Instagram adopted a new algorithm in 2016. Since then, Instagram users have given it mixed reviews. Many users are now seeing more content that’s relevant to them — and seeing it in a timely manner. In fact, since the change, Instagram claims that users are now seeing 90 percent of posts from the people they care about most.
But what does this mean for brands that have seen a drop in engagement since the algorithm was adopted? And what does it mean for new brands that are trying to grow? In both cases, the issue could be that too many users aren’t seeing your posts. Luckily, there are many ways you can boost your standing in Instagram’s algorithm so more people will see your posts.
How to get more people to see your Instagram posts
1. Create better content
The key to getting more people to see your posts on Instagram is to create more relevant and valuable content for your audience. This will encourage more of your followers (and viewers) to engage with your content by liking, commenting on, saving, or sharing your posts. By engaging with your posts, these users essentially send a signal to Instagram that viewers find your posts interesting and valuable. They are showing Instagram that they’d like to see more content from your brand (or even a brand that’s similar to your brand) in the future. A post with more likes, shares, views, saves, and comments will then rank higher in each follower’s Instagram feed because it is deemed more valuable than posts with less engagement.
Instagram’s algorithm also factors in how long viewers spend looking at your post. If they click on a post and then immediately leave the post, it signals to Instagram that the content isn’t all that valuable. If viewers take the time to read the caption or comment on the post, this will signal to Instagram that the content is of better quality. This is where video content can really help you out: It can take longer for viewers to watch a video than view a photo, so Instagram’s algorithm often sees video content as more valuable.
2. Use the right tools to boost visibility
To boost engagement, you need to use the right hashtags for your posts. Ideally, you’ll use currently trending hashtags or the most popular hashtags overall. Hashtags can also help your chances of being seen in the Explore feature. You should also take advantage of as many Instagram features as possible, because the app will reward you for using more of their features. For example, use the polling or swipe up features in Instagram Stories, or experiment with Instagram Live.
3. Get to know your followers
With a business account on Instagram, you’ll have free access to Instagram Insights. This is an incredibly useful tool for figuring out basic information about your followers, such as when they’re most active on Instagram and where they’re located. You’ll also learn their gender or age, if applicable. This information will help you to determine when you should be posting and what type of content you should focus on based on your audience in order to get the most Instagram followers.
4. Encourage viewers to engage with your content
Encourage your followers to engage with your posts by liking, commenting on, or sharing your posts. This is known as a “call to action.” By asking that they perform a certain action, you’re showing that you care about your followers and how much they are interested in your content. Make sure that your call to action is strong and clear. You may want to ask them a question (to encourage them to comment) or invite them to visit your blog, buy a specific product, or simply share or like your content. Don’t forget to respond to comments, either! Instagram rewards brands that engage with their followers, particularly within the first hour of posting.
5. Post content frequently
Another big factor in increasing the visibility and rank of your posts is to post content more frequently. Instagram’s algorithm not only cares about general post engagement, but also how recent the post is and how quickly you receive engagement.
6. Post content when your viewers are most active
If you want to really boost your chances of being seen, you’ll need to figure out the best time to post your content so that you’re more likely to receive more likes, comments, shares, views, etc. While there are certain times of day that generally see better engagement than others — such as before people go to work, around lunchtime, and in the evening — you’ll mainly want to consider when your specific followers are more likely to see and engage with your content. That said, if your followers and viewers are located in many different time zones, you should post content at the peak times for each time zone.
7. Take advantage of content management software
Obviously, you’re not going to want to get up to post content in the middle of the night on the east coast so that followers in California see your content. That’s where content management software becomes handy (and necessary) for scheduling posts. Two of the most popular content management services are Hootsuite and Joomla.
8. Analyze your results
Whether you use content management software or share posts manually, you should keep track of when you post (days and times), the type of content you post, and the different types of engagement you receive (how many likes, shares, comments, and views). You may also want to track the hashtags you use for each post, among other details. After some time, analyze your data. If you’re still not seeing the results you want, go back and see how you can improve your Instagram strategy to receive more visibility.