A Cheat Sheet to Beat the System on Instagram

By: Hayley Jennings

May 29, 2018

For brands on Instagram, it might seem nearly impossible to compete with large corporations that can afford paid post after paid post in order to jump to the front of the line. But in reality, there are a few key ways to game the Instagram algorithm without breaking the bank.

Manu Muraro, founder of Your Social Team, an Atlanta-based agency that works with small brands on their social strategy, helps companies (even those without huge budgets) come out on top on Instagram by prioritizing great content and organic outreach.

Here are Muraro’s six solutions to being favored by Instagram’s algorithm:

1: Step Up Your Content

Followers are more likely to engage with creative, fun and interesting content, and the Instagram algorithm favors accounts with high engagement. Muraro suggests that your strategy involve identifying 12 brand topics to regularly focus on in your posts and Stories to create consistency and variety simultaneously.

2: Focus On Organic Interactions Only

The algorithm rewards authentic interactions and punishes automation—meaning likes and comments that are clearly coming from bots. So avoid automation at all costs, aside from reputable auto-publishing programs.

3: Don’t Forget About Instagram Stories

Your Stories are just as important as your posts, especially when you consider that Instagram takes Stories’ views and direct messages into account when determining your profile’s overall algorithmic ranking. Muraro also noted that audiences are spending increasingly more time on Stories, and that Highlights (Stories that are prominently featured on your profile homepage even after they’ve disappeared) should be a part of your Instagram strategy.

4: Promote Popular Posts

Though most of these steps are low-cost or free, it may be wise to invest a small amount of money toward promoting your most popular posts. Not every post should receive paid promotion, but increasing likes and comments on posts that already garnered organic engagement will help algorithmically.

5: Use Native Analytics

Instagram’s native analytics platform can help you determine what type of content your audience likes and what time the majority of your followers are active and therefore more likely to see your posts.

6: Post More Often

Take this step with a grain of salt, because upping the cadence of posts won’t help if your content isn’t improving per step #1. There’s no point posting a photo or video if it’s not of the quality that’s going to get the level of engagement you want. And over-posting can make it difficult to provide real and timely interactions with your audience, Muraro said.

Follow Hayley: @that_hayley

Follow Manu: @YourSocialTeam

At The Social Shake-Up