If you’re noticing something is a little off about your engagement; feeling like you are getting fewer comments, likes, and overall interaction. You are going to want to take some notes! Organic reach on Facebook has been on a steady decline year after year. Recently, they have implemented more changes on Facebook that make organic reach sound somewhat of a myth. Now people are noticing a shift in Instagram's algorithm as well.
This dramatic change in organic reach is causing many creators to feel attacked. However, consider the purpose of social media platforms. They are major avenues of advertising for businesses. If you can grow an audience purely through organic reach, then you wouldn't need to pay them to advertise and promote your products or services.
The Instagram algorithm is based on machine learning, thus the way your posts are ranked is ever-evolving. How can you use the algorithm to your benefit instead of your downfall? Consider three things that are primary ranking signals:
Instagram, like its parent company Facebook, is trying to keep people on the app, not because they’re addicted to it; but because they genuinely enjoy using it. The algorithm pushes posts from accounts that a user regularly interacts with. For example, if you follow and interact with @sazanhendrix then you will most likely see @sazanhendrix posts at the top of your feed. Thus human relationships are key! Focus on your community, interact with other profiles, slide into those DMs, tag each other, leave comments (more than a heart faced emoji).
The algorithm is more likely to show posts that are similar to posts a user has already liked. To keep people on a platform, the platform has to give the people what they want. Timing is important too! Posts that are 'most recent' are the posts a user is going to see at the top of their feed. Thus, it's best to post at the time your audience is likely going to be on Instagram.
What can be done to help? Several things:
Keep your eyeballs on your analytics
Just because Monday mornings were your go-to posting time in March does not mean it's your go-to posting time now. Since the way users interact with Instagram is ever-changing in a pandemic world, you must adapt to the frequent changes and frayed attention of your audience. Learn from the content that intrigued your audience and the content that lost them. Repost popular content where you can.
Take advantage of Reels
We understand many were not thrilled with Tik Tok to begin with or that Instagram came out with their own version of it. But if you look at Coca Cola and Pepsi's marketing strategies, it's kinda similar in its brilliance.
Reels are still fairly new on the platform, and some users don't understand quite how they work. This learning curve provides you, a unique opportunity to get ahead of the game. If you haven't noticed, most reels are overplayed Tik Tok videos, leaving users dissatisfied and scrolling for new content. Now is your time to shine with original content! If you are not sure how to create a reel check out this link:
Don't be Shallow
Don't make the mistake of using engagement bait in your captions. Write something worth reading, that will encourage your audience to interact with, rather than telling your audience to interact.
Respond to DMs, and respond to comments. The algorithm uses these actions to gauge your relationship with other accounts. Going on other profiles and pitching yourself in the comments is NOT going to help you. The algorithm dislikes bots, so don't act like a bot or spam.
Stories are not to be overlooked, according to 99Firms here is why:
1- One third of the most viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses
2- Stories make up 34% of Instagram-sponsored content
3- 59% of brands link stories to a shoppable page
4- 36% of businesses use stories for product promotion
With all the buzz about building relationships and acting natural. Stories are your bread and butter to interact with your audience. Use it to ask questions, build your community, showcase your products and add links to your blog.
Use Hashtags Wisely
We are all for using hashtags, but the more information we consume the more understand its not necessary to use 30 hashtags per post. What you can do is use hashtags that make you content more discoverable. Translation: stay away from those larger hashtags that are over saturated. Learn from accounts similar to yours, what hashtags work for them?
Make sure the hashtags you are using are actually relevant to the content you are applying them too. Get creative, by curating your own hashtags! This is a great way for people to easily see your content, and accumulate user-generated content. If you are a brand, encourage your audience to use your hashtag when they post about your products.
The Instagram Algorithm is evolving constantly, but that doesn't mean your biz or brand can't keep up!