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The Instagram Algorithm in 2018: What’s Changed?

February 28, 2018

 

The seemingly constant evolution within social media platforms can lead to confusion and frustration for individuals and businesses alike. And, let’s face it, the Snapchat update has most of us feeling lost!

 

Thankfully, Truffle is here to help guide you through the current Instagram changes and the tools which can be used to supercharge your social media presence, despite the various developments made to your social feed.

 

While the original chronological feed was effective for keeping Instagram followers updated with current content, the new algorithm is a lot more advanced and now plays a key part in a business marketing strategy. Still unsure how? Read on to find out more.

 

We've been inspired by Later, who help plan, manage and schedule posts through their advanced apps (many of which are free!).

 

Engagement Equals High Quality

 

Essentially, Instagram considers how many likes and interactions a post gets, and rewards the account accordingly, by showing similar posts to followers. Interaction includes likes, comments, direct messages (DM’s) and the number of video views. The algorithm also considers how quickly this engagement is received in order to work out the popularity of a post. This means that the most important Insta highlights get priority in our feeds.

We suggest:

  • Identify the ideal posting time, so you know when your audience is most active. This will increase your post’s reach, maintain a high level of likes and interactions, and create a well-informed schedule.

  • Use apps such as Later's feature which automatically calculates the highest performing posting time based on your account history. Once you've selected an ideal range of times, interaction rates should become less random and more positive.

Utilising Instagram Stories

 

Instagram Stories and similar live features are more important than ever for businesses, as these can receive over 300 million daily active users! The more a user interacts with a story, the more likely it is for that account's posts to show up at the top of their feed on a regular basis.

The demand aspect is also important here, as users will know that unlike regular posts, stories can only last up to 24 hours, and so they are more likely to keep checking in with favourite accounts, to avoid missing any updates.

 

We suggest:

  • Maintain a consistent schedule of both Instagram posts and daily stories. For example, giving a 'behind-the-scenes' glimpse into your business can encourage curiosity amongst followers.

  • Use the new ‘Type’ mode to add creative fonts and insert hilarious GIFs, stickers or hashtags to give your story more depth and personality. There are now a much wider range of font styles, colours and sizes to experiment with.

How Much Time Are Followers Looking at Your Post?

 

That's right - the new algorithm tracks how long someone takes viewing a post! The longer they spend, the more interested in that content Instagram assumes they are, and so similar posts from that account will start appearing regularly in their feed.

 

We suggest:

  • Take the time to create the perfect caption for that perfect photo. Attention grabbing, non-generic and one that will hold your audience’s gaze for as long as possible.

  • To make this a little easier, draft a selection of captions in advance, which include relevant emojis and hashtags that have been well-received previously. This saves you time in the long run and allows for quicker posting when you have a schedule to keep up with!

Keep Them Swiping: The Appeal of Carousel Posts

 

Carousel posts (otherwise known as gallery reels) enable you to share up to 10 photos in a single post. This tends to keep followers on your posts for longer, as they can interact and browse through the mini album.

 

We suggest:

  • For sneak peaks at new product releases or brand updates, the carousel function is great for showcasing multiple images in one place. Perhaps even add a 'treasure hunt' feel to the mini album by hiding clues in each image for followers to find while flicking through.

  • Draw attention to press events by sharing a variety of strong and striking images of guests, locations and themes. It might seem like a quick update or wrap up of the night before is easier, but followers are likely to spend more time looking through collections of pictures that appear to give them access to something exclusive, such as a private party or a VIP evening.

Hashtags Do Help

 

 

Hashtags are an effective way to increase follower count and engagement, as those who search for specific terms or use similar hashtags in their own posts, will now start to see a lot more relevant posts in their feeds.

 

We suggest:

  • Save a list of the most commonly used hashtags in your industry and make sure to incorporate some (or all) of these when sharing your images. These will also be a helpful reference point for future captions, to ensure that vital, relevant keywords are included.

  • Add common hashtags to your Instagram advertisements (if you’re utilising this paid feature), drawing in viewers who may not necessarily be following your account.

Comments Are Conversations

 

Instagram celebrates those accounts who regularly interact with their audiences, increasing their exposure accordingly. For businesses, this means keeping up genuine conversations with your followers is a vital strategy.

 

We suggest:

  • Ask a question in your caption to encourage communication and feedback from followers.

  • Keep up the consistent contact by putting some time aside each day to comment on followers' posts, as well as commenting on other accounts that you admire and respect. Network, network, network!

Get Specific

 

Reaching out to specific accounts mean that Instagram will generate favourite content and show these at the start of our feeds. The more that users interact with a post, the more frequently these posts will start appearing.

 

Furthermore, creating an Instagram feed with a specific audience in mind increases the chances of people engaging with and following your business, as the content will be more valuable to them.

 

We suggest:

  • Add a note in your captions for users to follow the link in your Instagram bio, so that they know they can access more content off social media. Don’t forget to change the link in your bio frequently to reflect your most recent and relevant work.

  • Stick to a consistent aesthetic so that current and future followers know what to expect from your account. Your page represents your intended message, so showcase images which give the best impression possible.

Identify Your Performance Rating

 

Tracking Instagram analytics can identify what is currently working for your account, and what is less successful. Working this out is an important step towards find new approaches to improve your social media presence.

 

We suggest:

  • Use Later's free app (LINK https://later.com/blog/instagram-analytics/). It's perfect for quickly and efficiently breaking down audience and post statistics into clear information. Some areas the app covers include: the optimum posting time, how to grow engagement and increasing your business’ reach.

  • Analyse data using other social media apps such as Squarelovin, which gives monthly, daily and hourly reports to track growth. These apps can also be used to manage your account, create photo albums and schedule content to be uploaded.

Once mastered, these new Instagram algorithm updates can in fact work in your favour, increasing visibility and encouraging much more valuable engagement.

Final Tips

  • Consistent activity across the platform is beneficial, so get liking, commenting and sharing in whichever way best suits you.

  • Use polls in your Instagram Story to interact with your audience further and consider using the Instagram Live feature for documenting important events and product launches.

  • Take advantage of the tailor-made Explore & Hashtag pages. These pages handpick and display relevant accounts which Instagram believes are most suited to you and your interests. Competitors and social media influencers can be found here, as can popular new hashtags

     

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What’s Next for Insta?

We've heard that the new Instagram update is bringing a 'Related Posts' element to the platform, which will include recommended content from Instagram directly within our feeds. We will also be able to get a better insight into what our friends have been interacting with and liking, as Instagram will use this as a way to predict what we might be interested in too.

 

Overall, these updates are a great opportunity for businesses to really get creative and think of ways to become THE brand to watch in their sector. If you can’t beat the algorithm, join it! Just make sure you’re doing it right.  


 

This article was inspired by https://later.com/blog/how-instagram-algorithm-works/?utm_source=Later HYPERLINK "https://later.com/blog/how-instagram-algorithm-works/?utm_source=Later&utm_campaign=b85d5c26b5-Newsletter_IGAlgorithm&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ed013a3012-b85d5c26b5-29900509"& HYPERLINK "https://later.com/blog/how-instagram-algorithm-works/?utm_source=Later&utm_campaign=b85d5c26b5-Newsletter_IGAlgorithm&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ed013a3012-b85d5c26b5-29900509"utm_campaign=b85d5c26b5-Newsletter_IGAlgorithm HYPERLINK "https://later.com/blog/how-instagram-algorithm-works/?utm_source=Later&utm_campaign=b85d5c26b5-Newsletter_IGAlgorithm&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ed013a3012-b85d5c26b5-29900509"& HYPERLINK "https://later.com/blog/how-instagram-algorithm-works/?utm_source=Later&utm_campaign=b85d5c26b5-Newsletter_IGAlgorithm&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ed013a3012-b85d5c26b5-29900509"utm_medium=email HYPERLINK "https://later.com/blog/how-instagram-algorithm-works/?utm_source=Later&utm_campaign=b85d5c26b5-Newsletter_IGAlgorithm&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ed013a3012-b85d5c26b5-29900509"& HYPERLINK "https://later.com/blog/how-instagram-algorithm-works/?utm_source=Later&utm_campaign=b85d5c26b5-Newsletter_IGAlgorithm&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ed013a3012-b85d5c26b5-29900509"utm_term=0_ed013a3012-b85d5c26b5-29900509 (Was used as a source)

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