The Truth Behind Beating the Instagram Algorithm
Today I read a story that’s headline promised a set number of “hacks” to beat the instagram algorithm. Knowing this would probably turn out to be clickbait, but never turning down an opportunity to be proven wrong (and learn something for DCM and my clients in the process), I clicked.
Guess what I found out?
Yep, clickbait! The truth is this: There is NO way to “beat” the algorithm. Sure, the article delivered on its promised number of tips, but those tips are not hacks around the system and the misnomer that you can somehow “beat”, “cheat” or “hack” an algorithm is annoying AF.
There is only (1) understanding the algorithm and (2) doing what it takes to show up.
Understanding the Algorithm
First, let’s understand it. Here’s how it works:
Instagram’s goal is to show content to the users most likely to engage with it, thereby keeping those people on the app longer. This leads to better promises (and delivery) on the platforms ability to put businesses and creators in front of those users faster via boosted posts & advertising.
Simple as that. So as a content creator, you need to show content that YOUR audience would be interested in engaging with.
Now let’s talk about what it takes to show up in the algorithm.
What You Need to Do To Show Up
If you spend time and money to create something new for your clients/audience, you want to see some return on your investment right? Well, Instagram feels the same way. If they are going to spend time and money on developing a new feature, testing it out and then promoting it, they want to see some ROI as well (i.e. people using said feature.)
To get that ROI they are willing to prioritize the accounts that use their newest features. This means if they create & introduce Reels into the app and you use Reels, you’ll get more reach. If you don’t use Reels, you may be missing out on some extra boosts.
(It’s totally ok to skip it, just be aware of the impact it could be having on your Instagram marketing goals.)
Also, the app wants people to stick around on it longer right? So you as the creator regularly showing up hits that mark (✔️) as does your followers having content to consume (✔️). Double win for Instagram!
So to recap, the algorithm is based on:
- Showing content to those who are most likely to engage with it.
- Getting ROI for Instagram’s investment in the development of new features by prioritizing accounts that use them.
Therefore, the truth behind how you “beat” the Instagram algorithm is really the same principle as parenting a child: half the battle is simply showing up.