It’s not just you. EVERYONE needs a struggs hug when it comes to the blogger’s favourite photo-sharing app at the moment.
We, as creators, have two choices. We can either turn the app into a space of negativity. By admonishing the app for only showing our content to 6% of our following. Or side-eyeing every creator that IS seeing growth and engagement in an outburst of, ‘WHY NOT MEEE’ frustration.
OR we can learn about the algorithm (from what Instagram have ACTUALLY said about it – not some rando with ‘Instagram Guru’ in their bio) and be strategic!
Now, if you’re using Instagram to post your sweaty Sunday BBQ selfies and chatting to your mates about that recipe you knocked up featuring Supernoodles and ketchup – this post ISN’T going to be for you. I’m guessing you couldn’t give two shits about the algorithm.
BUT if you use Instagram for business or as an influencer, here are the 4 features I use that gives my content that lil extra boost.
As frequent engagement and activity is encouraged by the algorithm, it makes sense that you would be rewarded for using all of the platform’s features!
It’s like that friend that you drift apart from because she once said something a bit diggy about your new coat – the longer you go without communicating, the less you will communicate. If ya get me.
Whereas – a bit like Netflix – if you’re regularly engaging with something (*cough* Jane the Virgin), the more you’ll be reminded to engage with it again.
‘Keep Watching for Vix’
One of those features that I’ve been using strategically is the polls sticker.
If someone votes on your poll, they have shown the algorithm they are interested in your content because they have engaged with it.
Somewhere in Instagram HQ’s super computer (which I liken to VIKI from I, Robot) a signal is received that that follower has engaged with you, therefore they’re more likely to be interested in your most recent content so THEN Instagram will show them more of what you post.
Something I’ve been testing, as have other Grow & Glow members, that WORKS is this…
If I know I’m posting that evening at around 7:30pm (set your alarms plskthx, that’s when I generally tend to post) then at around 6:30pm/7pm, I’ll pop a poll up.
It might be a pre-hyping question (GG members you know what I mean) OR it might be something completely random that I know people will have fun voting on.
9 times out of 10 (not a valid or analytical figure at all) the people who have voted on my poll TEND to be the people who like/comment on that grid post, once I’ve rolled it out.
I believe (could be wrong, not a #instaguru) that they’re shown my post at the top of their feed because they engaged with my poll.
This feature works very much in the same vein as the Polls sticker and my theory is the same.
I sound like I’m going to write an academic textbook on silly Instagram features…
Meldrew, V. (2019) The Art Of The Algorithm. Schuster: London
However with the question sticker, I’ll put it up earlier in the day to give me time to interact with the people who have answered.
Often when I’ve just woken up, bumped into my washing basket on the way to the bathroom, stuck my contacts in and maybe or maybe not during my morning wee.
Perhaps I’ll share an interesting response on my Stories which will generate further DMs – more people to hopefully see my eventual content later that day.
If part of the algorithm is determined by how engaging you are then one of the best ways to conquer that is to engage with the people who engage with you.
I’ve said the word engagement so many times it feels like the night Ben popped the ring out of his bedside cabinet.
BUT THIS REALLY WORKS
I endeavour to reply to ALL of my comments…
If someone comments on your post, it’s likely they’ll be shown it again the next time.
If you NEVER reply to the people who take the time to comment on your posts, why should they bother commenting again?
And if they stop commenting, the algorithm stops thinking you’re an account worth engaging with. RIP you.
Unless you’re getting hundreds of comments per post, which can make replying an absolute NIGHTMARE, I do believe this is something you should factor in, if you can.
And tbh if you’re getting 100s of comments, you probs don’t need to be reading this post pal. Go and revel in allll your swipe ups.
Turn off all of your notifications except for comments. You don’t need to see those likes rolling in but you do need to see what comments you get so you can keep on top of them!
For at least 30 minutes after I’ve posted a photo on my grid, I will sit and immediately reply to comments. The more comments that roll in, the more reach I tend to get as the algorithm is noticing that it’s a post that’s receiving engagement and therefore my followers might be interested in it.
How to ACTUALLY get those comments is a whole other ball game… you’ll want to watch my IGTV for that.
This is a new one for me, as you’ll currently (at the time of writing) only see my face goofing around for two, 10 min vids on the Instagram algorithm, BUT analysing what happens when I’ve posted has taught me a couple of things…
As we said before, Instagram rewards you for using all of its features and what feature is it reeeeeaaaaaallly pushing in 2019?
After posting my first video, I gained 100+ new followers in a day. So I took to stories to ask where these babes had come from (and prayed to the Insta gods I hadn’t been featured in a ‘#bitcheswehate hashtag) and most of them actually replied! They weren’t bots for a change!
They told me my IGTV had appeared in their Explore pages OR that one of my followers had shared the video and it had piqued their interest.
The same happened when I posted my second IGTV. New followers. Real people. ‘Ideal audience’ worthy.
Hold your horses, no one needs you to bosh up a quick, unplanned, unintentional IGTV about your shoes in an attempt for followers…
If you want to do IGTV well, you’ll need a goal. If it’s just to gain followers – cool, good luck, I’ve got no tips for you.
But if it’s to create content, tell a story, share a message – then amazing!
First really think about the type of content your followers want to see. Can you do something different? Will it be entertaining? Valuable? Relatable? Inspiring? Informative?
Whichever avenue you decide to go with IGTV, the main thing to bear in mind is HAVE FUN. EXPERIMENT!
Please let me know if you try any of these tips! Which one will you have a go at first? And if you’re feeling generous, share this with your creator buddies too.
G&G members will soon receive a whoooole bundle on planning, executing and promoting killer IGTV content – if you’re interested in becoming a member – I’ve dropped enough bloody hints in the post so far!
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