The Instagram algorithm is what determines when – and if – your posts are shown to other people… and it’s constantly changing.
Every Tuesday on our Step Out Buffalo for Business’s Instagram Stories we break down our favorite marketing tips and tricks in 2 minutes or less. Recently we’ve been discussing the Instagram algorithm and how to master it in 2021 – keep reading to learn more!
The Instagram algorithm dictates the order of the posts that users see when they’re scrolling through their feed. The algorithm is an automated programming feature that websites and social media apps use which follows a specific set of rules to determine who sees what content, how often, and when.
The Instagram algorithm changes all the time, as the people behind the app update what they deem to be the most important facets of posts and Stories with the goal of keeping people on the app for as long as possible.
The algorithm prioritizes posts based on both users’ individual preferences and an overarching set of rules, with the goal of pushing the best and most relevant posts towards the top of users’ timelines to encourage engagement and extended use.
It is important to understand the Instagram algorithm in order to ensure that your business’s content is being seen by as many people as possible, so we’re going to break down 3 of our favorite ways you can hack the IG algorithm this year!
Here’s 3 ways you can beat the Instagram algorithm in 2021:
1) Active engagement
The 2021 Instagram algorithm is all about active engagement from followers. What does this mean? The more a person engages with your content (or you engage with their content – presuming they also follow you), the more Instagram will serve your content to that user.
Where can you start? A good place to start is with comments! Comments indicate to Instagram that someone is actively using the platform, and they also keep you top of mind with people that you are interacting with. Not only that, but comments encourage people to visit your page and interact with it *more*, which is exactly what the Instagram algorithm wants to see. The more interaction a post or page receives, the more Instagram puts that account’s content in front of followers. The same thing can be applied to DMs and Story reactions.
Utilizing DMs and Story replies are important because just like comments, they show Instagram that you are an active user. The more actively engaged you are with your followers and the accounts you follow and that and your followers are with you, the more Instagram thinks your account is beneficial to its goal of keeping users on the platform and thus pushes your content out at a higher frequency.
2) Extend the length of time people are spending on your posts
The Instagram algorithm also wants to see that people are spending time looking at people’s content. The longer someone spends watching a video, looking at a photo, or reading a caption, the more valuable Instagram considers that post and the account that published it (because it’s keeping people on the platform for longer, even if it’s just milliseconds).
How can you get people to stay watching/looking at/reading your content for as long as possible? Utilize videos and Reels which by their nature will keep people looking at your content longer than they would a single image post. Another great idea? Use longer captions on your posts to keep people reading for just a little bit longer! Pro-tip: try sharing anecdotes, letting people know about your featured products and services, sharing helpful tips and advice, or getting personal with your followers.
3) Encourage ‘saves’
Something new the Insta algorithm is prioritizing in 2021? Saves. Saving is a relatively new way that users can keep and organize posts they wants to refer back to later, with the option to create and categorize posts into folders similar to Pinterest. The save feature is only available for feed content at the moment, and is located just below images/videos and above the caption on the far right.
Why is Instagram so invested in people saving posts? It all goes back to their goal of wanting to keep people using the platform as a resource (and thus, staying on the platform for longer). When posts and videos are saved, it gives users a reason to go back into the app to find and use them later, which means one post can keep users coming back into the app time and time again. Some ways your business can get people to save your posts? Be informative and provide helpful information that will have your followers doing just that. A few ideas: share recipes, let people know different ways to use your products/services, share relatable stories, provide helpful tips, share how your products/services can help solve problems, give people ideas for things like holidays, dates, etc. The more beneficial and useful your content, the more likely it is to be saved!
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