Winning the Game on IG
Instagram is not the same game it was even as recently as a year ago. It behaves differently so you need to too! It’s a waste of time and energy complaining about the changes or wishing for “the good ole days”. The good news is that when you understand the new algorithm you will be armed to win. You can’t win at any game unless you know “the rules”. So with Instagram as with anything knowledge is power. Here is what you need to understand in order to conquer the new Instagram algorithm. With this information you are not only going to survive the new Instagram algorithm you are going to LOVE the new algorithm!
I think many people became discouraged because Instagram changed the rules mid-game. We all learned in childhood that this is NOT FAIR! I mean come on IG! We thought we knew how to play, we were doing just fine, and then all of a sudden, the game has changed and no new rule cards were issued. We’ve been left floundering and wishing for the past. The worst part is that we can’t see the rule changes. They are hidden. All we know is that IG doesn’t reward us, grow us, like us, the way they used to.
So let’s focus on how to meet these changes to have them work FOR US instead of AGAINST US!
Big and Powerful? No more!
Large numbers of followers no longer ensures continued growth. The only thing that ensures growth is quality-driven engagement. In some ways, it’s a good thing. It creates more of an even playing field. Just because you’ve been on IG a long time and have garnered a large following doesn’t mean you will continue to grow and succeed. Everyone has to continually prove themselves, i.e. Produce High Quality Photos and engagement or their feed will stall, even shrink!
What determines how many people see your posts?
It is based on how people react to your posts. If you get a lot of likes and a lot of comments Instagram will “sense” it and show it to more people, i.e. move it up your followers’ feeds. Likes and comments are the feedback tools that make the algorithm react. Likes and especially comments say to Instagram, “this is quality content”. In turn, the algorithm moves up your post and puts it on the search page. So quality is seen and anything that doesn’t get a reaction is basically shoved to the bottom and practically ignored.
Feeds that can continually produce quality photos and posts and get a lot of people to interact (comment) will see lots of growth (and vice versa). Consistency is key to this game.
Why did Instagram change the algorithm?
If you’re anything like me, you like to understand not just the what’s and the how’s, but also the why’s. I don’t have all the inside scoop, but I do have some. And I’m sharing it because it made me feel a bit better after understanding these reasons. As you already know, artificial growth got out of control last year. Companies and services were springing up overnight selling fake followers, likes, some even fake comments! For a price, people were buying success! (I get a little sick feeling in my stomach even thinking about it, but that is the sad truth.) The entire platform was in jeopardy of becoming meaningless and robot-controlled. There were too many for Instagram to traffic and stop. Instead, they changed the platform. Real comments are the one thing that robots can’t replicate.
6 Winning Strategies To Conquer the New Instagram Algorithm
1. Quality over Quantity
It’s more important than ever to really focus on quality. If this means not posting as often, then don’t post as often. I say it all the time, and I’ll say it again. Each and every post has the power to help or hurt. If it’s not helping then it is hurting.
2. The Power of Momentum
Jodie and I liken Instagram to bowling. It’s like rolling a strike…your next roll really counts…no pressure 🙂 Once you have a successful post you’ve “awoken” the IG Giant! More eyes are on you! Make sure you take advantage and post your best. Success builds on success.
3. Know Your Followers
How can you know if your post is going to do well before you post it? Know your followers. Study their reactions. Pay very close attention to how your posts perform. What makes your followers react? What do they love? When are they wishy-washy? Jodie and I usually have a very good idea how our posts will do before we even post because we really pay attention.
4. Get A Reaction
As we’ve already discussed the holy grail is now COMMENTS! (Since likes can be duplicated by robots and purchased…) The only real measure that Instagram has are comments. I haven’t researched fake purchasing because I want to stay as far away from that as possible…I just might lose my composure. But I believe robots can also fake comments, but they don’t do a good job of it. To differentiate between real and robotic commenting IG now only “counts” comments of over 3 words. So if you are leaving comments and you want it to make a difference, don’t just write “beautiful”…IG will count it as no better than a possible computer-generated response.
Want comments? Create a swoon-worthy photo, something that gets people to slow their speedy scrolling AND…engage them! Start a conversation, ask a question, take a poll, be witty and inviting. Draw your audience in so they can’t resist you (wink!) And they’re so moved they can’t resist replying!
These days in a sea of gorgeous swoon-worthy posts the very best photos create an emotional response. Photos that go practically viral have a surprise element, ethereal lighting, a dog or a child adding interest and “realness” to a gorgeous home decor photo, something that takes the photo to the next level.
5. Comment Back
It follows that it is very important to continue the conversation in your feed. Whenever possible comment back to each and every comment on your feed. Try not to lump the comments to save time. Every single comment counts, so you are helping your feed by increasing the number of comments.
Also, optimally, comment back in a timely manner. If life allows (and I know sometimes it does not) comment back in real time. This has the power to boost your posts’ exposure! That should help motivate you!
6. Spend Time Giving
We’ve talked a lot about how much time you need to spend working on your own feed, i.e. quality posts, interaction, engagement, commenting back. What we have’t talked about yet is what you should be doing out in the big ole world of IG.
Many people don’t know this so listen closely: You want your pictures to appear in the feed of as many people as possible…but how? Is it the luck of the draw? Do some people just have the magic touch? Is it out of reach? No, no and no. You can totally affect this and here’s how. Like and comment authentically (always more than 2 words) on other feeds in your niche. Spend time searching, following, and commenting on other feeds. When you spend time interacting with people Instagram will “reward” you by putting you in their home feed! Yes, it’s true! We know this takes a lot of time, but it will reap huge benefits in the long run.
Jodie and I didn’t know this was the case. We just did it because we love it! We love “meeting” people and spreading love, and it is a huge reason for our success. It’s the law of the universe in action, even on Instagram. Give! Give extravagantly and the universe will provide! Put your real heart into it and what you get back will be just as real.
It’s All About Building Real Relationships
It comes down to this, My Friends. To grow your coveted level of engagement you need to build true relationships. No matter how you slice it, this is the foundation for growth. Friends reply to friends. Connections build connections. When you treat Instagram like a real community it reacts as such. It’s like greeting a friend in the street or at the gym. You’ve built a relationship so when you see them (or in this case, their post) you are much more likely to engage in kind conversation, share a compliment etc. Real relationships are not built on generic comments. Heartfelt comments ring out loudly. Put your heart into it and your authenticity will ring through the crowd.
Certainly in the Home Décor Community on Instagram we are about so much more than pretty pictures of our homes. We interact in a real way. If you are not interacting and making friends, you are missing a big piece of the IG puzzle. Not only will making friends improve your engagement it will also improve your enjoyment. It’s truly a win/win.
You can do this: How to Love the New Instagram Algorithm!
Jodie and I have spent 3 years on Instagram building real relationships. This is the key to our success. We are all about the people. We are all about the interactions and wouldn’t be here if it weren’t real. It takes time, but it makes it all worthwhile. Read more about the details and our best advice based on our experience and what it takes to GROW OVER 100K. We’ve always done it for the intrinsic rewards. It turns out, the rewards are multi-faceted! The more real it is for you the more connected your followers will feel. Jodie and I affectionately call it “the love fest”, and we’re not even kidding 🙂
People talk about “beating the algorithm”. You don’t need to beat it. You just need to understand it. Like any new game or challenge it’s foolish to think you can win without knowing and understand the rules. Hopefully, armed with this new clarity you will find yourself not only winning at this game we call Instagram but LOVING the new Instagram algorithm!
Are you interested in taking your IG game to the next level? Schedule a Private Instagram Consultation with Jodie and me. We will study your Instagram account and meet with you via conference call to give you our best advice on exactly how to improve your feed. We will walk you through each aspect of the process, from defining your “brand”, improving your bio, optimizing your skill set, photography & editing, voice, and pointed actions to make the most of your valuable time and efforts on Instagram. When you realize that time is money, this will be a great investment that will easily pay for itself. Schedule your Personalized Instagram Assessment today.
Jodie and I share our insights regarding all aspects of Instagram here on our blog. If you haven’t yet read the 20 posts in which we share our expertise, tips, and specific recommendations it’s like leaving money on the table. These post will help you organically grow your Instagram account. They can be found under our Instagram Tab on the blog. We hope you make the time to take full advantage of these FREE RESOURCES.
With love & gratitude,
Julie & Jodie