Ever since Instagram rolled out their algorithm based feed in March 2016, businesses have been fighting to stay as viewing priority on Instagram’s feed to get the attention of their followers and remain of relevance. Gone were the days where we are able to view posts in chronological order; in its place, we are left with a “messy” feed that might have ignited the frustration in many avid Instagram users — yes, we feel you!
How the New Algorithm works
Your Instagram feed is now curated based on what Instagram thinks you are interested in. In other words, your feed is a curation based on your historical interactions with your “friends and family”, a term coined by Instagram to represent all the people you have been interacting with on Instagram.
This is inclusive of the stories you have watched, the direct messages you have sent, the likes and comments you have left on their Instagram posts and stories.
Instagram takes all of these interactions as a factor to predict the quality of relationship you have with your followers. If your posts are assumed to have a high engagement rate with your followers, they will be of top priority on their feed.
In order to make your business work around this new algorithm, here’s a couple of tips on how to make use of it and stand out to your followers!
Tricking The Algorithm
Tip #1: Sustaining a Brand Aesthetic
A consistent theme allows your followers to easily identify the posts published by your Instagram account.
This applies to both Instagram posts and Instagram stories — where people are highly attracted to pleasant aesthetics. Tying your Instagram account to positive imagery through consistent posts further strengthens your brand image.
This increases the likelihood of your followers remembering your Instagram account for the enjoyable sustained theme and viewing your posts, rather than clicking away.
If you are unsure about the kind of theme that your followers relate your brand to, one way to do so is to identify your top liked posts on Instagram!
Here, you are able to identify your top posts through Popular Chips, which acts as a mood board for you to refer as you curate your Instagram feed. Knowing your best performing posts allows you to understand the kind of brand aesthetics your followers like or that they associate your brand with, as they are posts that generated the highest engagement and growth. This could be a result of either the colours used or even the style adopted.
Tip #2: Encouraging Interaction through Instagram Stories
Another way to trick the Instagram algorithm is through maximising the use of Instagram stories. Similar to Instagram’s algorithm where posts are no longer shown on one’s feed based on chronological order,
Instagram Stories are prioritised, with your stories appearing frequently to followers who spend the most time viewing your content.
The more your followers interact with your Instagram stories, the higher the frequency of your Instagram stories appearing on their Instagram feed!
Not all businesses have caught up with the habit of posting Instagram stories, and it is key that one continues posting to build an engaged audience. Luckily for us, Instagram has been continuously rolling out new features every month (if not, week!), allowing us the flexibility to construct our Instagram brand identity.
Ask Me A Question
Singaporean influencer Rebecca @beccabeczten has too adopted this feature, as found in her Instagram story highlights.
This ask-and-answer feature is an awesome way to increase engagement with your followers as it prompts a response from them.
Using this feature allows your audience to better know you as an influencer or brand. In general, this keeps them invested in your stories, reducing the rate of swipes away from your stories.
Instagram account Apartment Therapy has utilised the swipe-up feature during this holiday season.
You are able to add links to your Instagram stories, driving traffic and increasing reach. The ease of availability to access information also translates to a higher number of visits.
However, the swipe-up feature is only applicable to Instagram business accounts with more than 10k followers. If you have lesser than 10k followers but would still wish to direct your followers to several links you may have, it would be good to consider platforms that offer this service such as lnk.bio. Once Instagram senses the increased interaction, the frequency of your Instagram posts and stories appearing to the follower will too increase.
Tip #3: Scheduling Your Best Time to Post
Aside from the amount of engagement one gets from their posts,
Instagram factors in the duration it takes for posts to get engagement.
Being able to generate a high number of likes and comments within a short period of time appears to Instagram that your post is of quality content. Hence, your Instagram posts will appear more frequently on your follower’s feed. Therefore, understanding your best time to post is important so that you would be able to maximise your reach.
Tip #4: Ensuring a Longer Viewing Rate of Your Followers
Instagram understands that the longer the length of time your followers spend viewing your posts, the higher their interest in your content.
This will translate to Instagram prioritising your posts and stories to appear on the top of your followers feed. To ensure your followers spend a long time on your posts, posting Instagram videos is one of the methods to prolong viewing rate as videos incur a higher consumption time compared to images.
Another method you can use to lengthen viewing rate is to create Instagram carousel posts. Through this, you are able to share multiple posts and videos up to 10, in one single post. Viewers will spend a longer time swiping your posts, thereby driving up the engagement rate with your content and ultimately a higher chance of your posts prioritised on their feed.
To stay on top of the latest features and adapt to the new changes, it is important that influencers and brands apply these strategies to optimize Instagram’s new algorithm. Do remember to take your time to understand this new algorithm, and work your way around it.
Once you have tried out these methods or if you have any more suggestions, do let me know how it works out for you!