DAY 3 LESSON: BEFRIENDING INSTAGRAM'S ALGORITHM
Before you proceed, make sure you've taken screenshots of your Instagram Profile (including the current number of followers/following and your feed). Your screenshots will show you the transformation and improvements your Instagram will undergo through out the challenge. Ready? GO.
CAN YOU RELATE?
A lot of people complain about not getting engagement on Instagram, but my question is -- do you yourself engage meaningfully on Instagram, or are you mostly a silent lurker and/or liker?
Instagram engagement refers to one’s degree of social involvement in the community as defined by at least one “Like” or “Comment” on a post.
I'm just gonna go and say this ahead of the facts and information from this lesson: You can’t expect to GET engagement, if you are not in the daily practice of GIVING engagement yourself.
So, if you noticed a significant drop in your impressions, engagement, and number of new followers. The ultimate reason is the Instagram’s 2023 Algorithm enabling only 10% of your followers to see your post.
Say, WHAAAAT?!!! Now before you go mad and delete your Instagram (No don't! Remember your goal!), let's understand the reason behind these updates and together discover what we can do to make Instagram's Algorithm favor our accounts.
INSTAGRAM IS A BUSINESS
Just like every other business, Instagram’s goal is to monetize! They obviously make money to maintain the existence of the app (through ads). Of course, they can only keep the app running by keeping users on their app as much (and as long) as possible. How do they keep their users on Instagram? They actually don’t! We do! Because of this, Instagram favors accounts who can keep their followers as active and engaged as possible! In short, Instagram wants to see if your are posting relevant and interesting content for your followers. This might probably make more sense in awhile so stick with reading more.
Below are the easiest ways to keep your audience engaged:
- Post Photos / Videos
- Post Stories (check back on Lesson 2 if you missed it!)
- Instagram Lives
- Reply to your DMs
- Reply to Comments
If you're already doing most of these, then good job! The real question is: how often are you doing these?
What you need to remember is the more time you spend on the app keeping your followers engaged, the more Instagram will favor you. I don't mean to tell you that all you need to do for a day is to be alive and active on your Instagram, no. By more time I mean, when you spend your time on Instagram make sure it's with intention, with purpose, with meaning. Let's dig in more deeper to this.
The Relevance of Engagement to Instagram Algorithm
- Imagine 2 accounts who just posted a photo on their feed - @IG_A has 100 followers, and the other one, @IG_B has 1000 followers.
- Both of them get about 12 likes and 3 comments on each post.
- Compare the ratio
- 15 to 100 = 15% engagement for @IG_A
- 15 to 1000 = 1.5% engagement for @IG_B
- Instagram’s algorithm will recognize that @IG_A is way more relevant to its audience, than IG_B who probably post less interesting content.
- Another good indicator for most algorithms is how much engagement you get around the time of posting.
So for example, you post at 9PM, and you immediately get 20 likes within the first hour, your post will rank higher and show up more on your followers’ feeds than, say, a post that only gets 5 likes within the first hour of posting. Quick Fact: This is the actual and first technical definition of the term "trending".
Some dos and don'ts to grow your Instagram under the constantly changing algorithm:1. When you post, engage with your Instagram community the first 60 minutes to help drive engagement
Not only will your followers feel the love and support, but Instagram will boost your post and show it to more of your followers! More on this on your mini-mission below!
Editing a caption or a location's tag after posting can definitely destroy a post's chances of performing well and reaching better engagement. When you post a photo on Instagram it immediately starts acquiring engagement (likes, comments, saves & shares). The Instagram algorithm uses this engagement to determine the quality of your content and ranks your post. If you get a lot of engagement (especially within the first hour), the algorithm will favor your post and promote it to more accounts.
Your post will be distributed higher up in people's feeds, show up on more users explore pages, and if you're really really having a good day, you may hit top posts for location & some/all hashtags used.
3. Do not delete something you JUST posted and repost it.
Same reason as above. Every time you edit your Instagram post (after you've posted it) or delete a content you just posted and repost it, Instagram resets your engagement ranking. You're basically telling Instagram to ignore all the likes & comments you've received so far.
As much as I want to elaborate on this, we will be talking about Hashtags for tomorrow's lesson. Stay tuned!
5. Post more to gain more followers.
If Instagram is only showing your content to 10% of your followers, then you’ll risk having lower engagement on posts you’ve worked hard on creating. When you post more, you will reach a higher percentage of people daily. For example, if you post in the morning and in the evening… whatever time works for you, but show up at the same exact time every single day. Instagram wants to know that we are reliable and we are going to put out content daily and consistently. So when we show up to work on time each day, they reward us. BUT ONLY DO THIS IF GAINING MORE FOLLOWERS IS YOUR GOAL. If not, you can continue posting daily with more interesting content.
6. Post less for better engagement.
No I'm not confusing you with No.5, From legit Instagrammer's experiences, some of them when they post less, the reach of their overall post is higher. The reason being that your post has time to circulate. Because of the algorithm, our feeds are no longer in chronological order but catered to what Instagram thinks we want to see. When people follow you, Instagram know they would like to view your content. So even if Instagram doesn’t show your posts to a majority of your followers at first, it may get picked up by the algorithm and end up on your followers’ feeds later on. So try waiting a day or two before posting again
7. Geotag popular destinations.
Sadly, Instagram will show your post to more followers if you geotag a popular destination or a location that attracts many tourists or is trending. Some Instagrammers have done this with great success. But if you're not big on travelling, you can do other tactics aside from this. But Geotagging (adding location) can definitely help a local business, or any brand that wants to attract clients/customers around their area.
Other ways you can get Instagram’s favor is to use their new feature whenever they update. Each time you use a new feature, Instagram sees your interest in the app and rewards you by showing more followers your content. So go get that Story, Highlight, IGTV set-up now. :D
Now if you're asking why you're seeing posts and ads that you don't wanna see, here's my answer. Instagram Algorithm thinks exactly the opposite. WHY? It's clearly based solely on your activities inside the app!
Factors why you see a certain post / ad on Instagram:
- Engagement: how popular it is in your community or the community of your friends
- Relevancy: The genre/category of content you have interacted with. Maybe you're weirded out by a sponsored post about a cookware that you saw today and forgot all about the post of your friend talking about a cookware that you totally double-tapped the other day.
- Relationships: The accounts you regularly interact with
- Timeliness: How recent the posts are
- Profile Searches: The account you search for/check out often
- Direct Shares: Whose posts you are sharing
- Time Spent: the amount of time you spend viewing a post
Try thinking like the Instagram Algorithm. How do you make your posts appear to your friends' feeds? Is it engaging? Relevant? Timely? Worthy of a share? Worthy of reading/spending time on?
Here's WHY the Algorithm can really be a good thing:
- Since your post will only be reaching a fraction of your followers, it’s more important than ever to give your audience a reason to follow along. If you see this as a motivation, you will only post the best content that can be useful for your audience.
- If you want to have engaged followers and grow a community, then you have to try to develop a real relationship with them. By doing so, you may learn more about them and increase overall engagement. If someone DMs you, be kind and send a genuine response.
Basically, the Instagram Algorithm encourages us users to be more authentic and personal with every use. So don’t worry so much about the numbers and start creating content that matters and try focusing on making meaningful connections!
DAY 3 MINI-MISSION: PRACTICE THE ENGAGEMENT HABIT TODAY!
The next time you post on Instagram, here's what you do:
- Go to your profile and click on the number of followers you have - this will open a list of your current followers.
- Go to the profiles of 10 of your followers, go to one of their posts, and leave a meaningful comment on it! (Hopefully with more than 4 words, and not just a bunch of emojis)
- For example, say, you go to your list of followers and see this lady (plus points if you think s/he is your ideal audience, or someone who you think would love your content/product/service) -- go to her profile, check her most recent post, read thru it, and leave a comment.
Tip: The key here is to comment on at least 10 followers' posts within the first hour of you posting your content. This is important because it increases the possibility of them engaging back with you within your first hour of posting, which is a good signal for Instagram’s algorithm.
NOTE: As an extra 'mini-mission', We start our daily-posting on Instagram today. Our posting & engagement practice window is 6-7 PM (PST) | 9-10 PM (EST).
- Access the Content Calendar Guide inside our online classroom to post based on the theme/topic of the day
- If you're in a different time zone, you can post whenever you can catch up. Just make sure you follow the hashtag #FitnessWithACause to engage with other posts under it.
- Tag @fnfattire and your team mates in your photo/video and use the hashtag #FitnessWithACause (add #FNFAmbassador if you're one!)
- Remember: Even if we have a different lesson+mini-mission tomorrow and the next days, take time to still post a content on Instagram during the posting (based on the calendar) & engagement practice window! This will help you make it a habit until we end this challenge!
Online engagement follows the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
TIP OF THE DAY: don’t neglect the native analytics provided by Instagram for Business Profiles.
Instagram Insights covers impressions, engagement, reach and top posts among other metrics. This data can be broken down from the span of a few months or even years, which is key for historical performance.
Plus, you’ll get access to audience demographics so you can find out what percentage of your followers are male/female, age groups and even where the bulk of your followers are from. You'll also get to know which posts are working and which are not.
Knowing who you’re speaking to on Instagram is undoubtedly beneficial. You might have a target audience in mind that you want to reach, but the only way to truly know who’s engaging with your posts is by looking through your Instagram analytics.
THAT'S IT FOR DAY 3!
REMEMBER: THIS IS NOT A ONE-DAY THING. Make it a habit - EVERY TIME you post, comment on 5-10 other people's posts. By giving engagement, you increase yours. #GoldenRule!
Go Back to the Facebook Group to share your insights and catch up with the community. Make sure to engage with your team mates!