Today I want to talk about the Instagram algorithm and why understanding it can help you improve the results you get on the platform in terms of marketing.
Firstly, what exactly is an “algorithm”?
An algorithm is a set of calculations and factors that different platforms use to determine which pieces of content to show their users.
It’s how Instagram determines which posts are more relevant to the person, and why understanding it can help you get seen by more people.
Instagram has a few different factors that really determine what posts they show their users, but today we’ll cover the three main ones you should focus on. They are, timeliness, interest and relationships.
Timeliness simply comes down to how recent the post is and how long ago someone has visited Instagram. In this case, they’re trying to show their users new and exciting content. They’re less likely to show someone’s post from a year, month or week ago over someone who posted just a few hours ago.
What this means for your business is that it is incredibly important to stay consistent with your posting on the platform. You need to continue to post on a regular basis over time and make sure your posts a recent enough to be registered and come up.
A great benchmark I’ve always suggested for small businesses is to aim for one post per day. This keeps you up in peoples feeds on a consistent basis and can help build one of the other factors further down, the relationship between you and the user.
Instagram also gives you insights into the best times to post once you have a business profile set up too. You can see when your followers are most active and likely to be online, making it perfect for you to get your post seen.
The next factor that comes into play is about what level of interest someone has in the type of content you’re posting. Instagram wants to serve people more of what they already like, because then they’re more likely to keep consuming the content and stay on the platform.
How this works is based on what people interact with the most. If someone really likes looking and engaging with quote posts on Instagram, then Instagram is going to show and prioritise quote post in that persons feed.
The same thing applies if someone really engages with food posts for instance. It registers that person really enjoys consuming content related to food and will prioritise showing them food posts.
What this means for your business, is that you need to start posting content that genuinely interests them. Shocker.. I know!
There are some easy ways to start learning more about what your audience is interested in. You can start analysing what content is getting the most responses on your page and on other pages in your industry.
Then, start building content similar in nature that is either either providing them with valuable information, is visually appealing or is exciting.
The final factor we’re going to talk about is about the relationship between the person posting and the person consuming it. In this case, Instagram is really trying to build up their platform and promote engagement between users.
People are more likely to engage with posts from people they have a significant relationship with. Think about it. We engage more with content from our friends a family, and so Instagram is trying to make sure we see that content first.
Now your business page most likely isn’t best friends with any of your followers… yet.
But there is a way to strengthen the relationship with your followers. Instagram doesn’t have any tools to do some background checks on you and the person, so instead they need to rely on the data they do have.
This means they’ll register a relationship based on how often the people engage with one another, or how often someone comments on a persons posts, if they share the post themselves or tag anyone on it.
All these little actions are showcasing that this person is more likely to engage with your content and Instagram will trigger your posts to be seen over other people they follow.
For you and your business, you need to start spurring on those little engagements. Start adding in calls-to-action in your posts and asking people to comment, tag or like the post.
Also, start posting content that is worth talking about and sharing. Again, you’ll get a feel for this over time when you see which posts perform better. However, you can also do market research and see what type of content other pages are getting great responses with.
Finally, even taking the time to reply to comments and asking them questions to encourage more engagement. Instagram is going to love your posts if it can see all these big conversations taking place on them. Your followers will also love how active you are too.
So that’s the 3 main factors of the Instagram Algorithm and some things you can start to focus on when you create content. Remember, post consistently. Instagram prioritises fresh content to show its users.
Next, make sure you post relevant content for your audience. Post things they actually are interested in and will want to engage with and share.
Finally, encourage people to engage with your posts. Engage back with your audience and ask them questions. Start conversations and really build up your audience.