September 15, 2018 Abby Opersteny

Master the Instagram Algorithm: Part 2

Last week we dished what you need to know to make the Instagram Algorithm work for you— It isn’t the enemy, but it also isn’t the magic formula for success. The algorithm may play a big part in delivering your content into the feeds of your followers, if you are not dedicating time and resources to creating stellar content, it won’t be the algorithm that handicaps you.

If you are serious about seeing growth on your platform, it’s time to get serious about content creation. Here’s what you need to know.

Visuals matter.

Instagram is visual platform, therefore the look of your feed matters a lot! Developing a “look” for your images can be very difficult but here are some tips that can make all the difference.

  1. Edit your photos with a consistent filter
  2. Use Lightroom’s HSL to create a color theme
  3. Utilize a pattern

Common Examples:

Every 7th post use a text post or quote.

Every other post, alternate between a light and dark post

Every other post, alternate between a graphic and plain photo.

No matter what “look” you create, be “grid-minded” as you post. AKA: How will this look with my overall theme.

Post consistently.

Posting at least once a day is necessary. It may seem like a hassle but the algorithm rewards consistent posters. Which also means, falling off the face of the earth for a week or two isn’t really an option. That is, unless you want to start from square one again once you re-emerge.

Why? Well, Instagram tracks every move we make as a user— Yes, “Big Brother”, is watching us— including who we are engaging with regularly. If you aren’t providing your following with content, they won’t be able to engage with you, and Instagram will assume users have lost interest in your content because of it. Make sense? 

Portrait photos.

Now we are getting into the nitty gritty. What orientation are most of your photos? If the answer isn’t portrait, you are missing out on an easy Insta-hack. You see, as Instagram tracks your activity, they go as far as to measure how long each post is on your screen. Meaning, If you’re using a photo that takes up more of an user’s screen, your stats are getting a consistent boost. Check out the example below. Can’t you see it?

Use captions that harness the power of your story. 

Speaking of screen time… You know what really captures people’s attention? A good story.

So tell your following your story in your caption. No, don’t write a novel… unless you’re really confident in how captivating it is. But! People want to know who you are as a company, the faces and heart behind your cause, and the “every day” moments. If you are just using social media to sell your product or service, you are missing the point altogether.

How do you write a good caption?

  1. Write like how you would talk to someone.
  2. Incorporate a relatable and doable call to action. This can be as simple as a “double tap” or comment. Lots of “small asks” will prep your audience for your occasional “Big asks”, and will have them conditioned to responding to what you ask for.

Anyone already seeing where this is going? Stories that get eyes on your post for more than a quick scroll + A call to action that gets engagement on your post = The perfect algorithm-minded post, that your following will actually like.

Instagram may be a visual platform, but your captions will make or break your success. What I’ll leave you with here is our friend, Jenna Kutcher’s, analogy of what your content should encompass.

Be at your dinner party.

Think of your feed as a dinner party you are hosting. As guest start gathering around your table to share a meal, and hopefully a story or two with you, don’t go running into the streets looking for more mouths to feed! Feed the ones already there, and if you’re a good host, word will spread and your dinner parties will gradually grow.

What does you following need right now and how can you provide it for them? That’s the question you need to answer, NOT what your “ideal following” would want. They’re not at the dinner party! Forget about them!

Apps to Know:

Are you exhausted yet? It’s a lot of information, that is all interconnected. Which means you can’t skimp out on one area without hurting your chances of success in another. Luck you, I have some resources to help you build your Insta-empire.

PLANN: This app will help you stay “grid-minded”. You can preview how upcoming posts will effect the overall look of your feed and even schedule posts for the future.

Command: This nifty little tool will give it to your straight— Use the “report card” tool to see how your doing in every category we’ve discussed and get tips for improvement.

Word Swag: Creating stories can be time consuming, but with Word Swag you can create professional and beautiful stories in minutes.

Your 4C team: How could I leave out our team. Social media is a bit like the wild wild west, and without the right people on your side, it’s easy to get lost, discouraged or quit altogether. We promise— our master story-telling will be your best marketing asset.


Ready to get started on hacking the Instagram Algorithm and make it work for you? Click here to download our cheat sheet we’ve made just for you.

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