4 Things Most People Don't Know About Instagram Algorithms


So what is an algorithm? And who would have ever guess that math and science would play a role in our social media marketing efforts in the first place! Maybe I should have paid more attention in algebra? Nah, don’t let the word Algorithm scare you, we just need to understand the purpose of the algorithm is, and how we can still be successful even though it plays a role in how many people are seeing our posts on Instagram.

Thanks Google for clearing that up for us.

Thanks Google for clearing that up for us.

By now you are probably aware that the Instagram algorithm isn’t totally working in our favor when we are marketing our amazing brands and businesses by posting on our feeds. Our hopes for the organic (*cough, cough*more importantly), free reach we all so desperately want for our posts seems to be hit or miss for some of us while others seem to be killing it. So what are these IG masters doing differently than us?

Here are 4 things most people don’t know about the IG algorithms…


YOU’VE GOT 60 MINUTES TO MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION: This first hour after your post is crucial. What happens in that first hour? This is when Mr. Algorithm is basically judging us by how interesting our posts are. The algorithm is most “judgmental” in that first 60 minutes so you want your post to do what the algorithm was designed to determine, and that is if your post is “social” meaning are people liking it, commenting on it and spending time with it…and that you are engaging, not just posting and leaving the app.

Bonus Tip: I suggest spreading the love, spend some time on other’s accounts before, and after you post too. Also, pay attention to your insights to see when your audience is most likely online, that is the time you want to post as often as you can. You will find that not all 7 days are the same, the weekends are most likely different.


YOU’VE GOT SOMETHING TO PROVE: It’s important to understand that your post really does have to prove itself to the algorithm. Only 10% or less of your followers are seeing your post when its first posted, so it has to be good and something people want to engage with. The only way to prove your post's worthiness is by the engagement it receives. If your post is determined to be good by Ol’ Al and his calculating ways then you are receiving lots of comments and likes. This is when the algorithm releases your post into more of your follower’s feeds. If it's a really good post you may just land in that heavenly place we know as the explore page, where new organic followers find you without a hashtag. Dreamy right? I wish IG would tell us when our account’s get placed in the magical digital land of someone’s explore page, but so far I haven’t found any info on that. Just focus on getting creative and post great content that your audience wants to see, read and comment on and you will see growth quicker I promise.

Bonus Tip: carousel posts, videos, and long (interesting) captions help a ton too, the longer they linger on your post the better.


YOU’VE GOT 5 ON IT…OR AT LEAST 4: This is one lots of people have no clue about. Your goals for marketing on social media should also include finding a way to encourage your audience to comment 4 words or more on your posts. Oh and emojis unfortunately don't count as words…this is so sad right? I feel like I can really express myself with emojis. The good news is that your 4-word or more comment back to the people who commented on your post counts as engagement to the algorithm too, it wants you to engage and this makes it “social”, like a conversation is happening, after all it is social media.

Bonus Tip: It’s ok to say in your caption “in four words or more tell me (fill in the blank)”


YOU’VE GOT TAGS: I could go on and on about hashtags because they are very involved and different social media platforms use hashtags uniquely. I will blog on this specific topic coming up. In the meantime and if you have the time, I suggest giving this long, but extremely informative ULTIMATE GUIDE from Later a read. My short advice on this is use hashtags relevant to your niche, and your content. Hashtags will 100% help you increase your followers which in turn leads to more brand awareness, more leads and more sales or in the case of being an influencer…more influence. Without hashtags you are just treading water my friend.

Bonus Tip: Use the PLANN app to plan your grid and posts. You can utilize their hashtag group feature that is super helpful in creating a better hashtag strategy. This article from PLANN will also help you understand the process.

You are here because you understand the power of social media marketing for your brand and these 4 things will help you reach more people if you take a little more time coddling your IG account. I know, I know…more time might be something you simply don’t have, but remember you can always hire a social media manager to help too. I might be a social media marketing brainiac who loves to share this knowledge, but the truth is even I plan on hiring a social media manager asap, sometimes it feels like full-time job! I’ll be digging into that next!

Good luck out there and until next time,

Be Seen. Get Noticed. Stand Out.


Lucid Linds Photography & Creative

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She has been crushing the game with engagement lately, she is growing faster than anyone else on my team right now. She's averaging tons comments on her posts and I've watched her followers double in two months!