Jan 01, 2024
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8 Smart Ways to Hack the Instagram Algorithm

Avoiding dubious tactics like engagement pods or pay-per-like schemes is essential when mastering Instagram's algorithms.

Understanding how Instagram's algorithm works and keeping abreast of the most effective, algorithm-friendly methods for optimizing your content can give you a significant edge.

Instagram's algorithms are designed to surface content that users are likely to engage with. Therefore, the most effective strategy for 'gaming' the system is to feed it exactly what it needs to perform its function efficiently.

With that in mind, here are 8 strategies you can implement right now to gain an edge over your competition, all thanks to understanding the Instagram algorithm.

1. Maintain Consistency in Your Niche

These algorithms are constantly learning from your activity and that of other users. Every post, hashtag, and interaction you have with the platform provides the algorithm with clues about the nature of your profile. The more you input, the more you get out of it.

Staying consistent in your niche is a surefire way to keep educating the algorithm about your content.

The easier it is for the algorithm to "categorize" your profile and content, the more likely it is that your posts will be shown to users who have expressed interest in your niche.

Once the algorithm identifies your target audience, your account is more likely to be featured to relevant users on suggested profiles, Reels, and the Explore Page.

2. Post When Your Audience Is Most Active

person holding black phone This is a time-tested strategy.

To maximize your performance with Instagram's algorithm, consistently post when your followers are most active.

This approach leads to higher engagement rates—likes, comments, and shares—as your audience is more attentive, not preoccupied with work or school.

Organic engagement is a critical metric for the algorithm. The quicker and more attention your post garners, the more likely it is to be shown to additional users.

However, pinpointing the exact times your audience is most active can be challenging without the appropriate analytical tools, as this varies from profile to profile.

3. Boost Engagement with Strong Calls-to-Action in Your Captions

white Android smartphone near green plant A crucial tactic in leveraging the Instagram algorithm is to maximize engagements. Instagram prioritizes reshares, comments, likes, and video views when ranking content in the feed.

How can you inspire more engagement? Include compelling and clear calls-to-action in your captions!

Consider prompting your community with a thought-provoking or controversial question, or invite them to tag friends in the comments to participate in a giveaway or challenge.

4. Optimize Your Posts for Instagram SEO

Instagram's algorithm actively "learns" from your posts to categorize them and present them to the right audience. This categorization heavily relies on hashtags, especially in the early stages of your account.

However, with Instagram allowing "search by keyword" in many countries, the algorithm is also interpreting visual content and captions.

To enhance your content for Instagram SEO, consider these tips:

  • Craft detailed captions with relevant, frequently searched keywords.
  • Add alt text to your Instagram posts manually. During the posting process, go to "Advanced Settings" and select "Write alt text." If you don't, Instagram will use image recognition software to generate a description, which may not be as accurate or detailed.
  • Use up to 20 pertinent hashtags in your post caption or initial comment.

5. Revamp Your Hashtag Strategy

red and white polka dot car toy Despite changes in Instagram's search features, hashtags remain crucial for categorizing your content.

To refine your hashtag strategy, follow these four tips:

  • Ensure your hashtags are relevant to the content, targeting the right audience, your niche/industry, geolocation, or specific to your brand.
  • Draw inspiration from trending posts in your niche. Discover these through your Instagram Search Page and note the frequently used hashtags.
  • Opt for hashtags with a moderate volume of posts, ideally between 10K and 250K, to increase the visibility of your posts.
  • Steer clear of banned hashtags. Some seemingly harmless hashtags can be on the banned list, so it's important to research each hashtag thoroughly before using it.

6. Leverage the Latest Instagram Features

A powerful strategy to master the Instagram algorithm is to quickly adopt the platform's latest features. Instagram often gives additional visibility to new features to encourage usage, and being an early adopter can be a substantial advantage for businesses or creators.

For example, Instagram has been favoring Reels in users' feeds for some time, with early adopters experiencing significant benefits.

7. Post Daily Stories with Interactive Stickers

assorted-color-and-type glass stickers Interaction is key, and Instagram Stories stickers are an easy and effective way to increase engagement.

Polls, emojis, and question stickers are engaging and easy to use, offering a straightforward way to boost public interactions.

Quiz stickers, in particular, are excellent for encouraging DM conversations, signaling deeper, more personal engagement to the Instagram algorithm.

Instagram Stories, with their ephemeral nature, tend to be more personal. Use this to your advantage by directly asking your audience for their opinions.

This can be achieved through polls or by encouraging them to respond via DM. Remember, there's no need for dubious tactics like engagement pods or pay-per-like schemes.

8. Post Original Content on Reels (Without TikTok Watermarks)

As mentioned earlier, Instagram Reels are currently a significant avenue for growth. However, there's a catch.

Instagram has confirmed that the Reels algorithm will favor content without TikTok watermarks over those that have them. The platform also prefers high-quality content over low-resolution or blurry posts.

The most effective method is to create original, high-quality content using the Reels editor.

Final Thoughts

These are some strategies to enhance your standing with the Instagram algorithm.

While these tips provide a solid foundation, the most effective way to align with the algorithm is to always prioritize your followers in your content strategy.

Fostering genuine relationships with your audience is the ultimate method to 'outsmart' the algorithm and consistently achieve remarkable outcomes for your brand.

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