Dear friends, this week, we are going to continue our Social Media Success (SMS) series from where we left. The 1st part spoke on building a goal-oriented social media strategy. Today, in our 2nd part, we will show you how to decode the latest Instagram algorithm.

You may already know that in 2016 Instagram incorporated an algorithm into its feed. Instagram has assured us that our feed is now ‘ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.’ To some user’s this sounds great, however, this is bad news for businesses; if their viewers do not engage with their posts through likes and comments, the algorithm has the potential to hide their activity.

Here are some quick tips to help you beat the algorithm.

  1. Timing

There are some basic tools, like Buffer, that will let you see your stats. Use them to find out the best times to make your posts – when your posts are getting the most reactions from your followers. These times will be the best times to post.

The algorithm likes to show us the most recently uploaded pictures, so if your company uploads an image at 10am on a Thursday morning, you probably aren’t going to get the same amount of engagement as you would at 8pm when people are out of work. You could also schedule your posts on the weekend when followers are most active.

  1. Hashtag Search

Even though the Instagram’s new algorithm might bury brand posts, brands can still utilize Instagram’s hashtag system to engage with their target audience. Here is the way to do it:

  • Create a preset of 15–20 hashtags that fit to 90% of your pictures on your notes (mix popular and less popular hashtags)
  • As soon as your picture is posted, write a comment below your own pic and paste the list of hashtags inside
  • Add 5 to 10 situational hashtags to this same comment. They have to be related to your picture, and the most accurate as possible (even ifthey are not so popular)
  • Then, post the comment.
  1. Engagement

Your content is shown first thing to the followers who are the most engaged with you + a percentage of the rest of your followers. If the “rest of your followers” (who usually don’t see your content) engage with it, they have more chances to see your further publications. The quicker people engage with your publication after you post it, the more Instagram pushes it to the rest of your followers.

It is important to note your paid strategies should supplement and complement your engagement and community strategy.

Here are five ways brands can develop relationships with their target audience:

  • ‘Like’ multiple target audience’s posts to show up on their notifications (don’t ask them to turn on notifications)
  • Follow target users and try to speak with them (Usually through comments)
  • Every 24 hours unfollow users who don’t follow your brand back
  • Infiltrate circle of friends
  • Ask to repost pictures that make sense to your brand
  1. Caption
  • Make it relevant, tag people involved in your pic
  • Tell a story, even if it’s just 2 lines
  • Don’t spam it with hashtags
  1. Content

The most important part is to make sure that you are posting quality content. Having a themed Instagram page might make your page looks more professional. This is where you can showcase your brand personality, think of a consistent use of colours and images.

Exclusive content could be a contest or content your audience won’t find on your brand’s other social media platforms. Sharing videos is another good way, as they tend to create more engagement than other content types.

Also, it should only take 2 weeks to track average engagement of these post types using analytics such as Iconosquare, so once you get an idea for what’s working — focus on that. Besides, make sure to repost your top performing content from time to time.

These tips when followed consistently, definitely boost your Instagram audience. If you find this useful, you may follow us on Instagram as well @eCommerceTrendz.