Seven steps to understand Instagram’s algorithm and optimise your strategy


Instagram has more than one billion monthly active users. No surprise that most of the brands, big and small, local and international, are using it to communicate with their clients. Instagram is an essential social media outlet when it comes to marketing photography work. It is built for visual content and no doubt is widely used amongst photographers, producers, art buyers, art directors and other professionals in the visual media industry.

Have you ever posted a picture or video and wondered why you aren’t getting enough likes or views? Don´t worry… we’ve all been there. It’s quite simple once you crack the code! This may be due to the lack of understanding of how Instagram’s algorithm works –  how Instagram decides which posts get more visibility.

So why don’t you get enough interactions? No1: It’s not all always about posting bad content. Think of it this way: Instagram is like flirting with your audience. When you’re scrolling through your feed and you see a picture you like… what do you do? You like it. It’s the first move you make, the first eye-wink. Then you watch more content scroll through the profile, watch their stories and suddenly you’re in second base. Then when you eventually click that follow button, you’ve hit the home run.

Now, how to get there? Read this quick and easy guide about Instagram’s algorithm and become an Instagram’s star!

What is Instagram’s algorithm?
Instagram’s algorithm commands the order of the posts that users see when they’re scrolling within their feed.

What are the main ranking factors in Instagram’s algorithm for the Instagram feed and how to adjust your strategy

1. Previous engagement and interest in your content. Users who have engaged with a considerable amount of your content in the past will be able to see your future content more likely than the users who never or rarely react to your posts.
Therefore, it is essential to build and maintain a loyal audience. This means you should post regularly – longer breaks might make you lose those precious actively engaged followers. Also, you should keep the consistency of the content you post, so the followers who liked a certain type of publications would not be disappointed seeing something completely different and perhaps irrelevant to them.

2. User’s interests. Users who like posts similar to your content and follow accounts similar to yours are more likely to see your posts. It’s worthwhile looking up the accounts that have a lot of followers that are your target audience and see how they communicate, what type of content they post. You don’t have to be a copy-cat but some ideas might be helpful.

3. Post timing. The Instagram feed is no longer strictly chronological, but the most recent posts would still have priority to the older ones. Know when your followers are likely to connect and schedule your most import post at the prime time. It could depend on the time zone and type of users you reach. Think, would they check the Instagram feed on the way to work and back? Would they do it at lunch break? Use special apps to help you determine the prime time more precisely.

Apart from the main factors influencing your posts’ visibility, there are a few more things to consider.

4. Specific and relevant hashtags. Instagram’s algorithm has always favored the use of specific and relevant hashtags, and now, with the possibility to follow hashtags, this may be more important than ever. Be careful and use only relevant hashtags, as now there’s an option to mark specific posts as not relevant for the selected hashtag. If you get a lot of posts flagged for use of irrelevant hashtags, you will have a negative impact on the visibility of your posts.

5. Time users spend looking at your posts. The Instagram algorithm calculates how long the specific user spends looking at your posts. The users that scrawled without stopping are less likely to see your future posts than the ones that stopped to look at the image and read the post, so it’s important to post engaging content that doesn’t go unnoticed.

6. Interacting with your followers. Your posts will be prioritised if you interact with your followers, especially at the time you share new posts. Don’t forget to reply to the comments on your own posts, even if they don’t require a response.

7. The pace at which your posts get interactions. It’s not only important how much your followers love and comment on your content, but how fast they do it. Accounts that get a lot of engagement on their posts immediately will have their future posts prioritised, so it’s important to post relevant content at the time when your audience is most active.

Well… there you have it! A quick guide to the main features of Instagram’s feed. We hope this guide helps you optimise your time and profile even further. Keep in mind, that Instagram Stories and Explore features have its own algorithms, though some of the same principals may apply.

Need some help boosting your Instagram’s presence as a professional photographer? We can help you reach the right audience, find the optimum voice and tone for your posts, and more. Get in touch!


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