Instagram Algorithm

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You probably have heard people say that they hate the new Instagram algorithm. Have you seen the above post (or one similar) floating across Instagram lately? Well, what if I told you that this a hoax and 100% NOT true!?

Imagine that you're following 2,000 accounts on Instagram and on average you spend 30 minutes to an hour on the app each day. Now imagine that those 2,000 accounts each post 3-5 posts per day within a 12-hour period. How many of those accounts would you expect to see on your feed each day? How many of there 3-5 posts do you think you would see?

Now, imagine that you are a the owner of an Instagram business account. Imagine that you have over 10,000 followers who each follow over 2,000 accounts. Each of those 2,000 accounts posts 3-5 times a day. Imagine that each of your 10K followers only spend about an hour on Instagram each day and only 15% of them are online at the time that you post. That means that your 3-5 posts are competing to be seen every single day on your follower's feed because they follow over 2,000 other accounts that also interest them to a certain degree and they aren't always online when you are.

So, how can you ensure that your posts are seen? Is it possible for you to ensure that more of your followers see your posts? This is where the algorithm comes into play.

You've probably heard the word 'algorithm' thrown around by people complaining that the Instagram algorithm sucks. Some even say it's preventing them from getting likes or engagement. Unfortunately, those people are confused about how the Instagram algorithm works. In essence, the Instagram algorithm appears to suck for some businesses, but for others (like mine) it's wonderful and extremely helpful.

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How the Instagram Algorithm Works

The algorithm is what determines who sees your content and who doesn't. Algorithms are constantly changing so this is why it's important for businesses on Instagram to constantly revisit their strategies and stay up-to-date on changes.

So, here's how Instagram's algorithm works. Essentially, IG's algorithm works to show users the most relevant posts to their interests first and the least relevant last. That means that out of the 2,000 accounts that they follow, if Instagram believes your content is more relevant to that user then they'll make sure that your content is pushed closer to the top of their feed.

So, as you scroll through your own feed you may notice that the accounts you see most often/ at the top of your feed are ones that you "like" a lot, comment on, mention in your stories, etc. Or you may notice that you see posts relevant to things that interest you and what you post about.

For example, I NEVER see my own sister's posts in my feed, nor my close friends. The first posts I see everyday are typically from a female entrepreneur who is a millennial. All of them are women I have posted about on multiple occasions, I may have engaged with them on various occassions or have continuously liked their posts. My feed is also flooded with boutiques because I post about boutiques every single day and most of the accounts I follow are female entrepreneurs who own a boutique.

So, here's the question that's probably swirling around in your head; "Why aren't my followers liking my posts?"You may be thinking "well, they followed me so that must mean that they enjoy my content and like me?" But, according to their Instagram usage that isn't the case. Instagram is paying close attention to our activity on their platform. And because they want us to spend as much time as possible on the app, they work hard to continuously show us a feed of content that they believe is relevant to our interests based on what we look at, like, search for and engage with while using the app.

Additionally, depending on the number of accounts that the person follows that are similar to yours or maybe selling similar things, you'll have to fight for a spot above all of the other accounts like yours.

So, what can you do it about it?

Well, for starters, let's focus on building a following of the right people. Your followers should be within your target audience and likely potential customers. Focus on building relationships as you get new followers. Encourage new followers to turn on post notifications so they'll be alerted when you post something new. That way, even if your content isn't at the top of their feed, they'll be notified when you post something new.

Also, it's important for you to remember that this is a SOCIAL network. So don't expect people to just come to you. Get out there and find them and when you find them engage with them on their posts (like and/or comment).

For example, have you ever noticed a brand commenting underneath a celebrity or influencers post? Make sure that you post something genuine, nothing forced or that comes off as overly forward. Engage in a meaningful way.

Work to produce the best possible content that will draw your target audience to you and use hashtags. Click here to read my post about hashtags.

Five Ways to Get Around the Instagram Algorithm

  1. Don't follow accounts without reason.
  2. Target followers who are actually in your target audience and engage with the type of people you want to follow you.
  3. Encourage followers to turn on post notifications.
  4. Let go of the notion that lots of followers equals success. It just decreases the likelihood that the right people will see your posts.
  5. Engage with your followers on their posts even if they don't engage with you.