During a tumultuous year one thing remains true: Instagram is still a social media and digital advertising powerhouse, integral to all digital campaigns for disruptor brands and startups. Tiktok, however, is snapping at its heels and so Instagram has gone to great lengths to stay ahead, adding new features such as reels and evolving their algorithm to suit their goals. Instagram wants to ensure that people are spending more time on its platform, rather than their competitors. As such, they’ll reward accounts that regularly share posts which capture users’ attention for longer and encourages a higher level of interaction and engagement.
This means that in order to appear more regularly in people’s feeds, you need to start encouraging engagements with social content that Instagram’s algorithm prefers. Accomplishing this should be a core part of all integrated campaigns.
As a leading PR Digital agency, we wanted to share our experiences in implementing this strategy effectively. Below, we’ve laid out the top five actions you can take to make the Instagram algorithm work for you.
1. Aim for Saves
Instagram wants people to return to its platform again and again, thereby taking the users away from other social media platforms. If content is being saved, then people will do this. To stay in Instagram’s good graces, you need to create content that will encourage people to hit that ‘save’ button. In 2021 Instagram much prefers this to a ‘like’. Recipe content, how-to videos and top tips are all types of content that will help to encourage this valuable action. To make sure you’re sharing the right content, access your Instagram analytics and isolate previous posts that have gained more saves. These posts should be your inspiration from now on.
2. Sends and Comments
Instagram loves it when your content is sent to another user because, again, it encourages users to spend more time on the platform. The more sends, the more Instagram will keep your content relevant. So, make sure your content is shareable and something that users will want their friends to see as well. Messy and imperfect, mouth-watering food and cocktail shots, as well as ‘hacks’ are types of content that achieve this. Comments are next on Instagram’s watchlist, but a couple of emojis aren’t going to cut it. Instagram is rewarding posts that lead to comments with more than four words. To get people to comment more, include questions in your copy or ask your followers to tag their friends.
3. Be present and active after posting
The Instagram algorithm monitors activity on your post for the first 30 minutes to an hour after sharing. The more valuable engagements you achieve in that time, saves, sends and comments, the more Instagram will ‘help’ your post. Stay online after you post, engage with other accounts’ posts and respond to all comments – with questions if you can! This is especially important if the post is part of your Social Media advertising plan as it will mean a great return on investment.
4. Post across multiple mediums
Instagram has made it very clear that they want creators to post across as many Instagram ‘surfaces’ as possible. This is something they expressly ask for in their blog. That means not just posting on-feed but also sharing reels, Instagram lives, stories and regularly updating Instagram highlights. Again, the more you post, the more time your users spend on Instagram looking at your content, the nicer the Instagram algorithm will be to your content. Start with sharing Instagram story posts more regularly, making sure to update those story highlights. Then share longer form video content on Instagram reels and build from there.
5. Consistency is key
Evidence is starting to mount that posting at the same time regularly is a positive action that Instagram is starting to reward. If you, the creator, is heading to Instagram first then so will your followers, pulling them away from Tiktok. Anything that encourages a larger portion time spent on Instagram will be rewarded by Instagram and so their algorithm will start to work for you. Make sure you’re planning content well ahead of time and posting at the same time every day.
Keeping the above in mind when creating and sharing social content will help keep your posts on other people’s feeds for longer.
If you’re a brand that would like to talk to our team about Digital Advertising, Content Creation and Influencer Marketing, we’d love to hear from you! Contact the team directly on firstname.lastname@example.org