By Marisa DiPaolo
There’s so much talk of the Instagram algorithm and its impact on users and the content they share, but how exactly does it work?
The truth is, there are actually multiple algorithms working across the platform. The Instagram Feed algorithm works differently from the Explore Page algorithm, which works differently from the Reels algorithm, and so on.
When it comes to each algorithm, Instagram analyzes several factors to determine the order in which every post appears for each individual user, including:
Information about each post
Information about those posting
Your interaction history with each poster
The types of posts you typically engage with
While the Instagram algorithms are certainly complicated, there are actually a few ways to work the system to increase your rankings and reach new audiences.
Try working the following Instagram algorithm hacks into your content strategy:
Want to get on Instagram’s good side? Embrace all of the various features the platform offers as soon as they roll out. Instagram always gives its newest features a boost to encourage creators to start using them, so take advantage by being one of the first to try them out.
Reels are the newest addition to Instagram’s posting features, and they are still being heavily pushed by Instagram’s algorithm. If you haven’t started creating and posting Reels, now’s the time!
Instagram’s algorithms use engagement to determine the ranking of Feed posts, Stories, Reels, and more. This includes likes, comments, shares, saves, video views, time spent interacting, and profile taps.
To encourage as much engagement on every post as possible, always include a call to action in your captions. This can be a relevant question, a request to tag a friend, a shout out to comment with a specific emoji, or something similar. And if you want to take things one step further, ask an additional question in the comments to spark deeper conversation with your followers.
Similarly, you can encourage conversation and engagement with your Stories by incorporating stickers provided by Instagram. Poll, emoji slider, quiz, and question stickers are all quick and fun ways to solicit responses from your followers and hack the Story algorithm.
Not only do the Instagram algorithms impact the success of your posts, but they also determine the ranking of your profile in the “Search” tab. By optimizing your bio, you can push your profile to the front of search results for potential new followers.
To do so, change your name on Instagram to describe who you are and what you do (for example: “Fitness Coach,” “Workout Instructor,” etc.) and add similar keywords to your description. If you have a business account, you should also add your location to help local users discover your account.
Whether or not you love using hashtags, there’s no denying their value when it comes to growth. With the right hashtag strategy, you’ll reach new audiences that are relevant to you and who will likely engage with your content.
Instagram allows you to include up to 30 hashtags in each Feed post caption, and you should take advantage of all of them. Try to use relevant, niche hashtags that have already been used on 10,000 to 250,000 other posts. To find out how many posts already exist under a certain hashtag on Instagram, just search for that hashtag in the app. You will see the total number of posts at the top of the results page.
If you’re at a loss for how to find the best hashtags for your brand, try drawing inspiration from other creators in the same niche.
You may be surprised to learn that direct messages are an indicator of engagement in the same way that comments, likes, saves, and shares are. When you regularly DM with another account, its content is pushed to the front of your Stories and Feed, thanks to both algorithms.
That being said, a great way to boost your own content is to regularly invite your audience to direct message you and to stay on top of responding.
There are multiple channels for sharing content within Instagram — Feed, Stories, IGTV, Guides, and Reels — and each has its own algorithm.
A great way to maximize the success of your content is to promote it across multiple channels within your account. For example, share a preview of your new Feed post to your Story with a “new post” GIF, or compile a series of related Reels into one single Guide.
One of the best Instagram hacks is provided by the platform itself. Analytics are free for all business and creator accounts, and they provide essential information about your follower activity and the performance of your posts. By tracking what content does best, when, and why, you’ll discover how best to improve your algorithmic ranking.
Try out the above Instagram algorithm hacks and watch your engagement soar!