Instagram Algorithm Best Practices from 2018 to 2019

Marissa Heckman
By Marissa Heckman

Let’s start by breaking down what the algorithm currently favors. The Instagram algorithm, from the user perspective, will show you what you like – literally, what you Like. In other words, getting engagement is more critical than ever for your business profile’s content to show. The more likes, the more reach. The less likes, the lower the reach. There are a few insights Instagram slipped to the public, which are:

  1. Timely Content
  2. Interest
  3. Relationship

Interest

First things first, your content needs to be well-liked. Based on a user’s past behavior, the Instagram algorithm will put posts that it thinks the user will like, such as an account whose posts they have liked in the past, higher into the top of their feed.

Timely Content

The algorithm will favor recently posted posts. What Instagram is trying to move away from was the initial Instagram update that received a lot of backlash. Remember when you would see a friends post from over a week ago? That shouldn’t happen anymore. So, we have timely content (aka frequency matters) and interest (aka make sure your content is valuable and engagement-driven).

Relationship

Instagram remembers if you tag a user in your caption, photos, or in comments. Given this engagement, Instagram will show content to users that have interacted with each other in this way. Therefore, as a brand, commenting back and tagging users is beneficial for more than just creating connection, but also bettering your spot in that person’s feed.

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Myth

Before diving into tips to win within the algorithm battlefield, let’s get one myth out of the way.

Video

When video content started hitting the social media scene last year, the algorithm did favor video content. However, now it is not so apples to apples. Your video will not perform well just because it’s a video. It will now only perform well if it is gaining good traction.

Tips

Utilize Instagram Stories

Keep your Instagram profile active and engaging. A great way to stay at the forefront of your audience’s feed is by utilizing Instagram Stories, which can cause profile visits and other sources of engagement to feed the algorithm with bonus points towards your content.

Instagram Ads

Whether you boost your Instagram posts or have paid ads running on Instagram, a little monetary love can go a long way. Tip: One way to boost your Instagram posts is through your Facebook profile.

Post During Active Hours

Make sure you are scheduling or live posting your content during the times of the day that coincide with your audience’s time on social media. Although the algorithm can push your content to the next day for some users, the first few hours a post is live is crucial. If you post during an active hour and gain engagement then, your post will be shown to more users. On the flip side, if you post during off hours and have little viewers to see your content within the first few hours, your content may read as irrelevant and be sent to the bottom of the priority list within the algorithm.

Trending Topics Matter

By this we mean – stay relevant. Relevant, timely content performs well because, more likely than not, this is also top of mind for the viewers. Think of the posts you see from brands about going to vote or donating to a local community that experienced a wildfire, etc. If it’s top of mind for your target audience – and it’s appropriate to take a stand on – do it.

Invest in Quality Photography/Videography

Nowadays, visuals are everything. If you have poor quality visuals and a fantastic caption, you still probably will not perform well. Invest in quality assets. It will go a long way and lend to your brand’s credibility.

Get Personal

Creating a meaningful connection with your audience will forever keep your engagement rate high and therefore keep you in the algorithm’s favor. Figure out what your brand is and who your audience is, sincerely.

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Marissa is an Organic Social Media Specialist at Power Digital. Born and raised in California, she enjoys working in the digital space to practice and enhance her strategic and creative thinking. Having graduated top of her class at SDSU, she finds enjoyment in the ever-changing and challenging world of marketing.