Saturday, May 23, 2020

An Inside into the Instagram Algorithm and The Importance of Understanding It

After watching a free tutorial about Instagram and how to get your 'Dream Followers' earlier this week, I realised as the instructor spoke about how to use the Instagram algorithm to get better engagement that I need to be honest, and confess that I really did not know what the algorithm actually was! Yes, of course, I had heard the term many times, but I had no real idea of how it works, and how it can influence my Instagrams account's effectiveness. 

1. The Instagram Algorithm Predicts How Much You Care About a Post

Your Instagram feed isn’t just based on who you follow, it’s also based on who and what you like. Instagram algorithm keeps tabs on posts that you like. The more photos that you double-click, the more signals you give to the Instagram algorithm that you want to see more content like this in the future.

The more the Instagram algorithm thinks you will “like” that post, the higher it will appear in your feed. Therefore it is important to get your followers to double-click on your posts so that you will always appear in their feed.

2. Instagram Algorithm watches engagement with your followers

According to Instagram, the most important engagements for feed ranking are comments, likes, shares and reposts, and for video posts, views, which is especially helpful to know when you are planning your posts, content, and captions.

It is important that you create content that your followers will enjoy engaging with. If you have the ability you should plan what you are going to post each day. Try to plan a week, or even a month in advance. 
Variety is key, you don't want to be posting the same kind of content every day, or your followers will become bored or worse, unfollow you! 

Here are a few suggestions for some more unusual types of posts from your norm.

  • Post an inspiring quote A surprisingly large proportion of successful posts are quotes/memes, so every business should share this kind of content on occasions as a part of their posting strategy.

When I posted this quote on my Instagram feed it received 100 likes and 4 comments.

  • Ask a question - These can vary greatly, here are a few ideas:
Is there a household chore you secretly enjoy? If so, which one?
What famous landmark would you love to visit?

Or the one that I have used below:

This should initiate quite a few responses. Something you really need to be hot on is responding to comments, even emoji comments. You could respond with another emoji- If someone shows a sad emoji then you can respond with a hug emoji for example. 

Questions are a fun way to interact with your audience, and a good indicator that people enjoy what you are posting.

Make your posts exciting! 
I have used CANVA to create both of the posts above. This makes them much more visual. You can either post them using a background that you feel is appropriate to the post, or you could start branding your posts so that they all have the same look and feel about them, and ultimately become instantly recognisable as one of your posts! If you are unsure how to go about branding your business, check out Creating Your Brand Image by Zoe Adam- Jones. Through a video tutorial, she shows you how to create your brand image. 

Creating Your Brand & Image - Digital Marketing with Zoe Adam- Jones CBA

Comments are the most valuable form of engagement, as a comment is a tangible indication of a follower or customer's loyalty and commitment to you and your brand. The fact that they spent the time to write a comment means your audience is highly engaged with your content. 

Each share of your posts is like a mini organic advertisement for your content, and it rates very high on the engagement scale and is therefore something you want to encourage. A simple way to get people to share or repost your post is to create a competition. This is something that I am seeing more often on Facebook, and I am sure that Facebook algorithm works in a very similar way?

This is a competition that is being run by one of our local butchers on Facebook. They are asking people to LIKE the post, Leave a COMMENT and to SHARE to their own page, all the things that will generate great algorithm. At the time of me copying this post they had already generated 996 comments and 1.2 shares! I wonder how many new followers they have attracted too!

Some while ago I shared this Instagram Social Plan - One Month of Post Ideas by Fiona Flintham -

If you are struggling to find things to post about, this plan will give you some great pointers - and have you noticed that it's not all about the products that you are selling! 

3. It's all about the timing!

Posts that are more recent are more likely to be pushed to the top of people’s feeds. This means that posting when your audience is online is crucial. How do you know when they are online? Check your insights! For example, looking at my insights, the best time for me to post is between 3pm and midnight as that is when my followers are most active on Instagram - hmm, I seem to do most of mine in the mornings, so I will look to change my timing and see if it's make a difference!

The one thing that I truly love about creating posts like this is getting to learn so much while doing the research! I have started to put some of these ideas into practise over the different social media platforms that I work on and the initial results have been amazing! If you are on the QBN Members Facebook group, you may have seen a post that I shared asking members - 

If you could have a day working with anyone in the balloon industry who would you choose and why?

This post received 27 likes but more importantly 202 comments! The responses have been amazing and I feel that this post has re-connected many of the group's members who may  have been inactive for a while! 

Understanding algorithms is not easy, but getting an idea on how to engage with and grow your followers through exciting and consistent content is definitely a solid step towards making those algorithms work for you! 

Happy Ballooning!

Follow me on Instagram @suebowler


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