4 tips for the latest instagram algorithm change

by Krystal Bick
January 22, 2018

OUTFIT DETAILS: Kohl’s sweater // Zara turtleneck (similar style here) // Zara skirt (similar style here) // Goorin Brothers beret (similar style and price point here) // Sarah Flint heels // Fishnet socks bought in Japan (similar style here) // Olympia Le-Tan clutch 

Let’s get down to business…

When I shared last week’s reader survey results, a lot of you weighed in saying you were a bit, let’s say, tired of influencers sharing the “business of blogging” posts unless there was something actionable and different to say about it. And I get that. I think it’s safe to say at this point, most consumers of social media are aware of how influencer marketing works so you don’t need another person chiming in to explain what a sponsored post is.

So, we’ve been there, done that, right? Moving on…

What I did find interesting is that a lot of you asked for more posts like my 10 Instagram Engagement Tips — primarily because it was well, actionable and differentiated. I also loved the discussion that it sparked after the fact — a lot of you sent in your own tips, tricks and, yes, frustrations with Instagram, making for a welcomed venting turned workshop session. So in light of the recent algorithm change that went into effect around the holidays and this great write up by The Pigeon Letters that I shared over on Insta Stories, I figured I’d kick off round two. Put up your dukes, here are some recent things I’ve either been experimenting with myself or that I’ve noticed others experimenting with…

1. Aim for immediate engagement: As The Pigeon Letters points out, it’s likely your posts are only being seen by a fraction of your followers at first (perhaps around 10%), so the initial immediate engagement is paramount in determining whether or not your post is shown to the rest of your followers. This means, a lot rides on those first 10 to 20 minutes after you post.

There’s a few ways to go about this, but I generally try to catch up on my feed favorites, liking and commenting as I go before I post, and then making sure I respond to all subsequent comments once I do post, as soon as I notice they’re there. Side note: comment pods used to be seen as the answer to this, but rumor has it that this type of activity may actually work against you. Jury is out on that one still.

 

Similarly, I’ve also noticed a few of my favorites who I follow (and admire!), have been leaving follow up comments themselves, tagging the brands and photographers in addition to a caption call out. I’ve yet to try this many times myself, but I could see how from an engagement standpoint, it might help? Have you guys tried this? I’m curious what your thoughts are on this?

2. Hashtags: As you all probably noticed recently, Instagram launched a new feature allowing folks to essentially follow a hashtag, just as you would an account. Again, in the spirit of trying out new features, there’s always a hunch that by experimenting with new launches, you’ll win algorithm favoring, which of course sounds like something straight out of The Hunger Games, but I digress.

While we’re on the subject of hashtags, it’s now rumored that follow up comments with a slew of hashtags will no longer render your post in search results related to those tags, thereby forcing you to add them to the caption itself.

 

Good rule of thumb here is to use 3 to 5 and try to vary them up each time, to avoid looking like a bot. Admittedly, I’m bad at researching hashtags, so when I see relevant ones I like while scrolling, I jot them onto an ongoing note I have on my phone.

3. Image tags: This is another one that I haven’t done much of, but I’ve noticed quite a few other influencers dabbling in it. In addition to tagging all brands worn in a certain image, I’ve noticed folks tagging a large number of reader submission accounts, like ootdmagazine, ootdsubmit, and ootd_inspirations, just to name a few. There’s a great degree of ambiguity here as to how they select who to feature, so my advice would be selective in choosing ones that best reflect your style and aesthetic.

4. Captions as CTAs: We’ve talked about engaging captions before, so this may sound like old news to you. What’s shifting for me now, even though I’m far from perfect at it, is to think of captions as a way of sharing a story and then ending with a direct call to action, whether that’s to leave a specific answer in the comments below or to click the link in my bio to read more. Consider the following phrases the next time you’re writing out your caption:

Engagement: “Double tap if you agree!”

Sharing the post: “Tag a friend who could use this today…”

Travel content: “What are your recommendations for (insert city name here)?”

Story swapping: “Leave me a comment with the (insert emoji of choice here) and tell me about a time you… ”

Driving traffic: “To read more about this, head over to my blog today. Direct link in bio.”

Seeking advice: “What are you guys currently reading? Any faves you’d like to recommend?”

And there you have it — just a few quick and easy engagement tips I’ve noticed recently, but I’d love to hear what you guys have been seeing and experimenting with. Let me know in the comments below! And, in case you missed it, check out my original 10 Instagram Engagement Tips here.

Photos by Nora Varcho

18 thoughts on “4 tips for the latest instagram algorithm change

  1. These are some really amazing tips!
    I’ve started to add more CTA in my IG post to spark conversation with my followers and its had a great effect on engagement! I’m also trying to get better with responding in a timely manner. I was like you and responded at the end of my day but I heard if you can respond in the moment, it will help with getting the post seen by more of your followers!

  2. Oh my… I’m slowly starting to loose my mind with Instagram and all of it’s changes, yet, I have no other option than to “keep up” with them.
    Thank you for the advices, they’re more than needed! Also, may I just comment that you look like the most gorgeous retro lady ever?! This
    outfit is simply out of this world!

    https://lartoffashion.com/touches-of-red/

  3. Instagram is so frustrating. As a firm believer in not investing much time and energy into third-party sites that can change the rules on your content however they want (Vine, YouTube, Instagram, etc.) I find myself debating a lot if its even WORTH the energy. What’s probably the most sad thing about Instagram is that it takes SO much work and effort to be seen, that it’s left a lot of bloggers leaving behind their blogs all together — which is the only platform they truly own.

    It’s definitely a nerve-wracking thing. Props to the Instagrammers who have made it work but it seems like there’s a behind the curve thing happening and if you missed the curve, you’ll really struggle to break through.

    xoxo – Kelly
    http://www.dreaminlace.com

  4. Really appreciate this insight, Krystal! #2 inspired this idea just now: you could tag photos with one specific hashtag (still rotate the other hashtags) your fans can follow so that you come up in our hashtag feed. #thistimetomorrow or #krystalbick etc. 🙂

  5. Very insightful post, I honestly never knew that putting hashtags in comments, doesn’t work. I’ll try adding to my post and see, however in past times and based on my analytics, I do get views from some tags. Another tip I’d add is geo-taging posts. I’ll be sure to catch up on the other linked posts.

    Princess Audu

  6. This might be my favorite outfit of yours (which is saying a lot because I pin so many of your outfits on my pinterest)! Also love seeing you not wearing sunglasses, which hopefully doesn’t sound rude, but for some reason helps me see how the outfit works with a hairstyle, hat, etc., without the extra accessory. I’m not much of an instagram user, but I still found this post really interesting and well-written. Also, the juxtaposition of the outfit photos, with a more “meaty” post reminds me of fashion forward and art design magazine spreads (ID, W magazine). Really well done!

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