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Understanding Instagram’s New Algorithm

Updated: Sep 14, 2022

Understanding Instagram's New Algorithm in 2018

Just when marketers and bloggers thought they had figured it all out on how to get on top, Instagram goes and completely changes their algorithm AGAIN. While many people have been freaking out about how will affect their growth- it may not be a bad thing. All of these changes are meant to promote authentic engagement. Let be honest, for a second you couldn’t tell anymore what was real and what was fake.

Did that blogger really grow that quickly or did she buy followers? That comment a random account left- was it an actual person or a bot? Are you really getting that many likes from your ACTUAL customers or fake accounts?

Instagram caught on to all of the “hacks” and they are NOT having it. They want REAL users ENGAGING with what they like and are interested in. Here are a few of my notes on understanding Instagram’s new algorithm in 2018 (this is exactly what I am using when creating Instagram strategies for my clients in 2018):

  • Post Engagements At An All Time Low For EVERYONE.

We have all noticed it. I see people posting about this every single day in the various business groups that I am apart of. I’ve noticed it on my personal accounts, as well as everyone that I work with.

When you post a photo, Instagram initially only shows it to 10% of your followers. If your photo receives great engagement they will show it right away to the rest of your audience. If it does not get many comments or likes, people may be seeing your post days later. When a post receives a ton of likes and comments immediately, it gives a signal to Instagram that your post is high quality and that more people would want to see that type of content.

The positive side of this new system is that content is in our feed longer than it use to be. Even if your post shows up days later- you can post less often because you are still seen.

PRO TIP: When planning content for your next month, check your Instagram analytics (business pages only) to see which type of your posts do the best.

  • Make Your Audience CARE.

A great way to have your audience start to care is utilizing the Instagram Stories feature. The more stories you post, the more people will remember you and your name. If you try to be transparent, personable, take people behind the scenes- you will start reeling people’s emotions in without them even realizing it!

In 2018, stories will continue to dominate and will become essential in everyone’s marketing strategy. The new algorithm takes into account all of the interactions you receive on your Instagram Stories- such as replies in your DM and if your story is sent to another user. Take advantage of the polling features and the swipe up link (only available if you have 10k+ followers). If you have less than 10k followers, a great way to boost engagement is to mention in your story “DM me for the link.” This will boost traffic to your inbox, and in return will tell Instagram that people are interested in your content.

Once your stories start to have views and interaction, bring them back to your PROFILE when you post a new photo. As soon as you post new content, create a quick video mentioning that you have a new photo and you would love to hear from your audience about __________. Ask them to comment their answer on your most recent photo! You can even feature a few comments to make people want to interact in the chance of them getting featured!

  • Interact With Your Followers & Potential Followers.

As soon as you post a photo- you HAVE to stay on top of incoming comments within the first hour. Respond to comments before the hour ends otherwise it may decrease your visibility. Treat your comment section like a conversation. Try to reply in a way that requires a response back!

PRO TIP: When planning content for your next month, check your Instagram analytics (business pages only) to see when your audience is most active.

Aside from interacting only with YOUR posts- interact with your target audience. This is the BEST way to build a following organically. Make a list of your top 5 competitors. Take 20 minutes each day to go through their follower list and like/comment/follow their accounts. But make sure you are leaving valuable comments. If this person is following your competitor, they are more likely to check out your profile and follow you back.

  • The New Hashtag Rules

Long are the days of posting 30 most popular hashtags in the comment section. Rumor has it that those won’t even show up anymore in the hashtag search! Posting 30 hashtags is now considered “spammy” and can get you shadow banned! I know encourage my clients to post only 5 VERY SPECIFIC hashtags right in their captions.

Also don’t forget that you can use hashtags in your stories to get featured in the hashtag search section!

A few last notes:

  • Using the location feature on your posts and stories gives you more exposure to those in your area.

  • Instagram has caught onto comment pods. Using these on their platform can get you shadow banned. At this point in time I am not sure of Telegram comment pods are affected negatively.

  • Editing your caption within 24 hours of posting takes a ding on your post.

You can’t be lazy with Instagram. You have to get creative and put in thought into your captions, hashtags, and posting times. I hope this post provided some valuable information as you plan your digital marketing strategy for the next year!

If you haven’t already, join my FREE Facebook group where we discuss all things marketing: social media hacks, email marketing, blogging, public relations and more! Here’s the link:

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