Does it ever feel like the Instagram algorithm is working against you?
You’re not the only one. While some people experienced massive growth on the Gram lately, some jewelry business owners and content creators are feeling frustrated because they’ve seen a rapid fall in stories, reels, photos, and video engagement. And if you’re using the platform to announce a sale or reveal a new jewelry collection, then the Instagram algorithm update has a visible impact on your business.
For those of you who are new to Instagram, or who are just starting to grow your business on the platform, these changes can be quite overwhelming. So let’s unpack some terms to give you more clarity.
The algorithm is a process to predict what users might be interested in as they go about their day, checking their IG feed. There is not just one Instagram algorithm, but many. They are constantly changing. Every day. But, this is a good thing because it means there’s always something new to learn and master, and if you want to stay relevant on Instagram, it’s important to understand the latest changes and updates.
Instagram uses the algorithm to “rank” content according to the IG user’s level of interest. Curating high-ranking content ensures that IG users are seeing things and people that they like in their feed and not some random content that they aren’t interested in.
By examining what type of content IG users see, like, and comment on, Instagram can assess how interested they are in this kind of content. The information then becomes the basis for the content “ranking score.” Here are some factors that affect the ranking score:
- Information About the Post
What is the content format? Is it a photo or video?
- Information About the Author
Are you following the author? How often do they post content?
- Information About Your Activity
What kind of content do you usually engage with? Are you most likely to comment on or like a photo or video?
- Your Interaction History
Have you commented on, liked, or shared the author’s previous posts?
These actions also affect the ranking score:
- The time you’ve spent watching the content
- Your reactions to the post
- Commenting on a post
- Saving content
- Frequently tapping on a profile
There’s no doubt that Instagram’s algorithm is a bit of a mystery. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, the app goes and changes things up again. However, some general principles can be applied to all sections of the app. For example, Instagram will take into account the relationship you have with your followers, the relevance of the content you’re posting, and the timeliness of your posts. The specific factors that tailor your Feed, Stories, Explore tab and Reels are all slightly different.
So, what exactly goes into each section of Instagram? Let’s take a closer look.
The Instagram Explore page is all about helping users discover new content. The algorithm looks at what you’ve liked, saved, shared, and commented on in the past to figure out what you might like. So if you’re ever wondering why a certain post pops up on your Explore page, it’s because the algorithm thinks you’ll find it interesting!
Surfacing content from accounts you’re not following exposes you to new perspectives. And who knows? Maybe you’ll pick up inspiration ideas in the process!
Now if you’re feeling down because your Insta-worthy posts aren’t getting the likes and comments that they deserve, don’t freak out, I’ve got you covered!
Know how to play the game
First of all, it’s important to understand that the Instagram algorithm is constantly changing. Knowing how to play the game is the first step to winning it. Let’s take a secondake to unpack the latest updates so I can give you tips on how to improve your post engagements with the ever-changing Instagram algorithm.
Instagram has evolved into a powerful marketing tool
Instagram has changed a lot since it first launched in 2010. The app originally started as a way to share photos with friends and family, but it quickly evolved into a powerful marketing tool for businesses and brands. Instagram now has over one billion monthly active users— that’s a lot of daily content! Unsurprisingly, it’s become one of the most popular social media platforms for marketing.
Rolling Out New Home, Favorites, and Following Feed Views
The Home, Favorites, and Following views are new options to customize the browsing experience. If you don’t like the way Instagram shows you content, you can now switch to one of the three options. Instagram has also added the option to see posts in chronological order, as opposed to the default algorithmic order. By giving users control over their views, Instagram has made it possible for everyone to have a personalized experience.
Check out this tweet from Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, announcing the rollout of these new views:
The different views are as follows:
- In the Home view, you will see accounts the algorithm thinks you’ll be interested in, as well as recommendations for accounts that you might want to follow.
- The Favorites view shows posts from a list of accounts whose content you don’t want to miss.
- The Following view shows the content of accounts you follow chronologically and does not include recommendations to follow other accounts.
5 Ways to Improve Your Post Engagements with the Instagram Algorithm
If you want to make Instagram work for your social media strategy, here’s how to improve your post engagements:
Focus on Creating Authentic Connections
The point of doing social media marketing is to build authentic connections with your people. And it’s not just about getting likes and good comments. If your goal is to connect with the jewelry community, you have to change your mindset from “I need more likes and followers” to “how can I connect with people who are following me?” Come from a place of service by posting content that adds value or educates your followers.
Follow the Community Guidelines
Instagram is the latest platform to take a stand against unethical marketing practices. In a recent announcement, the company said that it will be deprioritizing posts that contravene its Community Guidelines. This process is called a shadowban, which means posts that are reported for breaking the guidelines will be less visible in users’ feeds, making it less likely that Instagram users will see them. Instagram’s decision to crack down on ethical violations is a welcome move and one that underscores the importance of responsible marketing practices.
I had an interesting conversation with Instagram guru Melissa Camilleri about #shadowban in Episode 96 of Thrive by Design Podcast. Its title is How to Navigate the Recent Instagram Changes to Recapture Engagement and it was way back in 2017! See what I’m talking about when I say Instagram has an ever-changing algorithm?
Be creative with Reels
If you’re not on the Instagram Reels train yet, now’s the time to jump on board. Reels are one of Instagram’s newest features, and the platform is still promoting the video format. That means there’s an opportunity for your brand to get noticed. But how do you make sure your Reel stands out from the crowd? Here are a few tips:
- Do not re-use watermarked TikToks – everyone can tell, and it’s just lazy.
- Shoot in vertical – it’s easier to watch, and again, Instagram is all about those views.
- Use the bells and whistles: filters, camera effects, music, etc.
- Keep it short and sweet, with lots of entertainment value.
Get the Conversation Going
Want a fun and interactive way to get people interested in your content? Engaging with your audience is the key, plus it is a HUGE factor in getting on top of the algorithm. And one simple way to do that is by using stickers in your Instagram stories. With question stickers, emoji sliders, and polls, you can directly ask your fans and followers for their opinion on whatever you’re posting. So go ahead and start creating stories with stickers! Your engagement (and Instagram success) will thank you for it.
Plan Your Consistent Post
Consistent posting doesn’t happen accidentally. It’s planned with intention (hello Content Calendar!). Building solid followership in any platform demands the hard work of planning, brainstorming, conceptualizing, executing, editing, and finally posting or scheduling posts. By posting regularly, you’re more likely to show up in your followers’ feed, increasing the chances that they’ll engage with your content. IG chief Adam Mosseri said that posting a cadence of 2 feed posts per week and 2 stories per day is ideal for building a following on the app.
To sum up, Instagram is an amazing visual platform where you can promote your jewelry and engage with your audience. No doubt about that. But stating the obvious, even if it’s a free platform, relying on it as your sole method of audience-building will cost more than what you’re willing to lose. Truth be told, Instagram is an app that constantly evolves and you can’t have control over it. Ever.
New changes may roll out as you read this blog post. So you can’t totally depend on it when it comes to communicating with your followers and potential customers. The members of Laying The Foundation, an exclusive online course for jewelry artists and business owners, are so lucky to learn this early on. I’ve been teaching that the best way to build your clientele is by migrating your followers, be it from Facebook, Instagram, Etsy, or Tik Tok, onto your own website and nurturing them with your own email marketing.
If you want to fast-track your jewelry business without working every single waking moment, check out Laying the Foundation and discover how you can use your creative spirit to make consistent sales.
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