determines what you like based on what you regularly like, share, and comment on throughout the Instagram app.
Earlier this year, Instagram launched topic channels on Explore with the aim to give users a new way to discover content around their specific interests on Instagram.
2. THE ALGORITHM TRIES TO ASSUME HOW MUCH YOU CARE
Recently, the Instagram algorithm was updated so that you won't miss as much content from your favorite profiles. They recently reported that IG users miss an average of 70% of the content that's shared by others, meaning you only see about 30% of what the people you follow might share in a day. For example: if your favorite online business posts 10 times a day, you'll probably only see it 3 times each day.
After taking notice of this, and receiving feedback from users, Instagram updated the algorithm in a way that uses your engagement with others, how consistently you actually post, and how often you use the app in general. They explained that "The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post."
This simply means that if you use the app more often, engage with profiles you like more often, and post more often (consistently), your followers are likely to see more than the average 30% of your content.
3. YOUR RELATIONSHIPS MIGHT DETERMINE YOUR VISIBILITY
Word on these digital marketing streets is... Instagram may or may not be categorizing your followers into relationship based groups like Close Friends, Family, Fans, Favorite Stores, etc. Many credible online marketing companies have researched this claim thoroughly, but Instagram has yet to confirm or comment on the rumor.
However, if this is true, it means that your content is primarily being pushed toward profiles who you communicate with the most via comments and messages. You can outsmart this limitation by commenting regularly on profiles that you don't normally chat with, and even jumping into conversations with their followers who probably comment on a regular basis anyway.
Another way to get around the relationship barrier is to respond to your messages more often. Even when you get messages that are advertisements, respond with "No thank you" or a question about their services so that you can start a conversation which shows the app that they're interested in you. Increasing DM interactions can increase the likelihood that the other person's followers will see your content more often.
4. TIMING IS EVERYTHING
One of the Instagram app's primary purposes is to show you the latest, trendiest content that will be most interesting to you individually. For this reason, it has to factor in the time of your posts and the amount of engagement that takes place depending on how long ago the content was posted.
Content with high engagement during short time-periods can be promoted to more users at a faster rate than content with low engagement over an extended period of time. We avoided the limitations of timing by studying what time our followers are most active on Instagram each day, and posting the most content during those time periods. By determining the best times to post based on your followers' engagement, you'll be able to trick the algorithm into expanding the reach of your content -- giving you access to more potential followers and customers.
5. YOU'RE A FOLLOWER TOO!
The algorithm tracks who you follow, and that can determine who follows you. Ever followed someone and then got suggestions on who else to follow based on that decision? That's where this applies. In order to become one of those suggested profiles to follow, you should try to unfollow accounts that aren't related to what you're promoting. Then, follow more accounts that are either related to what you do or what your target audience is interested in. By connecting yourself to other similar users this way, you'll increase the likelihood of being categorized by Instagram and promoted to users with similar interests.
It might seem impossible to keep up with the Insta-algorithm updates because they rarely make announcements about it, but you can keep your content circulating successfully by doing your research when you notice negative changes. For now, try using the app more often, engaging with new people regularly, and posting more consistently. Need help organizing your online business goals? CLICK HERE to check out our "BOSSIN UP IN 90 DAYS" GOAL PLANNER FOR ENTREPRENEURS.