There’re only a few definite ways to increase your organic reach on Instagram. And, the one I’m going to tell you about today is how to actually use the Instagram Algorithm to your advantage.
Take a guess how many people have an Instagram account in the world…
Got a number?
Well, let me tell you – you’re not even close. As of September 2017, Instagram has 800 million users and 500 million of these use Instagram every day.
That’s a crazy lot, right?!
And I bet you’re thinking, “If Instagram has that many users, why do I only have 600… or 1000?! Why can’t these people find me and follow me?”
Yup, we have all been there. And it all comes down to the Instagram Algorithm.
The Instagram Algorithm was introduced so users see the posts they most likely want to see. And that same Instagram Algorithm has 7 elements to it – together they should be putting your favourite posts or accounts in front of you… most… of the time.
Seriously, try it… Go on your home feed on Instagram after you’ve finished reading this post and I bet that the first few posts are your friends or accounts whose posts you’ve liked.
So the Instagram Algorithm is a pretty awesome way of keeping on top of your favourite posts, but…
What If You’re Trying To Grow Your Instagram?
This is where the algorithm can be a bit of a pain. And that’s because the audience you want is being shown posts they already like. So Instagram isn’t likely to put new posts in front of them which are different to posts they usually like and engage with.
But don’t worry… I got you. I’m gonna tell you 14 easy ways to stay on top of your Instagram game, get the Instagram Algorithm on side and boost your organic reach.
Let’s start with:
The 7 elements of the Instagram Algorithm:
1. Engagement – This is how popular the post is based on engagement.
2. Profile searches – How often you search for certain profiles
3. Relationships – The accounts do you normally engage with
4. Time – The length of time you spend viewing a post or a profile
5. Timeliness – How recent the post is
6. Relevancy – Whether the post relates to similar posts you engage with already
7. Direct shares – how many times the post gets shared.
So Instagram tries to build a picture of the posts and accounts you like to see based on your behaviour and then show you those posts or similar ones. But if the post you want to see isn’t similar to the posts you already engage with or you’re posting a style of post which is different to your others and you want others to see this, it’s not as likely.
So here are 14 ways to increase your organic reach on Instagram and become friends with the Instagram Algorithm.
Instagram loves engagement. And so should you.
Engage with as many relevant accounts as possible, whether that is liking their posts, leaving a comment on them or following them. Engaging shows you are a valued Instagram user, and better than this, the person whose post you liked and commented “cool photo” on, will probably follow you and return the favour on one of yours.
So all you need to do is comment on a million posts so on so a million people will follow you back and like all of your stuff…
Ha, just kidding. I can keep dreaming.
2. Use Videos
A simple way to vary your feed and posting pattern is by using videos. Now I’m not talking Hollywood block buster type movies, I’m talking short clips which show your audience what they want to see.
Here’s a few video ideas:
• Behind the scenes
• Product Demo
Any of these will give you some brownie points with Instagram and brownie points mean more exposure!
3. Create content just for Instagram
When it comes to posting on Instagram, don’t just scroll through your camera roll looking for a picture that you can post.
If you’re serious about the Instagram Algorithm working for you, you need to post quality content and content which you know your audience will like too.
The better quality the image is, the more engagement it will receive and the more likely that Instagram will notice you.
4. Post at the right time
I know you’ve heard this thousands of times and I know you’ve googled ‘when is the best time to post on Instagram’. (Yes, I’ve done that too…)
Well the answer is…
It’s different for everyone.
An easy way to find out when the majority of your followers are online is by turning your account into a business account.
When your account is a business account, there’s a little icon in the top right hand corner of the screen (It looks like a bar graph).
Clicking on this icon (Insights), Instagram gives you a breakdown of your account stats including the time when most of your followers are online, to the location and gender of your followers.
So plan when you’re going to post based on this information – but keep in mind that this information will change on a daily basis – your followers might be online at 5pm on a Monday but on a Thursday they’re online at 7pm.
If you don’t wanna turn your account into a business account, then the best way to find out what time is best to post is trial and error. Keep a record of the times you’re posting and the engagement it’s getting and start to post at the times when your engagement is highest.
5. Know your hashtags
You know the score with hashtags – use them and make sure they’re relevant. The Instagram Algorithm loves hashtags.
The trick is not to use the hashtags that have been used hundreds of thousands or millions of times. And always mix them up. Using the same hashtags over and over raises a red flag to Instagram as spam.
But finding a set of hashtags which work for you takes time and research. If you want to be successful you need to put the work in… But… I have a shortcut for you.
Ok, so I have a sneaky little eBook which contains 12,000 hashtags for over 200 niches. That’s 60 hashtags per niche… So if you want to save time and have an abundance of hashtags, check it out here.
If not, look at other accounts in your niche and see what hashtags they are using on a daily basis. If they’re working for them, those hashtags could also work for you!
So, you get the idea, right? Hashtags are uber-important!
Curation accounts are those which are a collection of other people’s posts.
But even if you don’t have a curation account, collecting and reposting other people’s content can super charge your engagement.
Because if you repost someone else’s picture, you’ll tag them in it, right? So that means…
a) They will get a notification that you’ve tagged them in a post
b) Anyone searching for posts of that person might stumble across your picture
So using other people’s content basically opens up a door to a brand new pool of followers.
And it’s easy peasy!
But don’t forget to tag the owner of the post.
7) Post consistently
Your posting schedule has an impact on your exposure and engagement so make sure you stay on top of your posts. And your posting schedule isn’t just when you post on Instagram and what you’re going to post, it’s also how often you post.
Instagram favours those who post regularly and provide quality content that people engage with.
But your fans (yes, you will have some fans no matter how big your account is…) will know when you’re going to post and be ready to like and comment.
8. Post less
Wait… what? You just told me I have to post regularly but now you’re saying post less?
Yup. Because when I say regularly, I don’t mean 3 times a day. Once a day is enough for Instagram. Two posts max. Any more than this just becomes annoying.
And if people are constantly seeing your posts every time they come on Instagram there will come a point when they just start scrolling past them because they’ve already seen so many of your posts in the past few days.
You’ve heard the phrase ‘Quality over Quantity’, right? Well keep this in mind when planning your posts. One awesome post is wayyy better than 5 average ones.
9. Use Stories
Instagram stories is one if Instagram’s newest features but in June of this year it hit 250million users.
How crazy is that?! It sounds like it’s taking over another one of our favourite social media apps beginning with S and rhyming with Map-cat… but I’ll save that for another day.
Stories are perfect for posting pictures/videos that don’t fit in with your Instagram feed. It gives you the chance to show your followers more about you. You can use stories to tag brands, businesses and other Instagram users.
And if you tag a location on your story, you could appear on the location’s story so your post could be seen by anyone who views that story… and that could be thousands if it’s somewhere popular!
10. Go live
Live video is the best way to engage with your followers on a personal level. Going live lets your followers or fans tune in and talk to you using comments.
So what does that mean? Well, let’s see… I’d say it makes it pretty damn perfect for announcing a new product or sharing events with your followers.
But live video isn’t just there for your followers to view… if your account isn’t private, anyone who comes across your profile can see your video which means your live video is potentially an open door to any new followers… Awesome.
11. Set goals
Goals are not just a great way to motivate yourself but also to build a following. Set a goal on your Instagram, whether it’s launching a product on a certain date or reaching a certain number of followers.
So let’s say you’re launching a new product…
Taking the time to actually involve your audience will engage them and keep them coming back, so when you’re finally ready to launch, guess what?
Yep. You have a nice bunch of customers ready and waiting.
12. Be the teacher’s pet
Yes, I know most people hated the teacher’s pet in school, but now its your turn to be it and it’ll be one of the best things you do for your Instagram.
You see, you need to be on Instagram’s side. The Instagram Algorithm promotes positive behaviours, so the more good stuff you do, the more exposure you get.
By good stuff I mean…
• Respond to comments
• Engage with other people’s posts
• Post awesome content (make sure it’s relevant and engaging)
• Make the most of all of Instagram’s features including live video, stories, multiple photo upload and location tagging.
So basically, make the most of Instagram and you’ll get the exposure you want.
13. Instagram Ads
Boosting your post to the appropriate audience is an easy way to boost organic growth because you’re guaranteeing that the right people are seeing your post.
Yes, it does cost. But the results are worth it… I mean, do you really wanna keep posting stuff and just hoping that the right people see it? Or would you rather spend a little money and put your post in front of those people?
Gotta spend money to make money….
The choice is yours… but I’d give it a try.
14. Contests & CTAs
Who doesn’t love a good contest?
The idea of winning something or getting something for free will bring the followers to you. So if all the audience has to do is repost your post, it’s easy peasy for them. And you’ll probably even get people who aren’t that bothered about the prize entering because the thought of winning something is too good to miss (Yep, I’ve done that… I’m pretty sure I once reposted something to win some superglue… Why?! I have no idea. But it was free… P.S. I didn’t win.).
Anyway, by doing that, they’re sharing your post with another bunch of people who might be interested. Winning!
Try getting people’s attention with CTA’s (Calls to Action). This could be ‘Comment your favourite…’ or ‘Tag a friend’ or something similar. But by telling someone to do something, your creating additional engagement on your post. And the more engagement you have, the more exposure Instagram gives your post.
So, there you have 14 top tips to boost your organic reach on Instagram. Try them out and let me know your results!