I used to give Instagram and social media workshops on a monthly basis, and people still ask me for social media tips, tricks and especially about Instagram algorithm updates regularly. The past year I have been focusing more on travel related projects and content creation for clients, which took a lot of my time and attention.
However right now I do feel that being active on social media is becoming more important than ever, that's why I decided to write this blog.
I see social media and especially Instagram, the fastest growing and most engaging social media platform, as an important part of my business and online branding. Therefore I try to maintain it as effectively as possible, by posting at least 3 times a week, engaging daily, replying to all comments and DM’s, and staying up to date with the latest developments.
The algorithm however remains a mystery to many, even though some articles online claim to have unraveled it.
Instagram tips - how to beat the algorithm?
The truth is that this ‘algorithm’ is being updated all the time, is customized and therefore different for every account. It takes many factors in account to decide on your reach, and subsequently shows your content to more or less of your followers.
In this blog I will share some of the most important algorithm factors and tips for Instagram, but do keep in mind that all of this has to be tested per account and picture to see what works best for your account!
I still do private strategy sessions, social media consults and masterclasses for freelancers, brands and companies from time to time, and have to admit that I too hate Instagram sometimes! Especially when the algorithm is updated again, limiting that organic reach you worked so hard for to build up, and only shows posts to 15-20% of your followers!
Make Instagram work for you(r business)
It is however still possible to make it work for you, and in times like these it's more important than ever! Why is that you say?
With corona and quarantines restricting festivals and public gatherings people are even more active online. Looking for entertainment on Netflix and YouTube, and personal connections on social media.
On March 24th Facebook even announced an increase of 70% in time spent on FB & IG, and views of Instagram Live doubling in a week!
Obviously there has never been a better time to use Instagram to your advantage!
Instagram marketing statistics for 2020
Some facts to show you why Instagram is essential to build a community for your (personal) brand and business, and to connect with potential customers:
Currently IG has more than 1 billion users worldwide, of which 63% log in at least once a day,
IG’s average engagement rate per post is 20x more than Facebook’s lowest engagement rates, 54x higher than Pinterest and 84x Twitter.
It's all about content that inspires and takes people on a brand journey through pictures and videos. While Facebook is more about news, family and friends, and Twitter generally about news and links in general. Therefore people expect your brand/business to be present on IG, if you want to be taken seriously and connect with your customers in a more natural way.
On FB people are more likely to connect with family and friends, where’s on IG they will easily follow brands that inspire them, 200 million Instagram users visit at least 1 business profile a day.
Instagram Stories are increasingly popular, currently 500 million accounts use them every single day!
All clearly visualized in these 2020 statistics from Hootsuite:
General Instagram Tips
What remains important to the algorithm is to;
Only post quality, captivating and relevant content;
Meaning content that stands out, matches your target audience and is appropriate with current events, like trending hashtag holidays for example
Post consistently throughout the week
Use IG stories for more daily presence and reach
And use enough and relevant # for the picture and caption
Use a (location) geotag
Be active, especially immediately after posting, to boost your reach
Comments have more relevance to the algorithm than likes
And build a community
But even if you're doing all this the Instagram algorithm seems relentless, you're not growing and your engagement rate is tanking?
I feel you, and almost lost faith myself! I still find it very challenging, especially when lacking time, with many other priorities, and Instagram limiting me in every way. And in general the bigger your account becomes in follower numbers, the harder it gets!
But luckily I manage 'smaller accounts' as well, and was able to prove there that it is still possible to grow in followers and engagement, even now! 2 examples:
Last year I grew one of my client's accounts with 20,000 followers organically, purely by posting consistently 3 times a week, engaging daily, and running monthly contests.
This year another client's account grew with almost 4,000 followers after our private consult, from 3,000 to 7,000 and doubled in engagement by using my tips the last 3 months.
So how should you do this?
Analyze your success
By understanding your target audience, to create content they just have to engage with, you can make IG work for you is. The best way to do this is by experimenting and analyzing!
Therefore make sure your profile is set to business to see the statistics under your posts and filter out your best and least performing posts per metric in your main profile stats.
Analyze which types of content have performed best until now, for example single, carousel post or video posts, what kind of picture, caption, location, which #, and so on, to create more content according to that.
Recent algorithm updates & tips for Instagram:
Using and testing new features quickly after they release can help increase your reach and get favoured by the algorithm.
Saves and post shares became even more important, so integrate a call to action for saving in your caption and create shareable content. In general this is content that educates, which is relatable and appeals to your followers' values.
Be honest, open and talk about current events, especially nowadays people react better to content that's authentic and honest! Think about quotes, and real stories that make a stand for, or against something, to generate more engagement, and particularly shares.
IG stories remain important, but poll, quiz and question stickers can help activate your followers and build up your community even more. They're perfect for market research, to get feedback on your products, and just entertain and engage with your Instagram audience, and eventually gather valuable information.
Opposed to what many think Instagram Stories and Lives don’t have to be very polished and professional, in general the rawer and more real the better. And you can announce your Instagram LIVE in your stories in advance to make sure more people tune in at the right time.
Video content is getting increasingly important as well, because people want see one another! Video also keeps people engaged longer, as it requires people to stop and look.
You can incorporate video into your content strategy through main-feed posts, Stories, Lives, and IGTV, and make sure to keep innovating.
Building relationships with your followers and potential clients remains very important to the algorithm! The more DM’s, comments and interaction, the more the algorithm will show your posts to those people. Therefore you have to take initiative by commenting on other people’s posts, by sending and replying to DM's and comments, and interact with other people's IG Stories on a daily basis. After all, people will be more likely to return the favor if you put effort in interacting and leaving thoughtful comments yourself first.
To activate your followers call to actions, like asking questions in the captions of your posts, and your IG stories is essential. Of course it will take time for people to get used to this, and they might not reply much at first, but if you continue to do so, gradually more people will respond.
Also a good way to grow your account is to host contests and give aways. Just make sure to follow the rules of Instagram and Facebook, collaborate with others, urge the participants to tag and share to broaden the give away's reach, and be as transparant as possible when choosing the winner.
Hopefully this blog convinced you of the importance of social media and Instagram for your brand, business, or even just your personal branding. And showed you how to make it work for you, especially in times like these.
I hope my social media tips can help to improve your reach on Instagram, and to beat the algorithm! But of course I’m always happy to help by analyzing your accounts and (personal) brand, set up a strategy together through a private consult, or one of my online courses, which I’m creating right now.
You can contact me here, through social media, or by mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, if you think we’re the right match!
And I also wrote several other blogs with even more tips, which can hopefully help you as well, find all of them on this social media tips page.
Let's get social and connect by clicking on above picture, follow me on Instagram and make sure to leave a comment!