Social Media Tips: Win With Instagram

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

A fundamental rule of social media is this: stay up to date with algorithms. Every platform (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc) uses an algorithm to prioritize content.

This is the thing that determines not only what you see, but what your followers see. Understanding how it works, and how to manage it, will be crucial for gaining organic reach.

Last year, Instagram updated their algorithm. Released in a series of tweets by Instagram, these are the things that control the calculation:

  • What appears in your feed is controlled by the posts and accounts that you engage with the most.

  • This is also impacted by the timeliness of your posts, how often you use the app, and how many accounts you follow.

  • Ultimately, the algorithm evolves *or devolves* with the user. Your effective use of Instagram will impact the efficacy of your account.

In laymen's terms, that means your Instagram will be at its best if you produce consistent content, engage with other users, get engagement from users, and use the app frequently.

Here are a few tips to keep your Instagram competition ready.

1. Step Up Your Photo Quality

Instagram has told us that you will likely rank higher in your followers' feed if you have "great content." Of course, that's subjective but we do have a good idea of what they mean.

Instagram is a visual app. Copy comes secondary. You'll be best served by sharing visually appealing content. That is: bold colors, landscapes, and aesthetically-pleasing graphics.

Investing in creating professional visuals will boost your content in the feed.

2. Publish Consistent Stories

Instagram Stories don't necessarily impact the algorithm. However, they do put your content front and center. Instagram loves their 'Stories' feature.

When trying to decide between using Stories and a regular post, it would be okay to choose both. Publishing a story is an easy way to push your post out to your followers, the 'Stories' feature stays updated, and often pops up for the user.

In short, it increases the probability that your connect will be seen.

3. Publish More Video Content

Instagram has said that video isn't prioritized over a graphic. However, video consistently outperforms on the app.

This likely happens because of the auto-play feature. A video will have to grab the attention of the user, if even for a second. If you hook them, then you've succeeded. Remember, the algorithm rewards engagement. The longer someone spends interacting with your content, the better that is for you.

Instagram also provides some really cool features to share video. No longer limited by time, the app has featured IGTV for some time. This gives a place for long form video to live.

*Video is also beautiful content to share in Stories and in Instagram Reel -- something you should be investing in. Instagram Reel reaches to the entire Instagram audience, not just your followers.

4. Harness the Power of the Hashtag

As with most platforms today, hashtags matter.

Including hashtags with your post makes your post searchable. It will increase the probability of putting more eyes on your post.

If you're a bit old school and are afraid of being 'hashtag heavy' don't be. A recent study by Sprout Social found that the 'magic number' of hashtags from leading brands is 9 to 10. You can use 15+ and still score serious engagement.

Search for leading tags, find relevant tags, and boost that post.

5. Post During Peak Hours

As with any platform, you'll want to post during peak hours.

Each platform has its peak hour -- that is when most users are on the app. Your page will also have its own metrics based on the demographics of your followers.

Find more here on those peak hours

Posting during peak hours won't guarantee a flood of engagement. The algorithm still matters. But giving yourself all the tools to succeed is important.

Final Note

Here's what's important to understand: The algorithm is important in growing your engagement, but it's not everything. A platform's algorithm is constantly evolving. Your best bet is to stay up-to-date.

Outside of that, follow the rules above.

  • Post compelling content

  • Engage with your consumers -- encourage them to engage with you.

There are a lot of ways to call these rules into play. Building social media strategy and content calendar will set you up for success. Using scheduling tools will allow you to stay on time. Investing in production helps create that content.

After all of that, be authentic. You've got this!

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