7 Simple Ways to Hack the Instagram Algorithm

Instagram is updating their algorithm constantly. Thanks to their AI engine, their recommendations are getting more and more relevant. How do you “hack” the system? How do you ensure that your content gets seen by your current audience, as well as new followers? 

We won't cover any black-hat tactics. Rather, we will focus on concrete steps that can help you succeed in the long run.

First things first. Instagram is taking these six factors into consideration when looking at your content:

  • Interest: The algorithm predicts how many people will take interest in your content
  • Relationship: The algorithm determines your relationship with followers
  • Timeliness: When the post gets published is taken into consideration
  • Frequency: Instagram shows the best content since your last visit
  • Following: Based on how many profiles your audience follows, the algorithm shows the best content available. 
  • Usage: Based on how much time your audience spends on Instagram, the algorithm shows certain content.

Later did a great job describing these factors in their post. For podcast lovers, here is Buffer's session on how the algorithm works.

We promised seven simple ways to hack the algorithm – while not using any black hat tactics. Let's get started.

1. Create Valuable Content For Your Followers

Hold on. We know this is a vague suggestion. But answer a few questions for yourself, first:

Can you describe your audience – their interests, habits, values, desires and headaches? Do you know exactly what content drives your audience? 

If not, your content cannot appeal to them. Knowing your followers and being able to create content they're truly passionate about is the key. 

Your reward will, needless to say, be better content ranking, a higher organic reach and (genuine) engagement.

2. Know When Your Followers Are Active

Timing is one of the key factors. Make sure to dig into your analytics and see when your audience spends time on Instagram. You may find plenty of general tips on when to post. Forget about them. Make decisions based on your own data. To save time, use tools that help you schedule posts and automate your work.

📖 Read more about the best social media scheduling tools for 2020.

3. Engage With Your Followers Like No One Else Would

Engagement is everything. We cannot stress this enough. Relationship, the second most important factor for the Instagram algorithm, is about giving your followers reasons to interact with you. 

By answering comments, giving personalised tips and warm thank you messages, you ensure people will lead a conversation, rather than passively consume what you serve.

4. Build Alliances With Other Content Creators

Collaborating with other content creators in your field may help you get higher exposure Thus, you can engage with more people and not only grow your followers, but also increase your reach and engagement. 

The more people you attract, the better it is for your ranking on Instagram. Alliances with other influencers and creators can be of great benefit – for all parties. Inviting hosts to your live streams is one example of such a tactic.

5. Get Other Accounts to Publish Your Content

The history of the account matters. Find accounts that have been in the game for some time, reach out to them and offer your unique and engaging content. If they find value in what you do, they may use your content for their own post or story and publish it (while tagging you). Thus, your content gets in front of many people, you grow your followers and you outsmart the algorithm by leveraging other Instagram accounts.

There is one important thing that hasn't been said yet. The partnered account must speak to your audience about you. If there is no correlation, success won't come.

Here is how Lee Ryan took advantage of the size of Adidas' audience by having his post shared.

6. Use New Instagram Features to Rank Higher

Instagram regularly rolls out a plethora of new features. These features – like it was with Stories a few years ago – are preferred by the algorithm in some cases. Using the newest features can help you get the most out of the system. This is something that needs to be tested and may not be applicable for all accounts.

Instagram launched an official profile called @Creators where they suggest tactics and answer frequently asked questions on how the algorithm works. Check that out for inspiration.

7. Behave Like a Personal Profile

Instagram – as well as Facebook – prefers connections between friends and family. Brands have been sidelined. To take advantage of it, try to behave like a personal profile. One of the tactics you can use is sending voice messages to your followers. Not a spam message, always think of the value, of course. But by doing so, you give signals to Instagram that you engage with your followers like personal profiles do – most businesses don't do that. The results should be an increased organic reach of your content… Test it out.

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Key Takeaways

  • Know your audience and create content that appeals to them.
  • Timing is important. Post when your audience is active.
  • Build relationships with your followers by offering genuine help and inspiration.
  • Build alliances with other creators.
  • Get other accounts to publish your content.
  • Use new Instagram features as soon as they are introduced.
  • Behave like a personal profile.

We've shared some of the tactics that will help you get the most out of the Instagram algorithm. Always keep in mind that the quality of your content matters most -not in terms of the professional equipment you use to capture photos or videos, but in terms of your uniqueness and engagement with real followers. Be genuine, stay consistent and help yourself with some of the hacks we shared above. Good luck! 🤞

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What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.