Top 3 Things You Need to Know About Instagram's Newest Algorithm

When Instagram first made the change from a chronological feed to one driven by an algorithm, users were outraged. Over the past year or so, we've gotten used to seeing more sponsored posts, older posts, and the glitchy-ness of only being able to scroll so far until our feed refreshes and bumps us back to the top. For businesses the algorithm resulted in a completely new strategy, and each time there is an update, we ultimately have to revise our strategy again and again.

Here is everything you need to know about Instagram's newest algorithm update and how you can make the most of it:

1. How to Increase Visibility

On March 22nd Instagram made an update in response to the loudest feedback about wanting to see more posts in real time. Promising a better experience that won't let you miss the moments you care about, users can now take advantage of a "New Posts" button to choose when their feed refreshes. What this allows for businesses is the opportunity to strategically post when their audience is most active and be seen when users tap "New Posts".

Instagram's goal is to keep users in the app as long as possible and so they display posts that are performing best in the feed first. Performance is measured by how quickly a post gets a response and how much engagement it accumulates. The better it performs the more it shows up to your followers and in the Explore feed.

Beyond timing and engagement, Instagram seems to factor in your engagement as well. Start commenting and liking your followers' and partners' content, but If you want to make those comments work in your favor, make sure they are four or more words long. Less than that, and they won’t count toward anything.

2. The Power of Business Accounts

Instagram’s business account setting gives you access to your posts' analytics, information that can't be checked in a regular account. See which posts are getting the most engagement, when your followers are engaging with your content, and track your most popular posts of all time.

Beyond analytics, business accounts have a better chance of being found. Once you set up your profile with contact information, visitors can reach out directly through a button on your Instagram profile instead of following your URL and digging for a way to get in touch.

Finally, business accounts can leverage the power of Instagram ads right through their mobile app. It is as easy as choosing a post and selecting "Promote." From there you can select an audience, set your budget, and manage the run time of your ad.

The best part is that business accounts are free, so signing up doesn't cut into your overhead!

3. Don't Abuse Hashtags

Since the beginning, hashtags have been the currency of Instagram. You may have heard the more hashtags the better, and in some cases this is still true. In other cases, Instagram may see your post as spam if there are too many hashtags. If this happens you may end up banned briefly. Instead of use 30 hashtags, use 5-15 unique hashtags (and switch them up now and then).

Since the algorithm changed, hashtags that you write in the comments section of your post, no longer show up in the search results. Only hashtags in the body text of your posts will actually work the way they're supposed to. If you are learning this now, don’t go and edit the text of your most recent post. If you edit your caption within 24 hours of it being posted, your chances of it being seen drop significantly!

Although Instagram really messed up our flow with the new algorithm you can still drive great results through the platform. If you follow these tips you're on your way, at least until the folks at Instagram decide to change it up on us again.