What’s the best Instagram post you’ve seen today? Instagram has been around for over a decade, enticing users with stunning or intriguing images for every interest. What began with just still images has morphed into a storytelling platform combining still photos, stories, reels, and videos. With so much content to go around, it’s no longer just about the content. Like other social media apps, Instagram employs an algorithm to determine where and how posts show up in a user’s feed. 

As Gainesville’s top digital marketing agency, Frankel Media Group will help you navigate Instagram’s algorithm to make the most of this platform for your small business. Read on for details on the ever-changing Instagram algorithm and what to consider to make sure your content is being viewed by your audience. 

The Instagram Algorithm

Each day, more than 95 million pieces of content are uploaded to Instagram from more than a billion users. Content can be a single photograph, compilations of multiple photographs, stories that appear for 24 hours (and can be saved to categories on the main page for ongoing viewing), reels (videos up to 30 seconds), long-form videos (up to 10 minutes) and other video variations (carousels, live video, story videos, etc.). 

The Instagram algorithm works to make sure the most relevant content shows up for each user. To do this, it looks at user activity on the app to determine content a user enjoys, or is likely to enjoy, and serves that content organically. Instagram often changes its algorithm to keep the content fresh and work within new mediums of the app. Note that the algorithm doesn’t control paid advertisements. 

Generally speaking, the algorithm looks at a few key elements to determine the content it serves to users: 

  • Relationship – The more a user likes and follows another user’s content, the more it will show up in their feed. The same applies to direct messages and tagged content. 
  • Timing – Though you can always go back and look at every photo in a particular user’s account, Instagram now aims to curate feeds with the newest and most relevant content.
  • Frequency – If a user opens the Instagram app regularly, their feed is more likely to reflect posts as they happen in real time. If a user seldom uses the app, they will be served posts that are more relevant regardless of real time posting. 
  • Usage – Similar to frequency, usage depends on how often a user opens the app. Frequent app users will see more suggestions of similar accounts, while less frequent app users will tend to see a selection of highly liked posts. 
  • Interest – Users are more likely to be served content similar to what they continuously like and follow. 

The Newest Algorithm Changes

Though the algorithm keeps the above in mind, Instagram often changes it to keep content fresh and to make use of new mediums offered on the platform. It changes often, so at Frankel Media Group it’s our job to keep up with it so businesses can know what to consider to get their content in front of users. 

In 2021, Instagram made several changes that affect how content is delivered to users. Some changes affect the social media app as a whole, while others are random and affect only a portion of users. 

Focus on Reels

To keep things fresh, Instagram’s newest algorithm change has set a focus on reels. It prioritizes reels a user has engaged with (liked, followed, commented, etc.) or if they’ve directly connected with the reel creator. Because of this, it’s important for businesses to not only create and post content but also to monitor engagement and respond to users in a timely manner.

Instagram Stories

Stories can be viewed for 24 hours from the time of posting, and they appear at the top of a user’s feed. The new algorithm gives preference to stories from accounts that a user has a stronger relationship with. For businesses, it’s essential to encourage engagement with your stories to keep them relevant to your audience. 

Photo Like Counts

For a select number of users, Instagram has removed the like counts on photos and shows the usernames of those who have liked a post. Only users who have posted a photo can see the total like count. The goal behind this change is to reduce social pressure and reduce bullying.

Make the Most of Instagram

The following are ways you can maximize your business’s Instagram account. 

Post Relevant Content

It may seem obvious, but make sure you’re posting content that is relative to your business. It will help new users find your posts when your page is served in their ‘similar interest’ recommendations. 

Post Content Your Audience Likes

If you know what your audience likes to see, post more of that content. If you’re not sure, check your website analytics. It will help you see most visited pages, and then you can create content based around those results.

Use Relevant Hashtags

Hashtags help get your content in front of new eyes. Pro tip: tag relevant hashtags with higher numbers of followers. 

Engage With Your Audience

Since content with higher engagements tends to show up more in a user’s feed, create content that encourages audience engagement. Ask questions, create polls, and ask for likes and shares. When they engage with you, engage back in positive ways!

Agency Benefits

When it comes to Instagram and other social media apps, navigating the waters can be tough. A digital marketing agency can help you steer through the waters and develop a social marketing plan that works for your specific business to reach your specific audience. At Frankel Media Group, we work hard to support your small business through cohesive social media campaigns and many other services that help you succeed and continue to grow. Connect with us today. Let’s make big things happen.