I hear and see so many entrepreneurs, business owners and bloggers mentioning how difficult Instagram seems to be for business these days. With regular algorithm updates, Instagram seem to be making it harder and harder to grow your following and create genuine engagement that’s actually going to move the needle in your business. With a few changes to your strategy, you can beat the Instagram algorithm…
The truth is this can be a genuinely powerful platform when it comes to finding and reaching your dream audience. Instagram has become a powerful tool for business, the problem is that Instagram HQ knows this. Yes the latest updates can benefit the everyday user, but they also encourage businesses to spend money on the platform. Essentially, Instagram are trying to further monetize their platform, and after all, it is a business, so we can’t blame them really.
Once you’ve got your head around this, you might start looking at the platform a little differently, and using it differently too. You don’t have to spend a fortune to make Instagram work for your business either, you just need to be aware of how the algorithms work, and how to beat them…
The latest algorithm update…
The most recent update in 2018 caused many bloggers and brands to notice their likes and comments on each post dramatically drop. For many this has also resulted in stagnant followers or a slow decline in followers.
The latest update means that users are now much more likely to see the posts and stories from the accounts that they already interact with. This means that a huge amount of your followers are far less likely to see your posts, particularly if interaction hasn’t played a strong role in your strategy to date.
From the users side, this means that the likes and comments that you leave drive what you see on your newsfeed. Instagram is providing the users with the posts that they think they are most likely to interact with first. In addition, the 2018 algorithm also gives priority to accounts that have more engagement.
Five ways you can beat the latest algorithm…
Working towards creating better engagement and growing your following doesn’t mean having to completely change your strategy, or spend hours on Instagram everyday. There are a few things that you can do to improve your engagement levels and ensure your posts get seen…
1. Post Consistently
This seems pretty obvious, but one of the most important things to keep your audience engaged and ensure they are actually seeing your posts is to publish content consistently. Popping up with a new post once a week and adding a story every two weeks won’t really cut it. In order to ensure your audience actually sees your posts, you want them to engage with you regularly, and to encourage them to do that, you need to post regularly too.
Around once a day is ideal, and adding to your story daily is important too. Consistency goes further than just posting daily though, you need to be consistent across the board. Make sure you’re consistently adding value to your audience, consistent in your style, and consistently showing up for your followers.
2. Consider updating your hashtag strategy
The way in which we use hashtags has changed a little recently, due to Instagram introducing the option to follow hashtags. In addition, if you’re using hashtags that aren’t entirely relevant to your posts, there’s a small chance a user might mark your post as irrelevant, flagging to the platform that your post might not be of high quality or of interest to the user.
When it comes to hashtags, the main goal is to appear on the top posts page, as this will result in more eyes on your content, and more engagement. It’s also important to consider the hashtags that people might follow, and to ensure that your content is relevant to the hashtags you are using.
Make use of the 30 hashtag limit per post, but carefully consider the hashtags that you do use, to increase your reach and engagement levels.
3. Encourage tags and comments
As interaction is absolutely key to nailing Instagram marketing, it’s important to encourage people to comment on your posts, and better still, to tag other users to extend your reach. You can do this by asking questions in your captions, give your audience something to talk about, and something to discus with other users. You can also encourage tags by including ‘tag a friend who…’ or similar in your captions. Try kicking this off by launching a competition where users have to tag three more to enter.
Captions are also important indicators to the algorithm, as the more time a user spends on your post, the more important Instagram will consider it to be. Write longer captions for your posts, tell a story, ask questions and encourage your audience to engage with you.
4. Respond to all interaction quickly
In addition to encouraging comments, you should also respond to all interaction quickly. This will help show Instagram that you’re a user that is genuinely engaged with your audience, as well as totting up more comments on your posts, which will in turn boost your post further and encourage even more engagement.
Try to encourage more comments, by asking questions, and when possible, respond to comments within an hour.
5. Use all available features
Instagram wants to see that you’re actually using the platform in full, rather than just using it to post and promote your own content. Use all of the available features, you can do this in as little as ten minutes a day, and it’s well worth the extra effort. You can do this by…
Following some key hashtags that will help you find people that are interested in what you do, and interact with the posts using the hashtags daily to extend your reach
Commenting on and like posts via your feed from accounts that you already follow
Watching five minutes worth of stories a day, and interacting with a few too. You can even do this while you’re working, just press play on the first story and let it run for five minutes
Post your own daily stories. This feature is one of the best ways to extend the reach on your account and encourage more engagement, so post stories daily.
Nailing Instagram can be done in as little as 20-30 minutes effort each day. When you get it right, it can completely transform your business. Remember the key is engagement, and adding value to the platform.
What’s your experience with the algorithm updates? Do you have any tips of your own? Share your thoughts and advice…