I’m sure we can all agree that 2020 hasn’t been the smoothest of years, but that shouldn’t stop you from making the most out of the New Year. One way is growing your business through social media. Instagram is a platform that filters posts based on a user’s interactions, interests, hashtags, and followers. This filtration is called an algorithm.  

The purpose of the algorithm is to show users the content they will like to increase the amount of time spent on the platform. More time means a higher chance of seeing advertisements and therefore spending money. A huge part of growing your business through social media is cracking the algorithm and lucky for you, we’ll break it down for you. 

Factors That Play Into the Algorithm

Interest: 

This includes the types of posts you like, save, and share. The more you like a certain type of post, the more those types of posts appear. 

Relationship

Instagram filters based on who you interact with the most. This could be your close friends, celebrities you like and accounts with mutual interests. All to increase your time on the platform. This also includes interactions such as showing more viral posts.

Time: 

How often and for how long. The more you open the app, the more organized and specific your timeline will appear because Instagram gives you the best posts since your last visit. Keep in mind that this does not mean your feed will always be in chronological order (though it can be) as that feature ended a long time ago. If you frequent the app at a lesser rate, the chances of seeing posts you don’t like are increased because the algorithm hasn’t had time to “get to know you” yet. 

How the Algorithm Works

The algorithm actually grades your posts. Yes, like in school. What does this mean? A post will go through a series of phases and each passing phase pushes your post to gain even more attention. 

Let’s look at these phases starting when you make a new post. 

Phase 1- Engagement Score: 

Because the algorithm goes by interest, your post is sent out to only about 10% of your followers after you make a post. These are the ones that interacted the most with your past posts and will more likely interact with your latest posts. 

However, based on how the 10% react to your new post will determine if your other 50-90% will even see it. If the interaction is positive, Instagram will show it to more people because it proves that people liked your post. The more people who see it, the more your engagement score can fluctuate either positively or negatively. 

Phase 2- Account Quality Score: 

After your engagement score, you want to make sure that Instagram sees your account as useful and essential. Many accounts are too small to make an impact. To ensure your importance and quality, check to see if your account gets mentions, tags, and even profile visits. The more you have of these, the higher chance your post has to reach beyond followers. 

Phase 3- Hashtags: 

Next is categorization. Where does your post fit when it comes? This is where your hashtags come into play. Be sure to use relevant and popular hashtags. Nobody wants to search a hashtag and find a post unrelated and popular hashtags increase the probability of your post being seen. 

Phase 4- Push to Explore Page: 

The explore page is where the magic happens and there are many deciding factors when it comes to reaching it; these are the algorithm factors discussed earlier plus a few more.

Your followers and who you follow can also make or break your ability to pass to the explore page. It’s important to have organic followers for this reason. Having organic followers will give you authentic likes, comments, shares, and most importantly mentions and tags. Take the time every now and then to unfollow your “ghost” followers. In other words, you don’t want to associate with accounts that never interact with your content because it can drag down the algorithm. 

Ways to push to the explore page are through your quality score, content category, and the keywords associated with your account. Keywords are now a part of the new update and will likely grow in their importance so look out for that. 

Some “Keep-In-Mind”s

#1 What Does “Shadow-Banned” Mean?

When your account is “shadow-banned” it means that besides your followers, your account is hidden from users. This can have something to do with a violation of the Terms of Agreement or it could simply be because your account is “useless” to the algorithm. Don’t be too quick to report the issue because it may be a fault on your end such as dry content. 

#2 What If the Algorithm Changes?

In simple terms, don’t worry too much about the algorithm. Wait, what? Then why did you just read all of this? The algorithm is beneficial to understanding what could happen to your post but, it is not the most important thing. Like many things in life, it is always changing because the algorithm itself is meant to change and adapt to each user based on all the things we’ve discussed (likes, interests, interactions, etc.). It is far too complex to be your main focus.

Knowing the basics is all you will need in addition to the type of content you produce but, that’s all on you as the creator. 

#3 Engage with Your Audience

There’s a reason why our slogan says “Build The Buzz”.

Want more comments? Want more likes? Engage your audience. The easiest way to do this is by asking a question at the end of your post. Because of the increase in interactions, the algorithm will believe your post useful to others and push it forward through the phases. Not only does it bring more attention, but it also builds your credibility and sincerity as a business or business owner. There’s a reason why our slogan says “Build The Buzz”.

#4 Pay Attention to Your Followers

If you forget everything else in this blog, remember that your followers play a critical part in becoming a success. This the BIGGEST takeaway for 2021. Instagram is a great tool to build your business and establish yourself as a business owner but without your followers, you can never grow through this platform. 

For example, if you’re more focused on posting at the right time than creating content that appeals to your followers, then the algorithm will never share your content to the extent you want it to.

Side note: Your post won’t make it to the Explore Page unless you have at least 1,000 followers. Any lower and the algorithm won’t see your account as useful. Posting relevant content and interacting with your posts can help in increasing your followers because it creates a relatable atmosphere.We get, this can be tricky.

Recap

Be open-minded about the algorithm and understand what it’s based on so that you can create better higher quality and more useful content for your current and future followers going into the New Year.

 

For more information or opportunities about growing your business or re-branding, follow us on our socials or further explore our website at www.1socialbuzz.com!

 

1Social Buzz Team!

 

Resources: 

https://www.default-design.com/instagram-for-businesses/?lang=en

https://www.squaredacademy.com/learn/beat-the-instagram-algorithm