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Digital Bulletin: Managing Instagram's Algorithm

Being aware of algorithm changes can bolster your content.

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As we all know, the Instagram algorithm has a strong impact on how your Instagram posts, reels and stories perform. Algorithms change frequently and can sometimes diminish the virality of strong-performing content. Being aware of algorithm changes can bolster your content too.

The Instagram algorithm is a set of rules that decides what content is most important, and in what order, on all Instagram users’ feeds, the Explore Page, the Reels feed, hashtag pages and more. The Instagram algorithm looks at information about content (Reels, feed posts and Stories) and information about users (interests and behavior on the platform) to serve the right content to the right people. The main purpose of the algorithm is to make each user’s experience with the platform as pleasant as possible. And while it may not always feel that way, the goal is to make Instagram valuable to every person who uses the platform, says Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri.



One thing to remember is that the Instagram algorithm changes constantly, so creators and social media managers need to be flexible and open to new updates.

  For 2023, here are some changes that have been made to the Instagram algorithm:

  • A more equal focus on photos and videos: In 2022, many Instagram creators voiced dissatisfaction that Instagram — originally created for photo sharing — seemed to favor videos far more than still images. Users felt that videos got a lot more views, likes, comments and shares than photos did, and blamed a change in the algorithm. Instagram CEO Mosseri assured creators that Instagram has been working to make the algorithm treat videos and photos more equally, and that analytics have indicated that the changes are making a difference.
  • Instagram will emphasize showing users something new: Updates to Instagram’s algorithm will prioritize showing users new content from creators they haven’t necessarily seen before. In other words, know that your content isn’t just being pushed to your followers: IG wants to show your posts to a fresh audience as well.
  • Instagram will promote content that inspires conversations: Instagram doesn’t just care about the number of views a post has. The platform (and the algorithm) will favor content that inspires conversations, so expect that comments will be very important for a post’s success in 2023.
  • Original content will rank higher than reposted or reshared content: “If you create something from scratch, you should get more credit than if you are resharing something that you found from someone else,” Mosseri says. The more creative you are, the better your post should perform.


Tips for Algorithm Optimization

1. Respect the community guidelines: On your Feed, in Reels or in Stories, Instagram’s algorithms limit the visibility of content that goes against the app’s Community Guidelines. If you’re sharing misinformation, posts that are political in nature, content that’s potentially upsetting or sensitive, or even just low-resolution media, you may find your content less widely distributed.

2. Create original content: Be as creative as possible when you’re brainstorming new posts. Try using your original audio for reels, coming up with captions that are distinct and informative, and embracing unusual ideas. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel — but maybe give the wheel a new perspective.

3. Schedule your posts at the right time: Audience interaction is an important signal across the board on Instagram, so posting your content at the right day and time is going to make a huge difference to your organic reach.

4. Encourage engagement: Engagement is one of the most important ranking factors on Instagram and all top social media platforms. Views are great, but likes, comments, shares and saves matter more. Consider encouraging your audience to engage with your content by asking questions, hosting giveaways or creating ultra-shareable posts.

5. Respond to DMs and comments: Being responsive in your comment section and your DMs builds trust with your followers, and helps remind them that there’s real people on the other side of their screens.

6. Use relevant hashtags: Hashtags help Instagram know what your post is about, and using them puts your content in front of the right audience. Plus, unlike Instagram ads (the other way to expand reach past your existing audience), hashtags are free.

7. Tag your location: Just like hashtags, location tags are a free way to give Instagram vital information about your post. The algorithm will share your content with other people in your area, assuming that the photo or video is relevant to them. Plus, users who are searching for content published in a specific area will see posts tagged with that location.

For more information on how to manage Instagram algorithms, visit blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-algorithm

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