35 Instagram experts & social media pros reveal the single most misunderstood aspect of the Instagram algorithm

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms today, with one billion monthly active users – and more than 500 million users logging in daily. Naturally, marketers and brands are flocking to Instagram in hopes of reaching a portion of the platform’s growing user base. However, much like the enigma that is Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm, there are many misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding the inner-workings of Instagram’s algorithm. (If you’re wondering about the most misunderstood aspects of Facebook’s algorithm, read what 29 Facebook experts had to say about it in this post.)

It’s true that only Instagram really knows what makes its algorithm tick, and the company isn’t likely to share that information anytime soon (well, ever). That said, some misconceptions can have a negative impact on your results if you’re relying on misinformation to craft and execute your Instagram marketing strategy.

To help you avoid detrimental mishaps, we reached out to a panel of Instagram experts and social media professionals and asked them to answer this question:

“What’s the single most misunderstood aspect of the Instagram algorithm?”

Meet Our Panel of Instagram Experts & Social Media Pros:

Keep reading to learn what our panel had to say about common misconceptions about the Instagram algorithm and what you need to know for Instagram success.


Katherine RowlandKatherine Rowland

@ypsuk

Katherine Rowland is a Digital Marketing Executive at YourParkingSpace.

“In the old days, pre-2016, all Instagram posts were delivered in sequence with newest posts being featured at the top. Since then, however, Instagram has introduced an algorithm to try to best-guess its users preferences. Initially, this algorithm received much criticism, and one thing that really bothered people was the eradication of the chronological feed. Users were now being presented with posts from days ago first, and found it was hard to find fresh, recent posts. I believe, that this was, and despite the updated algorithm in March 2018, still is, the aspect of the Instagram algorithm that causes people the most confusion.

What a lot of people don’t understand is that Instagram now works via Machine Learning, digesting and processing your user habits, to create a feed that is unique to you alone. Ultimately, Instagram aims to show each user what they want to see, and the original algorithm in 2016 did this by sorting through all the posts since you were last active, and placing the ones it believes you would most enjoy seeing, at the top. So, for example, if you haven’t been on Instagram for a week, it might first show you a post from 4 days ago that it believes you will really engage with. However, this change upset a lot of people. Users felt as though it was harder to see fresher, newer posts, and were perhaps favoring recency over relevance more highly than Instagram anticipated. The flaw was highlighted when users were still being shown Christmas posts on their feed, long after the festive season had ended. Therefore, in March 2018 a newer, more intelligent algorithm was introduced. This placed a greater importance on freshness of posts. Of course, people do want to see content from people they trust, but they also want to see posts that are current. Since the original algorithm in 2016, a lot of people are still very suspicious of Instagram’s feed sorting principals, however. Despite having time to get used to its reverse-chronological order, many are still hoping that Instagram will re-introduce a chronological sorting option.”


Nate MastersonNate Masterson

@MapleHolistics

Nate Masterson is the CEO of Maple Holistics, a company dedicated to cruelty-free, natural, and sustainable personal care products.

“One of the biggest misconceptions in the new Instagram algorithm is based around the three factors which determine the content in someone’s feed. Those three factors are interests, timeliness, and relationships. However, contrary to popular belief, relationships are determined based on your interaction with other users as opposed to your assumed friends and family. The more frequently you like, comment, tag, or DM someone the more often you will see their content. This means that for social media influencers, engagement posts are now much more relevant than they might previously have been.”


Jessica CastanedaJessica Castaneda

@EasyLivingToday

Jessica Castaneda is a Latina blogger from Chicago, mommy of two toddler boys, and a fitness and healthy lifestyle enthusiast.

There seems to be a new trend where people assume that comments need to be five or more words, not including emojis, in order for Instagram to count them as engagement and bump your post up as popular. That’s simply not the case. Instagram still bumps up posts that just have a ton of emoji comments. That is why you see so many popular Instagrammers putting things like comment your name letter by letter, one letter each comment, or something of that sort. They know all of those comments (even if they’re one letter) are going to get their post deemed popular, therefore having it bumped up in the algorithm with more chances of hitting the explore page, and Instagram just generally showing it to more followers.”


Beverly FriedmannBeverly Friedmann

@ReviewingThis

Beverly Friedmann is the Content Manager at ReviewingThis.

“While there are several misconceptions about Instagram algorithms, particularly with what you will be down-ranked or boosted for, perhaps the greatest one is business accounts and verified accounts not ranking higher in overall placement. While you certainly gain access to additional features and the ability to run ads and boost posts, you are not given any special favors or rankings placements simply for being a business account. Likewise for posting videos, or using Instagram Stories. However, even overusing these features will not necessarily hurt your rankings unless it perturbs your audience and decreases your follower base. So, the best rule of thumb is to post at several scheduled times per day using quality content that’s suited to your specific audience and using insights.


Gabe HernandezGabe Hernandez

@roi_swift

Gabe Hernandez is currently the Digital Marketing Director for ROI Swift and a hat enthusiast. His experience has taken him from designing and executing advertising research for Disney to working on Facebook’s Global Marketing Solutions team.

There is a meme going around that is spooking users to believe that an algorithm change is limiting distribution to 7% of followers per post. Accounts posting it are asking their followers to engage with their posts to ensure that they will continue to see posts from them. It’s technically true that engagement is part of the algorithm, but the 7% limitation is a myth.

“Facebook’s algorithm has also conditioned people to hold back from sharing new content so as not to negatively impact delivery of the last post. On Facebook, you could overshare and watch your post reach drop. On Instagram, you have to really try to overshare. Recency matters a lot more for getting posts to the top of your followers’ feeds or being eligible for the Explore page, so there aren’t the same penalties for sharing a higher volume of content.


Maree JonesMaree Jones

@mareejones

As a seasoned content, social media, and PR strategist, Maree Jones manages all aspects of social media campaigns for clients: from executing day-to-day tactics that excite fans and followers to creating that perfect 30K-foot view social strategy. A trend forecaster and social media proponent for both individuals and organizations, Maree speaks all over the US on how to achieve a best-in-class digital footprint and online reputation.

“I think relevance is one of the most misunderstood aspects of Instagram. What the algorithm thinks matters to you is what is going to show up in your news feed. Many brands and businesses try to hack relevance by using hashtags that don’t really fit or with other promotions that don’t work with their core values. Instead, companies should focus on sharing the kinds of content that matter to their audience. This requires an honest look at what has been shared in the past, as well as an open mind to try new things, new approaches.”


Taylor KincaidTaylor Kincaid

@onlineoptimism

Taylor Kincaid is the Social Media Director at Online Optimism, a digital marketing agency in New Orleans. Taylor oversees all social media campaigns, including content, engagement, paid advertisements, and local reputation management. As a Sprout Social Certified Professional, Taylor ensues that all aspects of clients’ social media campaigns and community management are executed to the highest industry standards.

 “When Instagram first started out, every post you saw on your feed came in the order that it was posted. Now that Instagram has grown in massive popularity, the algorithm was born where Instagram would sort your posts based on who you found most interesting, or your closest friends, and put those at the top so you’d never miss an important story. This has caused some confusion in the algorithm. Most importantly, when it comes to your business Instagram. Here is an example of how to work with the Instagram algorithm:

“Businesses now need more than popularity; they need to build trust with their followers. One of the most misunderstood aspects of the Instagram algorithm for businesses is that many still believe if they market and build their posts, they’ll get to the top of your feed just by popularity. This isn’t always the case.

“Starting in 2016, Instagram made it so that a user’s friends and family will take precedence over even the most popular posts. This can be a problem for businesses that have struggled to gain traction. The more often a user engages with another user’s content, the higher up Instagram places them in their feed, which is how friends and family usually take the top spot.

“So if you’re a business and you’re trying to market your Instagram content to get the attention of your followers, you’re going to have to join the algorithm and build a good reputation and trust with your followers. You want to build a relationship and open a conversation with your followers as frequently as you can so that you’ll appear in their top posts along with other family and friends.”


Marius MiglesMarius Migles

@soulseekerphoto

Marius Migles is a photographer with a business named Soulseeker Creative Photography.

“In my opinion, the most misunderstood aspect of the Instagram algorithm is related to hashtags. It’s been said more and more by Instagram gurus on YouTube in recent months that it’s best not to use all of the 30 hashtags that are being made available to you. This is seen as spam by Instagram. My opinion is that this is not well understood. Since you have 30 chances to win at the lotto, why use only 29 of them?”


Sylvia OgwengSylvia Ogweng

@SylviaOgweng

Sylvia Ogweng is a social media growth marketer with a decade of experience in growing Instagram accounts. She also recently served as editor of Sked Social’s blog on social media strategy and tips.

The single most misunderstood aspect of the algorithm is how Instagram chooses what people see. Brands believe that Instagram is single-handedly hiding their posts, but what they really have a hard time coming to terms with is the fact that their content simply isn’t engaging enough. But how do you increase engagement these days? You do so by creating engaging content; it’s as simple as that.

“If people aren’t seeing your posts, then you are NOT creating content that forces them to engage. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it really is as simple as that. There are several ways to boost engagement. Some of my favorite ways include:

  • Creating posts that ask your users questions and force them to engage.
  • Using stories to boost your engagement score.
  • Using stories to promote the content you post to your feed.
  • Identifying your most and least engaging content.
  • Eliminating all content that doesn’t generate engagement, and only deploy engaging content.”


Emily PatrickEmily Patrick

@veteransunited

Emily Patrick is the social media manager at Veterans United Home Loans, a full-service lender dedicated to serving Veterans and Military Families. Emily directs social media outreach and user interface to 4.5 million followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and various other social media platforms.

“I think the single most misunderstood aspect of the Instagram algorithm is its emphasis on relationships. Often, organizations are only concerned with how people consume their own content and forget that what audiences actually crave is relationship and human interaction. Instagram knows this and advocates for its users by promoting accounts that act like humans, engaging with others’ content rather than just watching their own performance.

“I recently tested this theory on my company’s account by intentionally searching for people who mentioned us in their posts, then commenting with simple notes of encouragement from our brand. In just a week, we saw a significant increase in followers and engagement with our posts! My theory is that Instagram placed our content in front of more people because we acted more human than corporate. This takeaway is important for marketing as a whole. Audiences want to relate to their favorite brands, and feel like the brand relates to them as well. After all, the human condition is wired for relationships, and we can better serve our audiences when we show we care about them.”


Julia EnthovenJulia Enthoven

@JuliaEnthoven

Julia Enthoven is the Founder and CEO of Kapwing.

There’s a popular misconception that people browse Instagram with the sound on. As a result, many advertisers and publishers do not add subtitles to their Instagram videos, stories, or ads, which means that most viewers immediately skip. On Instagram, captioned videos get a huge boost in engagement over videos that aren’t captioned. Even though there’s no way to add closed captions to videos, you can still add subtitles by embedding the text directly into your video.”


Jake McKenzieJake McKenzie

@AAGarage

Jake McKenzie is the Content Manager at Auto Accessories Garage, a fast-growing, family-owned online retailer of automotive parts and accessories. He manages all written content for the website including research guides, product descriptions, and other informative articles.

“I think most people understand that Instagram is more likely to show you posts based on both the likes and engagement level of the post itself, as well as the posters history of creating engaging posts. But another important factor that people tend to forget is the time people spend looking at a particular post will also alter its ranking. The best way to up the amount of time spent on your post is to include a compelling caption.


Stacy CaprioStacy Caprio

@stacy4startups

Stacy Caprio is the Founder of Her.CEO.

“The most misunderstand aspect of the Instagram algorithm is the obsession with posting at the right time. The algorithm heavily favors posts that have a high engagement percentage, meaning comments and likes, and many people focus on time of day when posting, instead of focusing on creating the type of posts that will get that high engagement, regardless of time of day posted. Even when a post is posted at a time when fewer people are on the platform, but everyone who sees the post engages with it, then that post will still be shown to more people than one that is posted at a time when more people are on Instagram, but fewer engage with the post.”


Sadi KhanSadi Khan

@RunRepeatcom

Sadi Khan is the Content Marketing Manager at RunRepeat.com, the biggest source of sports and running shoe reviews.

Most people think using lots of hashtags will help their posts show up in many different searches or feeds. They don’t realize that Instagram has the algorithm and image recognition technology to recognize the content in images or videos. You don’t need hashtags to tell what your posts are all about. These hashtags can do more harm than good. Using lots of hashtags will make your posts look spammy, hence low engagement. Even worse, some of these hashtags might be banned and can result in shadow-ban.”


Shakun BansalShakun Bansal

@mettl_

Shakun Bansal is the Head of Marketing at Mercer-Mettl.

Through Instagram’s Shadowban algorithm you might suddenly deal with no increase in the number of profile visits and reduced likes and followership. To keep a tab on automated content postings and spammy activities, Instagram stops posts from appearing in different hashtags such that non-followers aren’t able to view your content. Using the same hashtags every day over and over again makes Instagram think it’s some sort of bots doing it. The reason why it’s so misunderstood is because it’s so surreptitious that you wouldn’t even know that it’s Instagram’s algorithm. While you might assign reduced engagement to various possibilities like poor content or picture quality, the real reason happens to be the Shadowban algorithm.”


Bradley ShawBradley Shaw

@ExpertBrad

Bradley Shaw is the President and Founder of SEO Expert Brad Inc. Brad has over 20 years in the digital marketing space growing online businesses. Currently, he is the number one ranking SEO Expert on Google.

“Instagram utilizes an algorithm that frequently examines numerous factors. One often overlooked aspect is timeliness, or how the algorithm weighs recent behavior more than aged metrics or behavior. After all, Instagram’s target demographic has ever-changing tastes.

“The algorithm studies the timeliness of all activities on the platform. Instagram serves hyper-relevant information that enhances user engagement.

“By using this technique, the algorithm can also examine factors that precede the shifting interests of individuals with the use of machine learning and AI.

“For example, once an individual views, likes, or comments on a particular image, the algorithm reevaluates the behaviors of the user, taking into account the latest information with historical data, patterns, and demographics. These recent behaviors reinforce an individual’s CURRENT interests.

“What does this mean for marketers? Enhance engagement by staying on top of current trends. Engage regularly, be fluid with your content.”


Kim SmithKim Smith

@contactkim11

Kim Smith is the Content Marketing Manager with GoodFirms based out of Washington DC. They are a B2B research and review platform to help businesses find the best agencies, software, or consultants to tackle their business challenges.

The hashtag frenzy has led people to believe that they get penalized or ‘shadowbanned’ by using the same hashtags repeatedly.

“The Instagram-passionate peeps often like to compare two posts with similar visual content having the same call-to-action along with the same hashtags. Putting these posts side by side, it drives us crazy when these posts seem similar in every way yet perform wildly different and we end up blaming the hashtag fatigue! However, this is not certain because there are many factors that determine the performance of a post.

“For example, maybe the posting time worked great for the first day, but it did not happen to be an ideal time for the next day. Also maybe, the content on day one clicked amazingly with your audience, but the content on day two was just something they didn’t really care about! These aforementioned maybes make it so hard.

“There was a time when Instagram influencers did seem to suggest, with proof, that this myth was true. But, algorithms get tweaked all the time and not just when an official announcement is made. Hence, the best practice to consider here is about staying relevant when making use of hashtags, wherein the count per post is limited to 30.”


Mason GhrannieMason Ghrannie

Mason Ghrannie is the Vice President of CBD’R US.

What many businesses on Instagram don’t know is their reach from their page is limited to only 7% of their following. With that said, the best way to outsmart the algorithm and grow an Instagram account is by collaborating with influencers. By collaborating with influencers who have high followings, a business allows their product/service to receive more exposure than what they’d receive from their own page. As a result, the business’ Instagram page will grow, and they will receive more traffic to their website.”


James NuttallJames Nuttall

@JamesNuttall_

James Nuttall is a Content Specialist for Africa Travel.

You are not guaranteed to rank higher if you post video content over static photographs. It is still widely believed by bloggers, individuals, and businesses alike that the sure-fire way to boost your content’s position on Instagram is to use video. However, Instagram’s algorithm treats photos and videos with the same level of care and attention; one will not definitely outrank the other.

“That being said, those who tend to watch and engage more with videos will see more videos appear in their feed. This is down to Instagram’s algorithm tailoring the content to an individual’s personal preference, not the algorithm showing favoritism to one form of media over the other.

“For businesses to get to the top of their target audience’s feed, they need to do some research into what they are looking for. That way, they can focus on creating the type of content that is most preferable to their target market, boosting their rankings.”


Vix MeldrewVix Meldrew

@VixMeldrew

Vix Meldrew is a blogger and influencer coach. She teaches women how to grow their platforms and create businesses from their blogs.

The biggest misunderstanding with Instagram is that there’s a shadowban. People worried that they couldn’t find their pictures when they used certain hashtags and believed the rumors that somehow Instagram had blocked their pictures from being shown. This is simply not true. Instagram’s algorithm works in such a way that your pictures have to be high quality, engaged with, and completely relevant to the hashtag you’re using for you to have a chance to be seen. This is especially true for hashtags with over 50,000 posts in them. The best thing to do, to avoid the ‘shadowban’ is to ensure you only use the most relevant hashtags to the picture you’re posting and that you avoid the massively oversaturated ones. Pick hashtags that have between 10,000-500,000 posts to have a better chance of being seen.”


Nick GlassettNick Glassett

@Nick_O_Glass

Nick Glassett is the Founder of Origin Leadership Group.

The most misunderstood aspect of the Instagram algorithm is the simple fact that it’s free. I’m so amused by the complete outrage that gets put out into the world when the algorithm changes, as if it’s ‘unfair’ or it’s some unexpected crime. After all, your Instagram account is FREE! You just showed up, started posting pretty pictures, and then were able to turn that into a business. That’s incredible! So when the rules change on how those pretty pictures are seen, where does that privilege to get upset come from? I’d love to be able to change the mindset on the algorithm from being some mythical beast that has to be tamed and feared, to being the amazing, free business opportunity that it is.”


Logan AllecLogan Allec

@moneydoneright

Logan Allec is a CPA and owner of the personal finance blog Money Done Right. After spending nearly 10 years as a tax adviser helping big businesses save money, he launched Money Done Right with a mission to help people learn how to make money.

The single biggest myth about the Instagram algorithm is that getting lots of followers is the gateway to success. Business owners look at accounts with 10,000, 50,000, or 100,000 followers and think, ‘Wow, if only my account had that many followers, my business would be booming! Imagine getting that many eyeballs on my business every time I post!’

“But this isn’t necessarily true. See, 2019 is not like the old days when Instagram would show your post to all of your followers. Now, the Instagram algorithm determines how many of your followers see your post based on how engaged they are with your content.

How much your audience engages with your content could be the difference between 70% of your followers seeing your post and 1% of your followers seeing your post. So, would you rather have 1,000 interested followers and 70% of them (700 people) see your post? Or 10,000 indifferent followers and only 1% of them (100 people) see your latest post? Obviously you’d prefer the former!

“So, don’t get caught up in vanity metrics. Focus on what you want to get out of Instagram – be it leads or revenue or whatever – and make that your key performance indicator, not your follower count. And more often than not, cultivating an engaged audience, not simply a large one, will be your ticket to Instagram success.”


Amanda KirklandAmanda Kirkland

@A_Kirkland

Amanda serves as Director of Social Media Marketing at Atlanta-based Nebo Agency, where she strives to take a human-centered approach to marketing. Behind every social strategy or post, there are people – people engaging with the content you share and people striving to connect with their followers.

“Instagram offers insight into your post performance – don’t forget to use it! We all know engagement is key to showing up at the top of your followers’ feeds. Check in at least once per month to see which types of content received the highest engagement. Identify – and keep track of – those trends, such as color schemes, types of imagery used, post type (video, carousel, etc.), hashtags usage, or post timing, to name a few. Plan your content based on these insights, keep track of ongoing performance results, and master the Instagram algorithm through leveraging the power of data.

You’ve seen the posts claiming Instagram is only showing you 7% of users you follow. Although you’re no longer seeing posts in chronological order, you’re actually seeing posts based the type of content you’re interacting with on the platform. Instagram is tracking who you interact with, your app usage, what types of posts you engage with the most, and the timing of posts to determine your interests and what shows up highest on your feed. Moreover, although the amount of engagement per post plays a role in the timeline ranking, the type of content you interact with the most holds more weight on what shows up first in your timeline. So, if you want to see more of your friends’ posts, you’ll need to like and comment on the posts that you see and search for their profiles in the Explore tab. If you’re looking for your own posts to rank higher, find out what time you get the highest engagement and focus on creating engaging content that provides value to your followers.”


Kurt UhlirKurt Uhlir

@KurtUhlir

Kurt Uhlir is the current CMO at Showcase IDX. He has led marketing for companies ranging from start-up to over $500M in annual revenue, is a regular keynote speaker, and coaches many high-growth companies on their marketing strategy.

“The Instagram algorithm has one goal: increase engagement on the platform. Many people do not realize how much one-on-one interactions help boost your accounts reach. Direct messages that are replied to, especially when there are multiple exchanges, have a huge effect on boosting your overall account reach. When someone replies to your direct messages, that is a strong indication to Instagram that your account is valuable to others, and they’ll show even regular posts to more people.”


Alex ReichmannAlex Reichmann

@iTestCash

Alex Reichmann is the CEO of iTestCash.

The first hour of an Instagram post is the most important. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, it’s a good practice to respond to any comments on your post within the first hour of posting to help increase engagement and visibility. This also includes liking and commenting on other people’s accounts to encourage more traffic to your content right after posting a new picture on Instagram.”


Taylor MackTaylor Mack

@SmallBizRefined

Taylor Mack owns an independent online bookstore and is a social media marketing strategist at Small Biz Refined. She’s all about helping creatives & online shops thrive with proven social media and marketing tips. As an entrepreneur and unabashed tech nerd, she’s been testing these strategies since 2017 and knows what works.

The Instagram algorithm focuses on your engagement rate, but it isn’t just about getting more comments. It’s about having conversations with your followers. More weight is put into comments with 4 or more words, because that means someone took the time to form a thoughtful response. More importantly, other factors matter, too. Direct messaging and Instagram story interactions (questions, polls, etc.) may not be public, but they play a big part in how the algorithm decides who sees your content!”


Erica Marie DailyErica Marie Daily

@TDInfluencers

Erica is a 29 year old Digital Marketing Expert and Founder of The Daily Influencers, an Influencer Marketing Agency that is going to completely change the game of Influencer Marketing for both the Influencers and Brands.

“The most misunderstood aspect of the Instagram algorithm is that it will always be PAY TO PLAY…and I don’t mean buying likes, comments, or followers.

“Now sure, there are some great hacks to organically increase your odds of being seen more against the Instagram algorithm, BUT Instagram will always limit the impressions. They are a business that wants to make a profit, and that will never change. The only true way to beat the algorithm is to go viral (which is very hard) or pay to show up more via advertising.

“Luckily, you can still get advertising fairly cheap! If you know your target audience and you can get really specific in your ad targeting, your cost per impression will be extremely low. Advertising can have a huge return on investment and save you tons of time instead of trying to go viral or implement all the hacks to merely boost your impressions by a fraction of a percent.”


Kimberly PriceKimberly Price

@kimberlyanner 

Kimberly Price is the Associate Director of Social Media at Merkley+Partners.

“The frequency with which a user checks their feed is probably one of the most surprising factors that impacts Instagram’s algorithm. Basically, content gets refreshed every time an Instagram user opens their app. Therefore, users who check Instagram several times a day see more (and more varied) content, while users who check the app infrequently are fully beholden to the algorithm, since Instagram is trying harder to get that user more engaged by showing them the most relevant content.


Luke WesterLuke Wester

@miva

Luke Wester is a Digital Marketing Analyst at Miva Inc.

“Most people think there’s a way to ‘hack’ the Instagram algorithm and bypass the hard work that goes into a prominent account.

“Yes, you need to understand what variables impact the Instagram algorithm; this is true. There is also no replacement for creating engaging content on a regular basis — this is the hard part. It takes time, strategy, and effort to create and maintain a valuable Instagram page. There is no ‘hack’ for the Instagram algorithm — producing great content consistently will make your account successful.


Marissa HeckmanMarissa Heckman

@PwrDigMarketing

As a Social Media Project Manager at Power Digital Marketing, Marissa enjoys the challenge of cultivating loyal social followings & exploring brand building tactics to create lasting brand experiences. Having graduated top of her class at San Diego State, she finds marketing to be a dynamic, everlasting learning experience.

Many marketers and professionals believe that videos automatically perform well on Instagram simply because it’s a video. That is certainly not the case, and you still need to be producing video content that is engaging and serves a purpose for your audience. Only if your video gains traction will it populate at the top of your followers’ feeds.

Trending topics are typically overlooked as a lot of social media experts and marketers are running with their content calendars that are often produced 2-4 weeks in advance. A lot of the time, they are not keeping in mind the current cultural climate and even breaking news. When brands themselves stay engaged on Instagram and create incredibly timely content, tapping into those already happening conversations, audiences tend to act quick on the hot topic and engage with said post, which in turn will favor the post within the algorithm.

“Brands often forget that it’s important to get personal. You must figure out exactly who your brand persona is and exactly who your audience is; always have those top of mind. When you create a meaningful relationship with your audience, you will continue to cultivate an actively engaged and loyal audience. When they engage with your brand, Instagram will know they find a great interest in your brand, and will continue to put you at the top of their feed.”


Hector LopezHector Lopez

@hlopez_

College friends Hector Lopez, Eddy Homez and Omar Arambula started Instasize at 23-years old, creating an app to resize photos for Instagram. It launched on Black Friday in 2012, earning $7. Today, Instasize is a visual toolkit for social content creators and has achieved $14 million in revenue.

Instagram can limit the growth and discoverability of social creators. For example, Instagram decides when to show your content and who gets to see it. If you want more people – including more of your own followers – to see what you post, then you have to pay Instagram through their Promoted Post ad product.”


Tim AbsalikovTim Absalikov

@lasting_trend

Tim Absalikov is the co-founder and CEO of Lasting Trend, a Digital Marketing Agency in New York.

Having lots of followers is not the most important thing. Instagram, as well as other social media platforms, are beginning to focus on the metrics that actually matter. While the focus then was to gain as many followers as possible, the focus now is on engagement. It doesn’t matter if you have a million followers if only 2,000 of them interact with your content. That’s why micro influencers are becoming the new best thing. These are accounts that have under 10,000 followers, but the number of followers that actively engage with these accounts are significantly higher. Instagram prioritizes the accounts that have strong engagement on a consistent basis.


Gennady LitvinGennady Litvin

@gennadylitvin

Gennady Litvin is an Executive Associate at Moshes Law.

“Using Instagram hacks in 2019 doesn’t work as well as it used to. The Instagram hacks that used to work before such as follow and unfollow or Instagram like groups are starting to become undone by the updates in the algorithm. Instagram is cracking down on these cheap tactics so that the platform can get accounts to focus on creating genuine human interactions. People still seem to believe that these tactics will still yield the same results as it did before without understanding how the algorithm works.”


Tessa May MarrTessa May Marr

@MarrMediaGroup

Tessa May Marr is the CEO and Founder of Marr Media Group.

“Two words: Outbound Engagement! If you are not interacting with your followers then they are just having a one-way conversation, and no one likes that (especially the algorithms). You CANNOT just push out content through social and expect results. The fact is that 70% of posts don’t actually get seen because the new Instagram algorithm focuses on past page engagement. So, especially if your brand is new to Instagram (but this remains true for all brands!), you need to be authentically engaging with your followers on a very regular basis. Bots and quantity of posts don’t do the trick anymore. The algorithms are rewarding accounts that do this with increased reach. And the more you check, the better, but we suggest at least three times a day. At Marr Media Group, we offer this as a service to all of our clients so they can focus on their business and so that we don’t see all of our hard work curating amazing content and writing great copy go to waste! Bottom line: keep it real. Authentic is in.”


Richard GeorgeRichard George

@Print4H

Richard George is an experienced digital marketer at Print4Hospitality, with a diploma in digital marketing and over 5 years hands-on experience both doing and managing. Actively managing 5 websites on different platforms, Richard has extensive experience in SEO, CPC/CPM and CRO, as well as in videos, social media management, and event organization. Richard follows most of the thought top leaders in digital marketing, and enjoys a keeping up the date with the latest.

The thing that most people don’t understand about Instagram is the more you interact with a particular user, the more content you will see from them. That is why in business it is important to latch onto your customers’ needs and not just to communicate with people in the same line of business as you.

“So, for example, if you sell household appliances, rather than interacting with people like ao.com and John Lewis, your social media efforts will be much more effective if you communicate with the types of people who will buy household appliances rather than the supplier. This sounds very basic, but many companies trip up on this small point. They assume that because they sell household appliances they need to interact with the same type of people on social media. Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You may get some of their followers!

“Here’s a useful Instagram power-up/hack: Comment on competitors’ posts; you will find some of their followers will start to follow you! Slating or criticizing, negative comments, or asking people to follow you on competitors’ posts will not work. Keep it professional and positive.

“Instagram continues to embrace the typical three main social media factors including relevance, time, and relationships:

  • Relevance – What social media engines see as relevant is normally driven by two main factors: what you like/share and what you say in posts/replies.
  • Time – All social media is strongly linked to time. You are obviously more likely to see a post created a few minutes ago than one created a few weeks ago.
  • Relationships – This one is always a hot potato! Like it or not, nearly all platforms use all sorts of techniques to match users, including demographics, psychographics, geographics, and many other techniques as well – all of which you agree to when you sign up.

“So, if you want to crack Instagram, get users engaging with your content, and don’t be on there with sales in mind. Instead, be on to be sociable. Once people start to engage with your content, if you are on the ball you will be able to see sales opportunities developing. When an opportunity arises, you can grab it with both hands!”


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