Beating the Instagram Algorithm

I recently spoke at the Gather & Soar Summit (previously the Bambini Soiree Summit) on “Beating the Instagram Algorithm” and realized just how “hot” this topic is for many business owners.

Being on this platform daily, for a variety of wedding & event industry clients, I’m constantly noticing changes from one day to the next.

There is so much talk about how confusing the algorithm is and how it’s impacting the engagement rates. At the end of the day, the first thing that you have to keep in mind is that this is nothing more than a computer generated program that is constantly tweaking how it processes data. Just as you would work through your systems and process to maximize your results, Instagram is doing the same thing. You don’t have to love it and you don’t always have to understand it. What you do have to do is commit to being open to trying new things consistently.

There are few instances in our world where nothing changes and yet, it still delivers the same result, day after day and year after year.

I wish I could tell you there is a magical formula that is guaranteed to work. But that simply isn’t true. Some business categories will always seem to “beat” you hand over fist. They’ll grow by thousands per day, their engagement rate will seem to be exponentially better than yours and their feed will feel like a trip to paradise.

But they aren’t you. Their customers aren’t the same, their niche is different, their bottom line could be zilch. It’s hard to look past the vanity metrics. However, when you keep focused on your WHY (yep, why the heck are you using Instagram in the first place and what do you want people to feel, know, see etc about you when they take a good look at your profile), you’re going to feel much better about that nasty ole algorithm.

One of the first things I do with my clients is ask them to define what they’re trying to achieve with Instagram. It’s a helpful exercise that will allow you to clarify what content to share consistent with these objectives. I ask them to pick two to three from the list below:

  • Showcase your products or services

  • Build your community

  • Increase awareness of your brand

  • Showcase your company culture and values

  • Advertise to potential customers

  • Increase brand loyalty

  • Share company news and updates

  • Inspire your followers with ideas

  • Educate your followers about your products, services, and processes

  • Other

Notice that not one of these explicitly states “grow my follower count and get more likes?” This metric alone doesn’t serve a purpose (okay, aside than that awesome swipe up feature that you get a 10K). By having a clear understanding of WHY you use Instagram, it’s also much easier to analyze your success, regardless of follower count or engagement rates.

After choosing your top two to three goals, you can begin to craft a content story. Always keep in mind that if you’re not telling your story (according to your goals) with your content, then you shouldn’t be posting the content! It really helps you make snap decisions, instead of struggling to determine what you want to post. It’s a quick and simple- does this serve my purpose, yes or no? If it’s a yes, then you can post it and not worry if you’re getting likes or followers, because you’re not concerned about growth, but instead connection.

Your results (and ultimately money) should be measured in the connections you create.

if you’re ready to free up some brain space by offloading your Instagram to someone else, I’m here to help! Contact me via email to learn more about our Instagram implementation service (yep, that’s everything from the image curation to the captions & hashtag research). We also offer social media strategy sessions! Learn more about that here!