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Insight & Analysis - September 27, 2021

Why You Can’t Gain Grounds on Instagram

How leverage the Instagram algorithm

Instagram is a visual medium, and it makes total sense why a lot of brands turn to it to showcase their product or service. It doesn’t take much to launch an Instagram account. However, getting your desired result is the tough part.

Like Ted Forbes rightly points out, it has a lot to do with the Instagram algorithm. An algorithm is a set of computer instructions that automate several tasks. Instagram has leveraged this to be able to serve relevant content to users on their platform. 

When Instagram launched in 2010, it was simply a long serial display of photos. But as the platform grew, there was the need to ensure that people weren’t simply being fed the same content. To meet our individual interests, an Instagram algorithm was developed in 2018.

Contrary to wide misconception, the Instagram algorithm doesn’t have a bias. It’s not designed to favour a certain group of people, rather it’s simply finding the most relevant content and feeding it to people. This is not to ignore that Instagram makes a lot of money from advertising, and wants you to pay for that kind of visibility. But it also doesn’t mean you can’t gain prominence organically.

If you can prove that your product or service is relevant to your niche, the Instagram algorithm will increase your visibility. Some people might suggest you can crack the Instagram algorithm, but that will be a waste of precious time, because like Forbes puts it, you’ll find staff at Instagram that don’t know how the Instagram algorithm works. 

When you make an Instagram post, it goes through the vetting of the platform. They’ve put measures in place to decide if your content is something that can evoke strong interest from people. With this in mind, you’re not only creating content for people on Instagram, your creating content that the entire platform will consider valuable and worthy of visibility.

The truth is, Instagram has become saturated, and the platform is making sure that the best contents take priority

How to Attain Relevance on Instagram.

Give Your Instagram Posts Context 

Imagine saying the punchline to a joke with no context. It’ll mean nothing to the listener. You need to find the right context that makes your post engaging. Use that in telling an exciting story. Don’t just use Instagram as a photo gallery. It is a virtual space where you need to actively socialise to reap the benefits. When you post the picture of the handcrafted bag, for instance, you can follow that post with the process it took to produce that handbag. A lot of time,  people don’t just care about a beautiful picture they want to know the story behind it. Telling a story will provide deep insights on what’s unique about your brand.

Consider Different Ways to Post

Gaining relevance goes beyond the regular posts. Take advantage of the different posting options such as Instagram TV (IGTV), Instagram Stories and Reels. This does not only legitimise the value you’re offering to your potential audience, but it also increases your goodwill with Instagram. Consider IGTV for videos longer than 60 seconds. Use Instagram stories when you have a series of pictures or videos that tell the same story. Reels is Instagram’s answer to Tiktok or YouTube Shorts. It’s great for very short video posts.

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