Navigating the Instagram Algorithm in 2018

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Love it or hate it, the Instagram algorithm is here to stay and keep businesses on their toes. While it is always changing, we know the current Instagram algorithm prioritizes time spent on posts, along with engagement and user feedback to determine what users will see in their feeds.

Luckily, there are a few relatively easy strategies to employ to ensure your business’ posts are seen and, more importantly, engaged with on Instagram.

1. Instagram Stories and video

Instagram Stories, and video in general, are a fantastic way to stay in front of your audience on Instagram. As mentioned, the new algorithm prioritizes not only engagement, but time spent on posts to determine what users want to see. Video takes longer to consume than a static photo and is often more eye-catching, both of which help keep users hooked on your post for longer.

Engagement with Instagram Stories count toward relevancy as well and are rapidly becoming more popular with users than posts on feeds alone. Make use of engagement tools to make Instagram Stories even more useful to your brand’s success, such as the poll and swipe up features, and tease new posts to drive users to your business profile.

2. Community management

It is more critical than ever to respond to Instagram comments quickly and in a branded way. The more conversation happening in the comments of a given post, the more relevant it is deemed the higher the likelihood that users will tag their friends, generating even greater reach and word-of-mouth marketing!

3. High-quality captions

On a similar note, high-quality and engaging captions will lead to high-quality and engaged followers interacting with posts! Reading a caption takes longer than simply looking at a photo and is another opportunity to show off the personality of your brand, as well as set it apart from the competition.

5. Sponsored posts

Sponsored posts can be created straight from the Instagram app and you have the option to use Automatic audiences generated by Instagram itself to reach the most relevant users, including your existing followers. Use sponsored posts to promote best-performing posts, sales & promotions or drive followers to a specific website or location.

6. Optimize hashtags

With the new opportunity to follow individual hashtags, they’ve become an even more important part of a successful Instagram marketing strategy. Make sure the hashtags you use are relevant to your business, actively used and specific.

Choosing hashtags that are hugely popular is not as strong of a tactic unless it truly is a relevant hashtag to your business. Instead, find mid-sized hashtags used frequently by an engaged community where your posts will add to the conversation, not distract from it.

7. Stay relevant & branded

In the ever-more-crowded Instagram space, it is absolutely crucial for users to recognize a brand’s image and voice quickly and easily. Post content your audience cares about, develop brand guidelines and stick to them.

Additionally, be sure to keep your finger on the pulse of best days and times to post for your audience, to maximize the number of people who will see a post as soon as it goes live.

Armed with these tactics, you’ll be on your way to algorithm domination on the Instagram of 2018. Did we miss any strategies your business employs successfully? Let us know in the comments!

Story by: Kelsey Thompson