How to Make the Instagram Algorithm Your Friend
Raise your hand if you are exhausted from having to show up on Instagram every single day in order to make money. What about burnt out? I feel ya. Having to constantly create content for Instagram and show your face on there day in and day out is so hard. (Not to mention having to keep up with all the constant updates and algorithms.) If you feel at all this way, this post is for you. Here’s how to make the Instagram algorithm your friend.
Have you noticed all the changes happening on Instagram lately? They have been releasing updates almost every week for the last couple of months and it’s been a little bit jarring. And there has even been a little bit of an outcry because of it. For example, the Kardashians came out with a campaign and got millions of followers behind it. And it was basically to fight to keep Instagram, Instagram.
They started this campaign because Instagram was testing out the feature where the videos take up your entire screen and you just scroll up to see the next one. Does this sound familiar? That’s exactly what TikTok does. So, the Kardashians saw this and said we like the way Instagram is, don’t try to change it to be like TikTok.
Adam Mosseri saw the negative reaction Instagram was getting because of this new feature, so he recalled the full-screen mode. But something he also said in this same announcement was that video is here to stay. And it’s not because Instagram is pushing video, but it’s because users are showing that’s what they want most.
Is Instagram Dying?
I’ve seen some influencers and creatives start to panic because of all these changes being made and a little bit of the uprise Instagram faced. They’re wondering, is Instagram dying?? But no, I can assure you that Instagram is here to stay.
But we can count on Instagram to keep evolving according to what is trending among its users. This does not mean you should get off Instagram. It means you need to adapt to using Instagram in the way it is being used right now.
So, we are going to stop complaining about Instagram. Iit’s making changes so that it can remain a profitable business, which allows us to remain a profitable business by reaching our audience for free! Instagram is a pretty amazing thing. Yes, it can be annoying, and sometimes even scary, to deal with the constant updates, but we can do this. We are all in with our business and this is just part of the ticket. And there’s really so much more good than bad, so we have that to be grateful for!
How to Make the Instagram Algorithm Your Friend
Instagram & Business Tip #1: Go in with a positive mindset.
Instagram is a gift. It’s a place where we can promote our business where we know our audience is and will be there probably at least once a day. We’ve never had a place like this where people are checking in on us and our business and getting an inside look at our lives and business. It’s really so amazing, right?
So, Instagram can do great things for your business. Just make sure to be intentional about it. I don’t want you to scroll through Instagram to find reels that you could recreate and then never create them. That’s not spending time on Instagram to grow your business, that’s just wasting your time. And your time is more precious than that, so let’s be smart about this. This brings us to tip #2 which really digs deep on how to make the Instagram algorithm your friend.
Instagram & Business Tip #2: Create content for a very specific audience.
When creating content for Instagram it’s best to really niche down on what you’re posting. The more specific you are about who you serve and the one problem you are trying to solve, the better. Niches have been the name of the game for a long time because there are riches in the niches.
If you’re wishing you felt more confident about your niche, click HERE for my advice on how to get there. But promise me you will not spend any more than 30 minutes choosing one. It’s OK if you don’t know everything before you choose one. Just choose it and move forward. This is the best thing you can do for yourself and your business.
Choosing a niche is a really powerful tool for your business. Knowing your audience and exactly what they want will always trump almost everything. If you can show up for them in a very specific way and solve their very specific problem, then your audience is going to show up for you.
Instagram & Business Tip #3: Be consistent.
Being consistent looks different for everyone. Figure out what your consistency looks like and then show up that way for your audience. The biggest thing I see influencers doing that causes them to not get the followers they want is that they haven’t decided they can do this Instagram/growing a business thing. Is this you? Have you decided that you can really do this? (I know you can!)
If you’ve yet to make this decision then you’re probably showing up whenever you think of something to post. Remember, this is how to make the Instagram algorithm your friend. So, instead, you need to go in with the mindset that Instagram is a part of your business and you are going to show up seriously and consistently for it.
Showing up consistently will help you better understand your audience and see in real-time what is resonating with them. Then you’ll be able to create more content based on what they are interested in. This will help you get more data about what is and isn’t working in your content strategy. It’s a win-win all around. So make sure you’re creating so you can get that data and connection with your audience.
Instagram & Business Tip #4: Build your content strategy and schedule.
What does a content strategy look like? It does NOT look like you coming up with a list of ideas to post and then checking them off as you post them. It looks like you doing the research to find out what your audience is interested in, what type of content is trending, etc., and then use that to plan out your strategy.
How to Plan Your Content Strategy
Step #1: Find the top 5-10 accounts in your industry and analyze their content. You want to find which posts are getting the most interaction from their followers.
Step #2: Figure out how to translate that type of content into your own brand and business. You don’t want to copy the content your competitors have done, however. So think about how to filter the information in a way that will stay true to your brand and really serve your ideal audience.
Step #3: Consistently create content in that niche for 3-4 weeks. I underlined “consistently” because you must post regularly in order to accurately measure the data at the end of the 4 weeks.
Step 4: Look at your analytics and see what you’ve learned. This is a super crucial step because you can make great decisions about your business when you actually have the numbers in front of you and can analyze how well everything is doing. If not then you’re kind of flying blind and wondering why you’re not growing.
Biz Pro Tip: I use Metrical which is a tool to measure the data by my competitors. I can see what type of content is going really well for them and for myself, so I can use this tool to help gauge what type of content my people are interested in right now. It does cost money, but it’s cheaper than other similar tools out there! And it’s a total game-changer for your content strategy and business growth.
Instagram & Business Tip #5: Get people on your email list.
Listen, you do not own Instagram. You do not own your followers. They could disappear. I don’t think they will, but it’s possible. And it is getting harder and harder to reach your followers organically with your posts. A higher percentage of your audience saw your content 3 years ago, and the percentage is only going to get smaller.
So, make sure you have your audience’s contact information in a place that you own. I recommend an email list or text list. But getting people there is huge. So, how do you actually get people to join your email list?
How to Get People to Join Your Email List
- Have a link to it in your bio
- Talk about your email list throughout the week in your stories
- Have a freebie that people can get by signing up for your email list
- Have a call to action in your posts that sends people to your email list
And then once you have your audience there, you need to make sure you are communicating regularly with them. Make them feel special and like they are really a part of your community–because they are. Check out my post HERE for more tips on email marketing.
The Best Type of Content to Post on Instagram
Want to know one of the best ways how to make the Instagram algorithm your friend? By being strategic with the type of content you post. Make sure to mix it up with how you post and not do the same thing every time. Here are the top 4 best types of content to post on Instagram.
Best Type of Instagram Content #1: Carousel Posts
- A carousel post is when you upload more than one image to one single post and you can scroll through them.
- A good carousel post should have a very clear font in bold. And the first slide should have a hook or headline that catches you in the explore feed that makes you want to click and learn more. (Take a look through your explore feed right now and see which carousel posts stick out to you and take note as to why.)
- The goal with carousel posts is to get discovered in the explore feed. Someone will click on it, like the post, and then hopefully give you a follow.
- The last slide should always end with an action e.g. joining your email list for a freebie that’s connected to what you just spoke about in your post.
Best Type of Instagram Content #2: Single Picture Posts
- You want your single picture posts to be things that people would want to share. So, this is where your quotes would go, inspiring stories, etc.
- Since these posts are only seen by the people who follow you, you want to post things that they would want to share because that means people who do not follow you are seeing your post, could click on it and start following you.
Best Type of Instagram Content #3: Reels
Listen, reels are still the way to go because they get in front of more people than any other post.
- For each reel you make, use the first few seconds for your hook, then give them a little bit of a story, then the information you promise, and then end it with a call to action. This call to action could be to comment, follow or share, or to of course get on your email list.
That is a very basic formula for creating a great reel, but the reason why it’s so basic is that it works. All of these reels out there that are random and taking forever to get to the point, make it so we have to do a better job at making a short bite-size video that people are going to want to watch. Want more help with creating reels? Check out my post HERE.
Best Type of Instagram Content #4: Stories
I believe the most powerful place on Instagram is your stories. Stories convert better than almost any other place because this is where people are choosing to watch you.
- We don’t have to worry about the algorithm or SEO in our stories as much as we do with the other posts, so this is a place where we can really show a personal side of our brand and our lives.
- Because you can be more personal, you are able to build that connection with your audience that invites them to trust you and become loyal to you and your brand.
- Really good examples who use their stories in the best way possible:
- Take a look at their stories and pay attention to how they hook you, how they get you to come back, and the things that make you want to stay.
- Show up in your stories on a consistent basis throughout the day. I usually don’t do more than 2-4 slides in a row.
- Include engagement stickers on your slides as much as possible. This really does help your audience engage more with your stories.
- Talking head videos where you’re just sitting there talking at the camera get clicked through really quickly. So, take your people on the journey with you while you’re talking to them. Treat them like they are an old friend where you’re chatting with them while you’re prepping food, doing laundry, etc.
- Try to post stories where people will want to DM you because of it. When people DM you because of your story this tells Instagram that that person liked your stories and wants to see it more often, so it’ll bump you up the beginning of their story feed.
- One thing I love about stories is how you don’t have to be super niched down. So you have more freedom to talk about things going on in your life, with your family, etc. outside of your super niched content strategy.
How to Make the Instagram Algorithm Your Friend
OK, that was a lot, I know. But I wanted to give you this free info on how to make the Instagram algorithm your friend! Just choose two or three things from this post that you will do now and then get started. You do not have to do all of this at once. And come let me know how you are feeling about things over in my DMs. You can follow me @iammichellegifford.
Have you heard of my Business Mom School yet? If you’re a mom and a business owner, this is something you don’t want to miss! I created it with you in mind. Click HERE to sign up where I will give you FREE training on how to set up and run a business, step-by-step. (I know, I can’t believe I’m giving you all my biz secrets for free either. But I am committed to you and your business success!)