How to beat the Instagram algorithm


We all know it, we all hate, it’s the Instagram algorithm. Destined to stop our Instagram growth, interaction on our photos and an increase in our reach. But how do we beat it?

I have had my Instagram account (@booksnest ) since January 2016 and in that time I have just now (August 2018) hit 2k followers. It’s only been recently that I’ve seen my engagement really start to grow, so I thought I’d write a blog about how you can grow your account.

What is the algorithm? Instagram tries to show you posts it thinks you will like, it doesn’t matter when the photo was posted or who by. If you interact regularly with certain accounts you can bet they’ll be the post that pop up on your timeline. It’s very clever, but also very annoying as it usually means you miss out on posts you really want to see. But we can beat it, and here’s how!

• Post interesting photos

If you’re creating good photos then of course you’re more likely to get a response, make sure to take time to get the photos you want others to be seeing. If a user finds they can relate to your photo and they like what’s in it e.g. a certain book, then they could become a potential new follower. Having a theme is always a good way to feel inspired for photos. I’ve tried many different themes and I find the app VSCO a really good one to perfect and duplicate my chosen edit. Once you have your photo you also need to make sure you have a good caption to go alongside it. Nothing too long and make sure to ask a question in it, this way you’re inviting users to comment on your post too.

• Post regularly and use your analytics

Obviously to build up engagement you need to be posting regularly, once or twice a day is the ideal fo Instagram, but also make sure to look at the best times for your followers and when they are online the most. For me in the UK I tend to post at around 9pm and I find that works really well. If you create your Instagram accounts as a business account then you can view your analytics and see when your followers are online each day of the week. It’s handy to take a look at your stats every now and then so you can see what you could improve on.

• Use relevant hashtags

Don’t forget to add some hashtags in too, personally I put mine in the comments, it doesn’t matter either way where these sit but I think they look neater there. You’re best off using hashtags with less photos under them, this increases your chances of making it to the ‘Top’ page.

Before and after I post I go through some of the regular hashtags I use and I like and comment on posts under them, this way Instagram sees I’m active and so do the people I’m liking the photos of. Usually this results in people heading back to my page and doing the same with my photos. I find this a really good way to drive some engagement if you have the time to be able to dedicate to it. Make sure not to comment or like too much in a short period of time though or you’ll experience a temporary ban.

• Instagram pods

I am part of several Instagram Pods, groups that share their latest posts in exchange for liking and commenting on each others. It’s a really good way to secure comments and likes and the quicker you get these, the better Instagram will push your latest post. This is also a really good way to get involved in the Instagram community, to find friends and get tips and tricks. You can add 15 people into a pod, I’ve started two myself and I’ve been added into one, so that’s 14 other users who will be helping you push your posts. If you’re regularly engaging with active users then guess who your posts will get pushed to? That’s right, active users! When you’ve formed these pods too it’s a good idea to run shout outs with other members, perhaps tag each other in comments sections of giveaways etc, anything to get your name out there.

• Utilise Instagram Stories

Make sure to use your Instagram stories, most of your followers are more likely to view your content on your stories (annoyingly) so add things here too. I add up a preview of my latest post, new blog posts, my outfits, what I’m currently reading. There’s a lot you can put here, it gives your followers a chance to find out more about you and what you do when you’re not just posting the perfect Instagram photo. I also find that Instagram stories are a really good way to build up confidence, I don’t mind my face being in-front of a camera now, I’m happy to talk on camera too, which is something I used to have a real issue with.

That’s it for my tips, if you have any to add then please let me know in the comments!

Beating the Instagram Algorithm

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