We’ve all heard of the Instagram algorithms, but what are they? Well, it’s a bunch of behind-the-scenes code that analyses your activity and the performance of your content. The more engaging your content, the more likely your posts will be served!
Except, attracting viewers is easier said than done – Instagram’s algorithms are complex beasts that need taming. Well, fret not as the Insta whisperer is here, ready to share just what you need.
Instagram algorithms hunger for engagement
First off, we need to create engaging content as this is key to beating the Instagram algorithms. That means you should consider what will drive those likes, comments, saves and shares.
Likes are the easiest to gain out of the four metrics. These can often be gained by sharing photos of you and your clients, milestones, motivation posts, and light-hearted Reels from the salon. Comments are a little harder to snag, but these can be aided by captions encouraging followers to fill in the blank, Q&As and, of course, fab work from your team. Getting people to save your content requires things like handy checklists, tutorials, and Instagram how-to guides. Meanwhile, shares need things like relatable memes, breaking news, and promotions or giveaways. If in any doubt, we have plenty of social media content ideas to help you stay ahead too!
Check your audience for when to post
This may sound obvious, but you would be surprised how many don’t check their followers’ activity! Firstly, make sure you audit your followers and remove any who are inactive or bots, as inactive followers will hit your engagement rate negatively. While there are several apps out there that can help remove those ghost followers, they may not be authorised and could get your account banned, so it’s best to just remove them the old-fashioned way. This involves checking your content to see who has engaged and making a note of them against your list of followers. You can then visit the ghost follower’s profile, press the three dots in the top right of their profile, then press ‘unfollow’!
Next, check when your remaining followers are online by heading to your Instagram business page’s Insights, found in your profile and tapping the hamburger menu in the top right. You can then view when your audience is online, meaning you can post when they’re most active and boost engagement.
Regular content is also a sure-fire way of beating Instagram algorithms to engage your audience. In fact, Insta CEO Adam Mosseri recommended to post two to three times a week, or once a day at most. After all, showing up regularly keeps you in your audience’s mind compared to popping up once in a blue moon.
Captions and carousels to keep viewers longer
Did you know that one way to hack Insta’s algorithms is by showing longer content? It’s true! Instagram tracks how long someone looks at your posts (retention), meaning it will then serve that content to more people. Long but engaging captions are an excellent way of doing this. While it’s easy to forget about captions on a visually-led platform, these are so important as you can tell fun stories, relay info and incite followers to visit your bio to take action. Just remember to make them easily digestible with a conversational tone and regular paragraph breaks. Why not throw in a few emoji’s to keep things interesting too?
Meanwhile, carousel-style posts make use of multiple pics in a series. You could use a carousel for a series of quick beauty tips or show off summer hairstyles by one of your staff. Either way, someone will need to swipe right to view the full story, ensuring they stick around for longer. But it doesn’t stop there! If viewers don’t swipe right the post will be served again later, showing the next image in the carousel. That’s hard-working content.
We all know Instagram is moving forward video content too. With this in mind, Stories, Reels and IGTV will also hook people for longer!
Notification hacks to beat Instagram algorithms
Gone are the days where Instagram showed a chronological feed of activity. Instagram’s algorithms now show content it predicts you will engage with most, based on previous activity. So, how do you make sure viewers still receive your content and don’t forget about you?
With notifications of course! Simply head to one of the accounts you follow, head to the top right, and click the bell icon. You can then select to be notified for posts, Stories, IGTV and live videos, making sure you see posts from your favourite accounts as soon as they go out. Most importantly, encourage your followers to do the same for you so that they are kept updated on your activity!
There are plenty more hacks to help you stay on top of Instagram’s ever-changing algorithms. Why not check our hacks for Instagram Stories and Reels to make the most of your video content?