7 Easy Hacks to Surviving Instagram’s Algorithm Changes & GROW
If you’ve been scrolling through the ‘gram lately, there’s about a 110% chance you’ve seen a brand or influencer post about their engagement dropping. Maybe you’ve noticed a shift yourself.
Since Instagram’s major algorithm changes in 2018, there has been a nosedive in the reach and engagement of users posts. In fact, many claim their posts are only being shared with 7% of their followers.
Instagram took to Twitter in January in response to this, clarifying that they were not ‘hiding posts’ from followers, but they are prioritising posts from accounts each user engages with the most.
And how do you get more engagement? you ask. Here are our top tips to maximise your reach and engagement, in order to survive the algorithm changes and continue to expand.
Firstly, Instagram is a transaction...
Before getting into the specifics, the most important thing to remember is Instagram is a transaction. Users want and need to gain something by following you. Whether it’s information on your products or service, pleasing aesthetics, entertaining stories… the list goes on. Understand what it is you have to offer and what your followers best respond to. Once you’ve defined this, give them what they want! Make your content so damn good they can’t help but engage with your posts, and their engagement will make your posts take preference in their feed.
Ok, now into the nitty gritty...
A consistent Instagram vibe is vital for gaining and maintaining followers. First impressions count, and if a user falls in love with your aesthetic they’re guaranteed to engage. When curating your Insta page, consider how you want your it to feel, and how this will align with your overall product and branding. Your theme is a way to establish another level of connection with your followers and customers. Some users opt for a bright and bubbly theme, while others take a more simple and professional approach to their theme. Choosing a colour palette and consistently sticking to it is key to creating a cohesive theme across your account. Some themes we love include: thecleancollective, halotopau, aww.sam and happyskincare.
Once you’ve nailed your Instagram theme, content is king. Now more than ever is the time to step-up your content game. Catch followers attention, as they scroll through their feed, with high-quality images and videos. The ideal type of content depends on your personal theme and brand. However, you should always ensure you are offering your followers the kind of content they engage with best. There are a number of awesome free editing apps out there that you can use to take your content up a notch. Some of our favourites include VSCO, Afterlight and Adobe Lightroom CC.
Start a Conversation
What better what to promote more engagement than to start a conversation on your posts? Ask questions in your captions, compel people to tag their friends and reply to followers comments. By starting a conversation you’re simultaneously building a deeper relationship with your followers (who are also your customers) and giving your brand a personal voice. It’s called ‘social’ media after all *flicks hair*.
We’ve already discussed the importance of a consistent theme, but posting consistently is equally important for organic growth. Posting once a week just doesn’t cut it anymore. Develop a posting schedule based on the peak times of activity of your followers. As a rule of thumb, anywhere between 5am-8am in the morning, 12pm-1pm (lunchtime) and 5pm-7pm at night are peak times. Post every second day, or five days a week, just post regularly and consistently! There’s great apps and websites you can use to schedule your posts, like Schedugram and Hootsuite.
Stories are an awesome (and free) way to bring a more authentic, personable aspect to your Instagram. They act as a space for you to share your less polished content, without sacrificing a high-quality feed. Instagram stories have over 500 million viewers daily, they’re an undisputable engagement powerhouse.
Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags
#hashtags are the ultimate tool for getting your content on the screens of users who don’t follow you. The more the merrier. Do some hashtag research and test them out to determine what works best for your brand. Create specific hashtags for each of your posts, but also develop a small collection of general hashtags to use for all posts. These everypost hashtags should be tags that users search for you with and that reach your audience. As well as reaching more users organically, hashtags create another way for users to come across your account. For this same reason, we also recommend location tags!
And finally, don’t be afraid to ask your followers to turn on their post notifications for your posts to ensure they don’t get lost in their feed. Remember: they’re following you because they want to see your content, make sure that they can!
Now, with these hacks at the ready, go forth and conquer! These algorithm changes aren’t something to be afraid of, they’re something to embrace and inspire you to improve your content and overall brand presence.