Are You Hurting Your Instagram Algorithm?
How does the Instagram algorithm work?
Think of the algorithm as the code which controls the distribution of content – simply put, it is in charge of who sees what.
The reach of all Posts, Stories and the Explore page, are powered by the algorithm.
The algorithm is constantly adapting by machine learning – it tracks the buttons we press, and any new behaviours or emerging trends, influence the reach of all content on Instagram.
In January 2020, Instagram directly addressed several controversial rumours about the algorithm. Instagram said:
“Authenticity and transparency are key to building sustainable engagement on Instagram”
Are you hurting the Instagram algorithm?
There are several behaviours which are known to slow down the algorithm – some will earn tempting short-term gains and many have been popular over the last few years, but you cannot cheat the algorithm as it has become increasingly sophisticated. Overall, any fake and inconsistent behaviour will harm the performance of your algorithm.
5 Tips to Avoid Hurting Your Instagram Algorithm
Never edit your post after you publish it
Although not expressly confirmed by Instagram, after reading many reports we tested it ourselves and are fairly sure it is true. This strengthens the importance of preparing your posts in advance of posting them (at the optimum time of course).
If you forget to write something in the caption, you can always add a Comment below your post, including hashtags.
Never buy Followers or Likes
Bigger numbers might look impressive and generate the benefits of social proof, however paid followers will not be genuine nor consistent participants. Buying followers will be evident to all from the low engagement rate – until Like counts are removed, but the algorithm will still know.
Never join Engagement pods
Like for Like – Follow for Follow – these groups are a prime example of trying to game the system, which is exactly the kind of inauthentic activity Instagram has expressly warned will harm the algorithm. Furthermore, Instagram confirmed there is no algorithmic advantage to getting a flurry of engagement in the first 30 minutes after you post.
Do not use the same hashtags on every Post
You can use up to 30 hashtags on each post – some studies say 9 is optimum, others report 11 – so we call it 10. However many hashtags you choose, make sure they are not exactly the same ones on every Post – resist the convenience of copy/paste the same block of hashtags on every post – make sure you mix it up.
Don’t use bots to send auto DMs or post Comments
No one likes an impersonal DM fired into their inbox as soon as you click Follow. The generic Comments under posts such as “Great content! Check out our profile!” are considered to be Spam, which risks being reported and therefore certainly hurting the algorithm.
Overall if you stay away from anything which aims to cheat the system or automate your Instagram engagement activities (we believe this does not include scheduled posts – they are ok), then you will not be at risk of hurting your algorithm.
Don’t treat the Instagram algorithm mean
to keep it keen!
For more Social Media tips & thoughts from Emma Jane, follow Gertrude & Ivy on Instagram.