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5 Ways to Maximize the New Instagram Algorithm

I’ve been asked a lot about the new Instagram algorithm recently so I thought I’d put together a handful of tips to help you maximize your Instagram strategy.

For those of you who may not know what an algorithm means for a social media channel, Facebook is a good example. Facebook newsfeeds use an algorithm so users do not see everything posted on Facebook, but rather a curated selection of posts selected through an algorithm. Instagram was acquired by Facebook close to two years ago (for a billion dollars!) so it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that they are switching to an algorithm format. But there has still been a bit of an uproar about this announcement.

One general complaint with an algorithm is that it can be more difficult for individuals and brands to get their content seen. Again, using Facebook as an example, they claim to have over 100,000 factors that go into their algorithm, creating a bit of a “puzzle” for businesses.

But all complaints aside, this change is happening and in my nearly 10 years of experience in the social media consulting world, it’s the people that are able to adapt and embrace these inevitable changes that are the ones who succeed. So today I’m going to share with you a few tips to help you maximize the new Instagram algorithm.

Consistent content. The first thing you can do to combat any algorithm, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other platform is consistent content. I think this is where many people have difficulty, especially on Instagram. There’s a tendency to get all fired up and post a ton on Instagram one day…and then not post again for a few days. But with an algorithm, consistency is the name of the game. Yes, I know this is sort of the boring answer and something everyone might know already. Yet, it’s one of those things that is so simple to do, that it’s also simple not to do. Posting consistently 2-3 times a day on Instagram, with a variety of content, is really going to help you as the new algorithm unfolds.

Pro tip: Use an app like Repost or Regram to share other’s content. Not only is this a great way to shout out others on the platform, but it’s also a great resource for creating consistent content.

Creating content that is made for Instagram. What I mean by this is a couple of things. One, it’s creating images that are square and look designed specifically for Instagram using tools such as Canva, Stencil or PicMonkey. Also check out the new app, Ripl, which allows you to make custom, animated posts for Instagram and other social platforms.

But beyond that, it’s also about creating content that speaks directly to your Instagram audience. One way I’ve been doing this is to create short videos that are speaking directly to my Instagram followers. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to recreate the wheel but if you have a piece of content (like a blog post) that you would like to push out, take a few extra minutes to customize your post for Instagram.

Engaging with other people. Not a big surprise here, but it’s worth repeating that it can’t be about just posting and running away. An interesting thing about Instagram’s algorithm is it will be keeping track of your likes, your comments and who you’re engaging with on the platform. It will also keep track of how much time you spend in the app and (rumor has it) how long you hover on a post. So it’s safe to say that engaging with others will only help your Instagram credibility.

Spending a little money on Instagram advertising will help increase your overall visibility and engagement on the platform.

Spending a little money on Instagram advertising will help increase your overall visibility and engagement on the platform.

Advertising. I know we don’t like to talk about spending money with social media, but as with Facebook I believe there will be a bit of the pay to play aspect to the new Instagram algorithm. I can almost guarantee that the brands and businesses that spend a little money on Instagram advertising are the ones who are going to have their content more seen and see higher engagement. If you’ve never done advertising on Instagram it’s super easy. It’s actually done through Facebook. Go to facebook.com/ads and create your ad through Facebook’s ad platform.

Share with people the ability to turn on their notifications about you. Now, I share this last tip with caution. If you’ve been on Instagram recently you’ve probably seen a lot of people doing this. While it can be a smart move, do so with caution. By turning on their notifications, your followers will get a notification on their phone every time you post. So just be smart about if, when and how you ask people to turn on notifications.

Another smart idea is to turn on notifications for the people and brands whom you are intentionally trying to build and nurture a relationship. I’ve done this with clients and potential clients and it’s allowed me to be very intentional about my interactions on the platform.

Watch my Periscope on this topic:

What are your Instagram tips and/or questions? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment below or head on over to our #GetSocialSmart Facebook Group and jump in the conversation. I’ll see you there!

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