@kashmirVIII: Instagram's algorithm for displaying posts is fucking with my sales/business.
Alice Clearwater

So I had a realization this week that Instagram's algorithm for displaying posts is fucking with my sales/business. A thread:

So I never paid much attention to how bad the algorithm is like most of y'all did...cuz I don't even scroll my IG feed. I get on there, post my posts, and go.

I started noticing numbers of mine going down...sales, post views, engagements, etc. Instagram is really important to me because it's my biggest social media platform, and rightfully so since I have such a visual business.

So I'm gonna tell y'all this so y'all don't do hours of researching and testing and stressing like I did. Cuz I wish somebody would told me...

Basically, like we all know, some of your posts (and mine) aren't being seen by as many people as they used to when our feeds were in chronological order. And the reason for this being is that Instagram now boosts/shows more "enjoyable" content, instead of just what's new.

How do they determine what's most enjoyable? Numbers of course! When u post a new post, this post is only initially shown to a small percentage of your followers.

The algorithm measures how fast and how often that small percentage of your audience engages (looks at, likes, comments, shares and saves) with your post.

Then, it compares the meatrics it gathered from your new post, and compares them to the numbers of older posts of yours that you may have posted previously on the same day/time as the new one

If your new post is pulling in numbers that are below average for you, the algorirhm basically restricts the post from being shown to ALL Your followers and it pushes the post further down their feed because it's deemed as "less enjoyable"

If the post is doing better than your average they show it to more people and it had a higher likelihood of being higher in people's feeds & on the explore page

And what this does, basically, is force small businesses to pay for ads. It's all just a way for Instagram to get more money basically.

So here's a few tips and things I'm gonna start doing that I previously wasn't...

Don't just post to post. My first instinct was to just go crazy with posting. I got hootsuite and everything so I could post every hour on the hour thinking more posts = more visibility. Based on how the algorithm works that's not the case & actually pretty harmful

All posts (they probably shoulda been already but what worked for me worked) should be carefully planned. They should first and foremost be visually pleasing but also, u should be posting during times your audience is most active (obviously)

Start utilizing stories and live streams. I never been the person to do either really. Never ever posted a story & maybe posted a live stream 2-3 times...but those are important now since your followers get notifications for those & IG boosts streams/stories to the top of the app

Another thing I did that may have hurt me (can't speak for everyone) was create a separate page for my personal pics. So I have two IG pages. Even tho if I post a selfie on my IG page I'll get more likes/engagements than some my art will lol

So in my case, making a personal IG page definitely hurt me and my numbers and I'll soon be combining them back into one

Other things I've read/noticed: changing/editing your caption after you've made it hurts your chances of your post being seeing by more people

If you're using hashtags to help promote and get exposure from those who search the hashtag, they have to be in your caption. Hashtags in comments don't pop up in hashtag searches

Also, people can now follow hashtags. So it may help to tell your audience to follow a special hashtag you've made for yourself and to utilize hashtags people might already be following

It also may be helpful to know that this year Instagram will be showing "recommended posts" in your feed from people your friends follow or content they think you may be interested in. So hopefully that'll work in small biz favor too

And the reason this is happening is because Facebook is trying to tune down sponsored and recommended pages. Which I hope also helps small businesses cuz all the recommended pages that cross my FB are Asian companies sellin blackity black melanin clothes so...

Oh and as far as Instagram only showing your post to 10% of your audience, If within the first 10 minutes, your post gets a strong level of engagement (likes, comments, direct shares), Instagram will then show it to the remaining 90% of your following. So 10 minutes is all u got.

YOUR post is basically going through a 10 minute audition to see if it can be shown to YOUR audience. Some bull lmao

Oh one more thing! Their algorithm is SO bad that people have created these Instagram groups called PODS. Once u post, the friends in your pod gets a notification and everyone in that pod is supposed to go like/engage with what you just posted

So if it's 100 people in your pod and they're all doing what they spose to do, within a couple minutes you'll have 100 likes and it'll help to boost your post up into the "enjoyable content" realm and released to the other 90% of your audience

How crazy is it that we even have to do that and go that far? Smh

Okay UPDATE** because I'm getting a lot of FAQs - hashtags in comments still work, but could very well not work later this year because of more changes. I'm not a part of any pods but if I decide to make one I'll let y'all know. I heard they can get you shadowbanned/suspended

So be careful with those!

I've also learned since originally posting the thread that Instagram boosts personal pages more than business pages. I like that their business pages give you analytics (which can be very important and helpful!) however...

Business pages are considered second class citizens on Instagram lol personal pages are more important to Instagram, thus business pages take a back seat on Instagram's priority list when it comes to exposure

So I switched my page back to a personal page and I honestly see a world of difference. If you absolutely need analytics, consider downloading a 3rd party app! IG Analyzer is helpful for me

One thing that hurts promoted posts (which I feel like may hurt your regular posts too but I know for SURE hurt promoted posts) is posting WORDS instead of PICTURES.

(Yes, Instagram can/does scan your post itself to see if it's words or a photo lol) your best bet will be to make sure theres at least a photo in the background and words on too or something

And lastly, not only does how many likes/comments your post gets within the first 10 minutes matter, but also how LONG people look at your post also matters a lot. Crazy right? Captivating captions and videos and utilizing the multi-photo option can be helpful.

The LONGER people are on your post, the better. So give them something cool to scroll through and/or watch.