Has the Instagram Algorithm affected you? I noticed a significant drop in my impressions, engagement, and number of new followers I received on a daily basis. The reason: Instagram’s 2019 Algorithm. Thanks to this new update, only 3-10% of your followers are able to see your post in their feed.
Whenever the algorithm terms updated or Instagram posted an alert on new “updates”, my first thought would always be, “Why would Instagram hurt themselves by ruining this experience for so many of us users?” or “This is it for Instagram. Time to find another app”. (I’ve searched by the way and nothing comes close to Instagram!) However, I decided to research and understand the reasons behind the changes seeing as we are in the game and our clients would love to know too. Here’s what I discovered:
Instagram’s goal is to monetize! Now you might think this is obvious or wonder how changing the algorithm does this, so let me explain in a simpler way. Instagram is a business and must make money in order to survive and stay open. Instagram is growing by double every single year, this means more servers, more staff and well you get the point. So how do they make money? By remaining one of the most important and relevant forms of social media. And how do they do so? By keeping users on their app as long as possible of course. How do they keep their users on Instagram? They don’t! We do! Because of this, Instagram favours accounts who can keep their followers as active and engaged as possible! Who would have thought!
Below are the easiest ways to keep your audience engaged to stay online for as long as possible:
- Post Photos / Videos
- Post Stories
- Instagram Lives
- Reply to your DMs (Yes ladies, even you with the hundreds of undread DM’s)
- Reply to Comments
Odds are you’re already doing most of these (well so I hope!), which is really great! The real question is: how often are you doing these?
Fact: The more time you spend on the app keeping your followers engaged, the more Instagram will favour your account. This means you should do a majority of these items listed above each and every day. Post your photos, videos, and stories daily, go live every day even if just for 2 minutes, answer your DM’s as soon as possible, and reply to comments on your latest posts immediately. If you aren’t doing these things daily, you will not see growth and will continue to feel the oppression of the 2019 Algorithm.
Now that you understand the logic behind Instagram and what they expect from you as a user, let’s dive into the specific tactics you can use to grow your Instagram under the new algorithm.
- When you post, engage/comment back within the first 60 minutes to help drive engagement. Not only will your followers appreciate it but Instagram will boost your post and show it to more of your followers!
- Do not edit your post’s caption or location tag for 24 hours! I’m not entirely sure why but doing such will significantly lower your chances for it to be seen. I assume this has to do with changing rules and captions to trick people which IG doesn’t want”.
- Do not delete your post and repost it. Same reason as above. I’ve done this before and my reposted photo tanked.
- Although you can use up to 30 hashtags in a post, this can now be picked up as spam. If Instagram thinks you are spamming, they will keep your reach low and “shadow ban” you. It’s been up in the air for a while about what the sweet spot with hashtags is, but people say that they seem to have better luck with about five unique hashtags. – Still unsure about this rule but test it out for yourself and see how it works.
- Do not use the same hashtags over and over again! Switch these up, or else it’ll look like you’re a bot, which means spam, which means lower reach.
- Post your hashtags in the comments vs. in the caption. I don’t think it honestly matters. I’ve tried both and sometimes my reach is great, and sometimes it sucks. My advice is to try it out for yourself and see how it works for you. I think posting hashtags in the comments look like spam, so I tend to stay away from doing that too often.
- Post more to gain more followers. I know this may seem like a risky option. If Instagram is only showing your content to 10% of your followers, then you’ll risk having lower engagement on posts you’ve worked hard on creating. But here’s why you should post more. When you post more, you will reach a higher percentage of people daily. For example, if I share two times a day, then I will reach about 20% of my followers instead of 10%. When more people can see your posts, the more your followers will engage. When your followers engage and use the app, Instagram takes notice and will share your account with other accounts, so your chances of gaining new followers increases.
- Post less for better engagement. I know I just said to post more. But from my experience when I post less, the reach of my overall post is higher. The reason being that your post has time to circulate. Because of the algorithm, our feeds are no longer in chronological order but catered to what Instagram thinks we want to see. When people follow you, Instagram knowns they would like to view your content. So even if Instagram doesn’t show your posts to a majority of your followers at first, it may get picked up by the algorithm and end up on your followers’ feeds later on. So try waiting a day or two before posting again.
- Geotag popular destinations. The sad truth is that Instagram will show your post to more followers if you geotag a popular destination. Some of these include Santorini, Venice, Barcelona, and Paris; essentially, any location that attracts many tourists or is trending. So if you’re reading this blog post because you want to gain more followers and have better engagement, one simple solution would be to visit and create content in super popular destinations. Some Instagrammers have done this with great success. Personally, I travel to places for other reasons than growing my IG.
Sidenote: I wouldn’t recommend tagging a photo in Santorini that isn’t Santorini. Instagram has recognition software, so I doubt you can fool them.
Other ways you can get on Instagram’s good side is by using their latest features such as stories highlight, following hashtags, and story polls.
- Since your post will only be reaching a fraction of your followers, it’s more important than ever to give your audience a reason to follow along. Now influencers will have to create and share only the best content, as well as become more available to their audiences (check out #3 for more).
- It’s time to get personal and focus more on creating a sense of community! Say goodbye to the silent influencer, and hello to your new, interactive friend. If you want to have engaged followers and grow a community, then you have to try to develop a real relationship. For example, when someone leaves in-depth comments about your post, try to respond with a question. By doing so, you may learn more about them and increase overall engagement. If someone DMs you, be kind and send a genuine response. Just be real people!
Basically, the new Instagram Algorithm encourages (and forcing others) to be more authentic and personal. So don’t worry so much about the numbers and start focusing on building relationships with your followers.