While Instagram doesn't disclose the inner-workings of it's algorithm, except maybe to the Dalai Lama, Pope, or other world leaders (who likely aren't even on Instagram), it's not hard to crack the code when you use Instagram as much as I do.
Now I am not saying I have all of the Instagram answers, but I can definitely help point you in the right direction when it comes to getting the Instagram algorithm to work for you instead of against you.
WHAT IS THE INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM?
The Instagram algorithm is essentially what determines the engagement and visibility of your Instagram posts. It is the deciding factor when it comes to which and how many Instagram accounts (of followers and non-followers) your posts will be shown to. So as you can see, it is kind of a big deal when you're trying to grow/monetize your Instagram account and connect with your audience.
HOW DOES THE INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM WORK?
The algorithm collects the engagement patterns and behaviors of your posts shortly after they are posted to determine how many other accounts your current post and future posts will be shown to. It not only accounts for the number of accounts to show your post to (typically your current followers), but also the types of accounts who are most likely to engage with your posts (these are typically non-followers).
TYPES OF INSTAGRAM ENGAGEMENT
Likes - Likes are easy to get, but the least valued type of Instagram engagement according to the Instagram algorithm. While likes can definitely help the visibility of your most recent post, there is little guarantee of those likers seeing your posts again in the future.
Time Spent - Instagram takes into consideration the amount of time your audience spends admiring your beautiful photos and reading your captivating captions. So even if they don't engage with your post in any other way (bonus points if they do though), Instagram is still likely to show them your posts again in the future based off this behavior.
Comments - The Instagram algorithm LOVES comments. While, they are not as easy to get as likes, comments make all the difference on your current posts visibility and reach and determine who's feed your future posts will end up in. You should always strive to get comments on your posts.
DM's - Direct messages are the most valued engagement according to the Instagram algorithm. If your followers like you enough to send you a message and have a full blown conversation with you, this tells Instagram that they should nurture that relationship by continuously showing that specific follower your Instagram posts.
TYPES OF INSTAGRAM MEDIA
Photos - Photos are what this visual social media platform is based around, and having good quality photos is important for getting the engagement that you need to show the algorithm that what you post matters to your audience and other Instagrammers out there.
Videos - Instagram has evolved to support 60 second videos on the Instagram feed. These are captivating to your audience since they are a nice change from the stagnant photos they are used to seeing. While videos are known to get less likes than most photos, they almost always get more views and comments, which contributes to the "time spent" and "comment" engagement factors in the Instagram algorithm.
Stories - You have followers who like to hang out in their Instagram feed and scroll through pictures, you have followers who like to hang out and swipe through their Instagram stories, and if you're lucky you have followers who do both! Instagram stories should always be entertaining so that your followers spend time looking at them instead of swiping right past them to increase the "time spent" engagement. Tip: Have a call to action that gets your followers to send you a direct message and start a conversation.
A FINAL WORD ON THE INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM
The Instagram algorithm has been put in place by Instagram to protect the user experience of an average Instagrammer. They do this so that Instagram doesn't become a dreaded platform full of spam and advertising, and continues to stay a social and visually pleasing platform.
As the saying goes "If you can't beat them, join them" and that is exactly what us Instagram Entrepreneurs need to do. We need to embrace the algorithm and come up with ways to keep our followers feeling a genuine social connection rather than spraying them with the spam hose.
There are plenty of ways to help increase organic engagement and visibility with your followers and future followers by using tips and methods like the ones I teach in my Instagram Secrets for Network Marketing course. All it takes is a few minor posting tweaks and a caption writing learning curve to get the algorithm working in your favor.
Best of luck Instagram Entrepreneurs!