The Instagram algorithm. Every Social Media Manager’s best friend and arch-nemesis. But how much can we really chalk down to Instagram algorithm changes? Does it impact engagement, reach, or the number of times your posts are seen? Well, it’s complicated. The algorithm will always dictate how Instagram feeds content to its users, and will most certainly restrict content if it is deemed inappropriate for the platform. But, what shows up in users’ feeds isn’t necessarily down to an algorithm change – it’s usually down to their personal activity. So, how do you beat the Instagram algorithm and make sure your content is seen and engaged with by as many people as possible? In this article, we’ll walk you through how you can work with (and not against) Instagram.
How to Beat the Instagram Algorithm in 2021
Create Video Content & Carousels 📹
Instagram’s main goal is to keep users active, so the more time they spend consuming content on the platform, the better. Static images are easy to scroll past, but videos have a better chance at stopping followers in their tracks – and it’s not like Instagram doesn’t know this 😏 So, it’s likely that your video content will perform better on average. People spend more time consuming videos, especially if they have a good hook, so make sure the first 5 seconds count. Draw in your existing (and potentially new) followers from the get-go, so they get to know you through your content and engage or visit your page.
Another great format that keeps users on your feed is Carousels. Again, your followers will devote more of their time to content that tells a story and packs a punch. Carousel slides are a great way to communicate your message, tell a story, or educate your followers on something only you know about. The more you offer something unique on Instagram, the more likely it is that you’ll receive a double tap or comment, which will push your content to more users. So, with Carousels, you can create that ‘hook’ in your first slide, and then increase user-time spent on your posts through each slide after.
Think Beyond Likes ❤
It’s easy to get wrapped up in Likes. When conversations around the Instagram algorithm started, most of it was related to the ‘like: follower’ ratio changing, with people experiencing a decrease in Likes as compared to their previous engagement levels. But, Likes aren’t the be-all-end-all, and shouldn’t really be the focus of your strategy if you want to beat the Instagram algorithm in 2021. There are actually more important metrics that signify whether your content is appealing to people.
One metric that is often overlooked, but probably the best indicator of good content is ‘Saves’. Think about it. When someone saves your content for later, it means they like it that much that they want to look at it again and again. It’s not just a post that appeared in their feed, but a piece of content that resonated with them and made them want to ‘keep it’. Take a look at your past posts and see which ones are the most Saved. It’ll likely be pieces of content that give something, whether it’s a how-to or a unique makeup look that someone can recreate.
Another key metric is ‘shares’, or whether people are sharing your content. This goes beyond Saves because people are actually giving your post real estate in their DMs or Stories – they think it is engaging enough that they want other people to see it. And, naturally, if other people see it? That’s a potential increase in not just Likes but comments, followers, and Impressions.
Get into Reels 📹
One thing we can say for certain about Instagram’s algorithm is that it favors its new features. A rule of thumb for any Instagram strategy is to make sure you are taking advantage of the new content formats that the platform rolls out. If you’re one of the first people to use Reels, for example, you’re going to be one of the first Reels that people see.
Reels are shaping up to be one of the best ways to enhance and increase discoverability on Instagram. Why? Because people don’t need to be following you to find your content. Your posts are naturally served to them on the Explore page of Instagram when they are already watching Reels. Also, the Reels that get suggested to them are based on the videos they enjoy or frequently consume in the past, so it’s likely you will reach a more targeted audience – one example where the Instagram algorithm is on your side! Read about how to go viral on Instagram Reels here.
Hashtags are Instagram’s native way of searching for and finding content, and this hasn’t changed. One surefire way to up your discoverability and new reach is by using hashtags strategically. This means, selecting hashtags for your posts that are not only suited to your content but also to your current following and engagement. You’re more likely to rank and perform on hashtags that are less competitive, and the best way to select these is with a solid strategy. If you want to learn more about upping your hashtag game, and finding out which hashtags work for you just click here. In Flick, you can also see exactly which hashtags you are ranking on, so you can determine which ones you should continue to use, and which you might want to replace:
Encourage Interactions & Conversations 🗣
Often, you can increase the reach of your posts just by simply changing the way that you speak to your audience and craft your captions. Encouraging people to engage with your posts is going to up the likelihood that they will respond. For example, ask your followers to tag a friend who might like the post, or ask them a direct question in the caption that they can respond to.
Another easy way to attract engagement is by hosting small giveaways on your feed. Sometimes users need that added incentive to drop a comment or share your post, so consider embedding a giveaway into one of your posts that requires a comment or a share to enter.
Be Consistent 🏃♂️
Instagram rewards you for posting on a consistent basis. So, our final tip is to make sure you are posting consistently with a steady stream of content. It can be tough to keep enough content on the backburner if you are posting every single day, so make sure you’re setting a schedule you can keep up with. If you’re struggling, take a look at this article on how to get out of a content rut.
We hope you enjoyed this article on how to beat the Instagram algorithm in 2021! If you want to up your hashtag game and start reaching people within your niche, you can check out our free hashtag academy below: