Social Media – Instagram

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Instagram’s Algorithm isn’t the big bad wolf of Social Media

Instagram Algorithm isn't a big bad wolf
Who’s afraid of the big, bad wolf?

It feels like a big mysterious and unknowable thing doesn’t it? It feels like Instagram deliberately keeps it hard to understand to keep control of it. However, that just isn’t true. I don’t like the term ‘hacking the algorithm’ because it is misleading, and leads us to imagine that it’s some sort of insider secret. Well, I’m no hacker, and I suspect that you’re not one either. And hacking is not required nor desired.

What the algorithm is, however, is very complicated. With multiple levels of classifiers and processes to prioritise posts depending on interests.

3 other myths about the Instagram Algorithm

  1. It isn’t just one algorithm. It’s a whole bunch of them working in concert, each with its own purpose. This is why the focus of its feed and Stories algorithms is generally on friends. Whereas Explore and Reels look to uncover more relevant topics based on trends, interests, etc.
  2. Instagram punishes those who use scheduling tools. Instagram says that this simply isn’t true. Scheduling posts through a third-party app can actually boost your engagement and reach, because they help you post content consistently. The only way that a scheduling tool might not work in your favour is if you are cross-posting the same content across many platforms. Original content is preferred.
  3. One of the most persistent misconceptions regarding the Instagram algorithm is that it ignores comments that are fewer than three words long. The truth is that even if they merely contain a couple of emojis, all comments are considered.
Instagram Algorithm social media

How does the algorithm decide whether a piece of content is worth showing to a particular person at any given time?

Very briefly, it looks at the user’s past behaviour, sweeps all the available posts, or pieces of content, and then evaluates each one to predict how interesting it is to that user. The most interesting content goes to the top.

So, my advice to you is don’t spend time worrying about the algorithm. Instead concentrate on creating interesting, authentic content for your particular audience, and post it consistently.

If you are in any doubt about your content, post more often, and look at your analytics to see what’s working, and what’s not. And don’t be afraid of making mistakes. They are sometimes the best way of discovering what it is your audience wants from you.

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Copyright – Formation Espoir Nature and Tonia Jowett social media marketing

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