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What is the algorithm, and why does everyone want to beat it so badly? For savvy marketers and Instagram newbies alike, the algorithm can be an endless source of frustration. But with a few tips from Kicks Digital Marketing, you can get the most out of your posts. Here’s how.
Every time you open Instagram, your feed is populated with posts from accounts you follow. But the posts you see first can feel random — it’s not always the most recently posted photo that shows up first.
Instagram’s algorithm is the method behind the madness. Its goal is to help you make the most of your time on the platform. To do that, the algorithm instantly combs through every single piece of content, then uses a bunch of signals to predict what you want to see first.
The algorithm ranks different pieces of content differently depending on what part of the app you’re using. For example, on the static feed or in stories, you’re probably just catching up with friends or keeping up with the Kardashians. When you’re on the explore page, you’re probably looking for new things you might be interested in. The way that content is ranked will be very specific to your interests.
What are ranking signals? There are four different categories of metadata that the algorithm considers when it analyzes and scores content.
Instagram is structured to find posts for your eyeballs, and it starts with how each user behaves while using the app. It looks at things such as, what kind of posts is the user engaging with, does the user like to comment or do they watch creepily without saying a word, how many accounts does the user follow, and how long do they spend time on Instagram.
The algorithm looks at information about about the post — was it posted recently, are the people who see it engaging with it, what hashtags are being used, is it a video, a photo, or carousel, how long are people looking at the post, are people rewatching it, saving it or coming back to it?
Then Instagram looks at information about the creator who posted the content — *cough* that’s you. It looks at how often you post, do you have friends, have you been flagged or reported, do people search for you, do people look up your profile, and then finally Instagram looks at the relationship between you and your potential viewer or target audience.
All of these go into the Instagram scoring system and it decides where your content shows up in your viewers’ feed.
There’s no secret button you can press to outsmart the algorithm — but there are ways to encourage it to give your post the love and attention it deserves. Those tricks all have one common denominator: engagement.
The more people interact with your posts, the more people will see them! Sounds like a chicken and egg situation, right? Luckily, it’s not as big of a challenge as you think. Try the following tips to increase your viewership and engagement.
This shows the algorithm that people actually care about you and what you
have to say. Andddd that you also care about them enough to repost.
Engaging with your audience is why you are here! This helps build rapport
and a community of engaged followers that will *drum roll*… boost your
Instagram reels are a new tool in the marketer’s playbook. Reels are short videos that you can add music, text and even AR effects to. They’re starting to take up more and more real estate on the Instagram app, so it’s not a bad idea to take a crash course in reels sooner than later.
Instagram wants people to love reels just as much as they do stories. Why?
Because TikTok is Instagram’s shinier and cooler sister that steals much of the
precious spotlight these days. So, they must compete and they are taking you along for the journey and prioritizing reels in feeds.
A single photo per post doesn’t always cut it. Carousels are a way to upload two or more photos to a single post, and users can swipe between them to see extra content.
We do the research so you don’t have to. Carousels get 3 times the
engagement and 1.4 times the reach of regular photos.
Shampoo, rinse, repeat. Instagram measures how long users look at or watch
your posts. Make content that will stop the scroll. Finding your niche will help
It’s important to create content that people will want to save so that they can
refer back to it later.
The algorithm pays attention to posts that result in profile taps — anndddd
this is an easy way to increase traffic to your site. Win-win.
The algorithm prioritizes recent posts over older ones. You don’t want to
show up to your audience's house when they aren’t home with a full band
and song prepared. You get one shot for optimal viewership.
To help you with this, Kicks Digital Marketing utilizes specific data software on your behalf to post your content at the most optimal times. Simply put, we make sure the right post shows up for the right person at the right time.
Hashtags are essentially Instagram’s sorting process. They can help your post reach your target audience, attract followers, and develop a more recognizable brand image.
Hashtags are powerful, but with great power comes great responsibility. They can take your business to new heights, but without a solid strategy they become pointless and inefficient.
Kicks can help you by building a solid hashtag strategy backed by extensive
research on your audience and competition to help your content break
through the rut of the algorithm and be seen by the masses.
The Instagram algorithm is ever-evolving. By the time you read this, it will have changed and it will be time for a new blog. Think of it like trying to catch the snitch. The good news is, Kicks is a good seeker.
We are consistently keeping up with the algorithm and applying it to all of our clients’ social strategies to help them win. If the algorithm is driving you insane, know you aren’t alone and don’t ever have to do it alone.
Kicks is here to help. Get in touch and let’s put the algorithm in its place for good.
The average person spends nearly 20 hours a week on social media. How does yours rank?
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