April 26, 2016 Social MediaHow to Beat Instagram’s New Algorithm If you’re an active Instagram user then there’s no doubt you’re aware of Instagram’s impending algorithm changes. Chances are you’re concerned about it, aren’t we all?! Change is obviously scary and especially when it’s on a platform that you’ve learned to trust and where you’ve built a following and a community. After the ‘Insta-Freakout’ about a month ago, I’ve definitely noticed some changes on Instagram, but they seem to be ever-fluctuating. Instagram did mention that they’d be testing different things over the coming months, so that makes sense, but before any concrete changes happened, they’d let everyone know. So, the question that everyone has been asking — how do I beat it? Let’s get real, there’s no way to beat an algorithm. You’d probably have to be a crazy computer hacker to do that, but what should we be doing about it in the meantime? Understanding what the changes mean for you is step one and tailoring your strategy to make the most of it, is step two. Don’t Panic First things first though. Can we all stop freaking out? The best thing you can do is to keep doing what you do best: post high-quality content in a consistent manner and engage with your readers. Also, another reason you shouldn’t overthink it: if engagement is down for you, it’s likely going down for everyone. You aren’t alone! You might remember when everyone asked their followers to turn on post notifications. If you’re still thinking of doing this, I wouldn’t. Not only are post notifications annoying and may result in readers getting fed up with you, but Instagram’s new algorithm may actually penalize you if someone who subscribed to post notifications turns them off, because turning those off would essentially tell Instagram that they didn’t want to find out about that info. Engagement will lead to organic growth It also seems that, like Facebook, having high engagement on your posts will be super beneficial when the new algorithm kicks into full swing. The higher that engagement is at first, the more likely it is to get pulled into the top of users’ feeds and the more likely it is that it will get more exposure and ultimately more engagement! When you’re thinking about tailoring your strategy, I’d put more focus on engagement over growth right now. It’s my guess that more engagement will naturally lead to more growth once the new algorithm kicks in. Plus, the more engagement (comments, especially) you receive on a given photo, the higher it’s going to rank on a popular hashtag, and the more visibility your photo will get. Make the first move One sure fire way to get your readers to engage? Ask questions and opinions of your readers! Be thoughtful in the way you write your captions and ask yourself if it would be a caption you’d respond to. Things like, “which shoes? A or B?” or “What do you think, Mexican or Chinese for dinner?” or “Do you know someone traveling to X soon? Tag them below!” Another way? Make the first move! Yes–actually engage with your followers first! Like and comment on their photos–if they have a feed you like, follow them back! It’s called a community for a reason–don’t make it one-sided, interact with one another. Engagement should be a two-way street. At the end of the day, no one is all that excited about the changes, but it’s inevitable. It’s simply the nature of a social media platform to grow, change and monetize. As users, the best thing we can do is be open to change and instead of seeing it as the death of a platform, figure out how we can best tailor our own plan accordingly to get the most out of it! Want more tips? Make sure to opt into the resource library below to download our Daily Instagram Checklist, which lists out the steps you should be doing before and after you post every photo in order to ensure the best engagement! Now tell us, have you noticed changes to Instagram lately? Have you tried anything differently that you think is working or anything that’s not working? Share below!