How to Make the Instagram Algorithm Work for Your Business

Instagram logo on a mobile phone screenLet’s delve into the mysterious subject that is algorithms. The term “algorithms” is often mentioned when discussing social media platforms. But you might be a little hazy on the facts around what an algorithm is or how they work, let alone how they can even benefit your business or brand.

What Exactly is an Algorithm?

Firstly let’s discuss what an algorithm is. In short, an algorithm is a coded process (a set of instructions) which sorts data to solve a problem. Instagram’s algorithm is a process which ranks user-generated content by how popular it is. It then shows that popular content more often in timelines or ‘feeds’. Instagram also shows users recommended content that they may enjoy based on existing content they’ve interacted with or liked which is a way of targeting users through personalised content.

So Why Does Instagram Need an Algorithm?

As a business, Instagram largely relies on user-generated content for generating revenue. The algorithm sorts content by popularity (that is the most interacted or viewed content) and shows you this content, in addition to recommending content you might like, to keep you using the app for longer. The longer you’re using the platform the more likely you are to click on an advert or make a purchase. This, in turn, makes the platform more desirable for businesses to advertise on and therefore creates more revenue for Instagram who earns money from advertisers who promote the products and services on the site. This algorithm business is, well, seriously big business.

Why Should You be Using Instagram?

So you may now be asking yourself, if Instagram is out to make money for itself, what are the benefits in using the platform to market your own business? But using algorithms to define content and audiences is pretty standard across most marketing channels and not seen as underhanded but instead, more as a savvy marketing method. The algorithm itself can be beneficial as it enables you to find your competitors more easily, as well as your intended audience. Here the use of hashtags also comes into play. You can use #hashtags for search on the platform but also for growing and taking part in, an online community associated with both your values and brand.

Instagram itself has grown enormously during 2019 with the social platform now boasting over 1 billion users. Additionally, Instagram is popular as it allows for creative freedom and is often referenced in popular culture. With such a high amount of users and popularity, there’s a great opportunity for your business. Keep in mind that the algorithm interprets, tracks and optimises all content. So the more your business account helps Instagram achieve their aims (getting people to stay on their site for as long as possible), the higher your post will appear in user’s feeds. This is a huge benefit as the more people you reach, the more your audience (and therefore your consumer base) grows.

How to Make the Instagram Algorithm Work for Your Business

You can make the most of the Instagram algorithm by curating content that works in line with its guidelines. This includes:

  • Setting up a business account so you can use insights to track trends and optimise your content strategy.
  • Creating quality content that’s of value to your customers to maximise engagement and develop a user relationship.
  • Posting regularly and consistently, at least once a day, for optimum impact. (If you post less often your posts are shown for less time to your followers, so the algorithm encourages you to post more often).
  • Testing your post frequency and what types of content have the highest levels of engagement and creating more of this.
  • Although Instagram Stories are excluded from the algorithm, using Stories to develop a relationship with your followers will help with overall engagement.

Hopefully this has given you a detailed insight into the Instagram algorithm and given you the tools to create an Instagram content strategy to boost your business. It’s important to understand how the Instagram algorithm works and to utilise that knowledge to your advantage. Once you’ve grasped the basics it should be easy to add some of the above user tips into your existing social media plan. Let us know below which tips have worked for you.

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