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How to Make Instagram’s Algorithm Work For You Instead of Against You

Whatever strategy you choose for promotion on IG, it all has to work for one goal – to use the ranking algorithms in your favor. This is a struggle for each 50 likes on Instagram because even such a small number makes the difference. To beat the system, you have to create the right strategy. But remember that you should focus on the quality of your content, whatever goal you set. The smartest decision here is to unite all your goals and develop a versatile tactic. So, this article is about how you should promote your content on Instagram to gain influence on the platform.

How It Works In 2021

The ranking system of Instagram is constantly changing. Sometimes the changes are slight, and sometimes they are more radical. Unless having friends in Instagram headquarters, it is impossible for a blogger to know what specifically will be effective for growth strategy and gaining likes. However, personal analysis and attention to your profile can give you a general understanding of what you should do.

What do we know about the fresh version of Instagram ranking? With the implementation of the ranked feed, the system is relying much more on the behavior of the user. Each time a person browses through the app, Instagram collects the information about what posts were the most engaging for them and organizes feed posts and Explore section accordingly. It organizes the appearance of stories too.

The main criteria that the system is taking to account are:

  • Relationship (if user is following you, interacting with your content often, so on)
  • Interest (Which type of content engages user the most)
  • Timeline (how often user is checking the app)
  • The time of the session (what period user spends online)

The obvious conclusion here is: for successful growth on Instagram in 2021 you have to make efforts not only to attract but retain users’ attention. Next, you will read how to do that.

1.   Create carousel posts

The Instagram algorithm doesn’t prefer carousels in any way, but users do. Carousels are more engaging to people because multiple photos allow squeezing in more content to one post. For brands, this is a wonderful opportunity for product description and showcasing. For individuals, carousels give an additional option for engaging their followers and get likes.

Pro tip: one of the popular ways to use the carousel is to post texts there. This way you can divide your long-read into smaller units, making it more comfortable to read and avoiding huge captions under the post.

2.   Consistent posting

Regular uploading is a key for many goals you may set, like increasing the engagement rate, providing better reach, gainning  more likes or getting more followers. And if for businesses the frequency can play a huge part, for nonprofits there is no need to overload their followers with posts. However, consistency still matters. Even if you post once a week, it has to be the same day and preferably the same time.

  • Regular posts – at least once a week
  • Stories – daily
  • Other types of content (IGTV, Live) – once 1-2 weeks.

Pro tip: Be careful with stories though. It is recommended to upload them daily, but the quality is always before quantity. If you don’t have enough content, it is better to post stories less often, but preserve the quality of them.

3.   Don’t trust the myths

As the actual workflow of Instagram algorithms is unknown to the majority, there are many myths that can get you off the track:

  • Instagram doesn’t drop down your statistics mechanically if you do “wrong” posts. However, if your content does violate the Community Guidelines, you get your profile disabled.
  • There is no additional boost for business profiles, verified profiles, or creator profiles. The only perk is Insights.
  • Stories impact the appearance of feed posts. No, they are not. But Reels and IGTV do.
  • Branded content doesn’t get a special benefit.

4.   Try to implement Reels

Reels are appearing in the feed, so they can impact the ranking. Hence, you must try to come up with a consistent content idea to use the popularity of this feature. As Instagram wants more people to discover this feature, it gets a preference in feed organization. Reels is basically an attempt of Instagram to mimic a successful content type from another platform, in this case – TikTok. This strategy is not new, and knowing the previous cases, probably successful, so you should try Reels for good reason.

Pro tip: do not use videos that you shoot for TikTok. The watermark of the app will let you out. The user’s logical question is – why don’t you post it on Tik Tok? Try to come up with original content.

5.   Use hashtags

Hashtags are the ancestor of modern algorithms and they still play a huge part in your discoverability on the platform. Basically, hashtags are a technical detail that categorizes your posts. With the modern technologies that sort out the content for users, hashtags help you to expand your influence, as the system will show your content to users who demonstrated interest in this industry. On Instagram, people can follow hashtags too, which is why adding the right ones is important to widen your target group.

Pro tip: the main rule is the same – don’t throw in general tags like #instamood, #lovelyweather, or #instagirls mindlessly. Proper hashtagging requires research and analysis for success.

6.   Post at the right time

Another clue that helps you to gain attention and likes from the audience and as a result, rank higher, is hitting the perfect time of uploading your posts. If you match the period when your audience is active at most, you will seriously increase your visibility on the platform. Here is the main benefit of having a business profile – Insights is an easy way to detect when followers are stuck to the platform and how much time on average they stay here. This information is your weapon because your goal is to attract as many viewers as possible at the moment you upload the post. Instagram ranking systems will appreciate that as well because Instagram wants to keep users engaged as long as possible too.

Pro tip: if you find out that your audience is active at the time you are busy – use content planners and automatized posting systems to maintain the schedule.

7.   Establish relationships with your followers

There is nothing better for you than getting attention and appreciation from your audience. In terms of promotion, organic growth is always preferred. But to make people addicted to your content, you have to reach out to them. The deeper is the connection between you and your followers, the better would be your position in the ranking, the better will be your discoverability.

The key is communication because that’s why people come to Instagram in the first place. Be attentive to your audience and keep them entertained. If users feel a bond with you, they will gladly pay for their positive emotions with likes, views, comments, and reactions.

8.   Provide top-quality content

And the most effective instrument in your pocket for gaining influence on Instagram is the quality of your content. Many mistakes can be forgiven if you provide something truly original and interesting. Good content attracts and engages people, and since the modern ranking algorithm is oriented on user behavior, that is the ultimate leverage for success. Thoughtful captions and beautiful visuals can hook a lot of people who weren’t even interested in your industry at first.

Conclusion

The researches show that the modern Instagram algorithm is taking into account the behavior of users before all. So your main task is to create something that will make people notice you and give likes to your content. Huge stats don’t have such a big meaning as they did before. But the quality of your content and your relationship with your audience do.