Instagram. The app you used to love but now your not sure how to get people to see you? There have been so many algorithm changes lately with Instagram and Facebook it can feel like a never ending battle to understand them and what the changes mean for your business. Today I thought I’d share my thoughts, a few tips Instagram engagement tips to ensure you are being seen by your target audience and also a few amazing Instagram resources from other biz babes.
What are the new Instagram Algorithm Changes (supposedly)?
I’ve read a lot of articles & posts about the supposed changes. Here is a run down of what seems to have changed…
- Posts are only exposed to a small amount of your following initially. Depending on how well that post does in the first hour or so will determine whether it gets ‘pushed’ to the rest of your audience
- Comments with 4 or less words are more likely to be seen as spam
- Using the same hashtags over and over again could cause shadow-banning
- Using ‘pod’ groups to help boost engagement could also cause shadow-banning
- Editing your post within the first 24 hours could lower engagement
So what can you do to boost engagement and ‘get around’ the algorithm?
To answer this question I thought I’d give you a quick run down of my own Instagram accounts. I have three – one for my handmade biz @littlemisslorraine (now closed), one for my sewing blog / vlog @jessicalorraine01 (now closed) and one for my current business @lorrainevirtual.
Lets break it down (Stats as of Feb 2018)
@littlemisslorraine – 2271 followers
This was the account I’d had for the longest but it was also the account that had the least amount of engagement. Whilst we had a lot of genuine followers, we did a few loop giveaways back when they were a thing and so it means it wasn’t organic growth. I cannot express how important organic growth is for your Instagram (you’ll see why in a moment) Before the algorithm changes we averaged about 60 – 70 likes per post, after the changes, we averaged 35 – 40 and our average post reach is around 370.
@lorrainevirtual – 250 followers
My current account. I average about 35 – 40 likes per post with around 2 – 3 genuine (not spam) comments. Post reach on these is around 150. So really for the amount of followers I have this is pretty good. You can see how it compares to my @littlemisslorraine account which although we have 9 x the amount of followers gets the same amount of likes per post. Food for thought.
@jessicalorraine01 – 3965 followers
My best performing account. This was the account where I got the most engagement and I believe this is because my following was truly organic (hence why I was stressing how important organic growth is above) I averaged between 200 – 400 likes per post with anywhere up to 30 – 40 comments, 10+ saves and an average post reach of 2500. I didn’t notice any big changes with the engagement on this account after the algorithm changes either.
Okay so what does this all mean? Here are my tips for boosting engagement & ‘getting around’ the algorithm.
- Don’t worry to much about your follower count. Obviously you do need followers, but start by focusing on the ones you do have and how you can get them engaging with your content. Have you seen the big accounts that have 10K + followers but are only getting 200 or so likes on their photos and no comments? Just because you have a big following doesn’t mean you have an engaged following. Go for quality not quantity
- Be consistent. You don’t have to post 3 – 4 times a day or even everyday, but start to be consistent with your posting schedule. I notice when I post consistently on all my accounts I see better engagement results.
- Engage. The big one and one I cannot stress enough. The Digital Picnic summed this up perfectly in a recent Instagram post when they said the reason people are seeing drops in their engagement is because they are not engaging back with their followers / other Instagram accounts. It is after all a ‘social’ platform. If people comment on your photos make sure you reply (the quicker the better) Spend some time each day commenting on other posts (Like I said above the short ‘wow!’ comments won’t cut it unless you want to be seen as spam. Try and aim for a sentence at least) E N G A G E!
Utilise Instagram Stories
Are you using Instagram Stories? If you are not I highly suggest you start using them. They have been tipped to become the next biggest thing in 2018 and are a fantastic way to boost engagement. I’ve got a great podcast listed in the resource section below from Mums with Hustle you need to check out.
A lot of business have started the ‘have you seen my post’ Instagram stories. I get why they do this – to increase engagement as usually their stories are being seen by a larger number of followers than their actual Instagram post. However try and keep this to a minimum and only use it for posts you really want people to see (new products launch, new blog post etc.) I don’t know about you but it annoys me when businesses do this for every post and I certainly don’t click through.
Mums with Hustle – Instagram Stories what you should and should not be sharing
Tracy Harris shares some amazing tips for what you should and should not be sharing on Instagram Stories. She also includes a free checklist download for you to refer back to
Sarah Tasker of ‘Me and Orla’ has some amazing episodes full of Instagram tips on her podcast ‘Hashtag Authentic’