We are entering a time when some of the best digital marketers don’t consider themselves to be digital marketers at all. They are content creators, influencers, artists, writers, photographers, or in Melissa Sassine’s case, a beauty and bridal influencer from Australia.
Anytime someone crosses the double-digit millions of views on their content, it’s worth questioning what they’re doing in order to garner that sort of viewership. But when someone crosses the 50 million mark, that’s a clear sign what they’re doing is working extraordinarily well, and is not by any means luck.
Melissa is one of the fastest growing social media influencers on Instagram and Facebook. With over 3m followers on her Facebook and Instagram pages, Melissa’s videos have been viewed over 100m times across her Facebook, Youtube and Instagram channels. Melissa is one of the fastest growing Instagram stars and counts fellow Instagram star Zoella as a close friend.
These days, people are flocking in droves to the Instagram platform and, with over 800 million active users, it comes as no surprise why people who have things to market and sell (like you) are eager to build a presence on this social media platform. Although Instagram has been around for over 8 years, it is more popular than ever! In the last year, Instagram has pretty much obliviated Snapchat with its introduction of nearly identical stories, features, and filters, and it is poising itself to take on Youtube by unveiling a new video uploading feature called IGTV. If you have been lurking in the shadows, waiting to see what this social media platform does before you start taking it “seriously”, now’s the time to crawl of hiding. Since Facebook’s daily usage is dropping quickly, anyone who has something to say or sell SHOULD be getting serious about Instagram literally today.
So, according to Melissa Sassine, here is what we know about the Instagram Algorithm: 10 Expert Tips That Will Give You a Major Leg Up!
1.) Instagram is NOT (I repeat) NOT in chronological order – and it hasn’t been for years. Instagram stopped showing everything you post to everyone who follows you immediately after you post it officially in 2016ish. People still reminisce about the good ol’ days of chronological Instagram but honestly, with literally thousands of options for “what to show” at any given moment, on any given day it shouldn’t come as a surprise WHY they changed it.
2.) Like with Facebook, your reach (how many people see your post) is determined by the amount of engagement that your post gets when it is initially put up. Off the bat, “it is said” that Instagram posts get reach to 10% of your following. Depending on how many of these people “bite” (like or comment) your organic reach gradually increases. If the first initial batch of people who follow you interact with your post quickly, then your post will be prioritized and become more viral.
3.) On Instagram, comments are weighted A LOT MORE than just “hearts” alone. So it is in your best interest to post captions that include questions that nurture engagement AND make sure that you respond to comments on your posts and carry on conversations with commenters. Ignoring comments (not responding) is a common Instagram amateur mistake. No matter what, you should always respond to the comments. Instagram DOES prioritize genuine comments over emojis or “spam” comments. Don’t worry too much about tricking it. Just comment back like a human being.
4.) Commenting is also the primary way that people can discover you (who do not follow you already) – therefore, make sure that in addition to commenting back on your own posts that you write meaningful comments on other people’s posts as well.
5.) Other places where your posts can be discovered (so that your account can grow): Hashtags (so use relevant, well-trafficked ones), Locations (use a location tag always), Suggested for you (these are suggested viral posts/trending posts curated for each user), and in the followers count of people who you follow (this is another place where people can “discover” you).
6.) The search bar and “keywords” are also very relevant on Instagram, so make sure that you optimize your profile. No more of this @myinitialsandthreerandomnumbers illegible profile names. The more obvious the better. And while we are at it, be blatant and include keywords in your bio. If you want to be “search friendly” these are two simple things that you want to get right!
7.) Even a very active and visible Instagram account is going to have a lot of “drive-by” traffic and people who follow then quickly unfollow – that is, if you just “content dump” and don’t engage back with your followers.
Sort of a side note, but when I first started working on my Instagram, I followed a very strict follow back and ALWAYS engage (leave comments, etc.) rule to try to make sure my new followers stuck around. However, as my account grew into the thousands, keeping up with everyone became impossible. So, instead, I started running engagement games to get my most active people to interact with me, so I could go to their accounts and interact with them…
8.) Like with Facebook, Instagram is a “social network” – meaning that there is a “network” web in place that also impacts who sees what and when. To explain this simply, if your friend likes your post and they have many mutual followers in common with you, then those people also become more likely to see that post.
9.) The algorithm is complex. You won’t be able to beat it with tricks, so you may as well join it…
This isn’t really a “tip” but more a reminder to trust that there are reasons why posts don’t get reach and why others do, and it has everything to do with quality as well as the activity of the profile owner (how engaged and active they are with their followers)… I would say that EVERYONE needs to keep this in mind. Try to avoid DUMPING content as best you can and interact outside of your own account.
10.) What we do know about “the algorithm” is that it looks at a variety of behaviours and builds a data profile around each user: what they are interested in (tech, fashion, clothes), who they are interested in (celebs, influencers, other people in their network), what type of posts they interact with (videos, regular square posts, slideshows, text posts, long captions, short captions) – then, based on what “it knows about us” it shows us content that it thinks we will like. The algorithm’s job (on both Facebook and Instagram) is to keep people on the platform longer so that they can make more money showing relevant ads to the user. THAT IS IT. The algorithm is designed to give you as a user more of what feeds your soul and keeps you keep coming back. Once you understand what “the agenda is” – knowing how to please the Instagram Gods (i.e. the algorithm) is easy-ish.
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