If your Instagram engagement is at an all-time low, you are not alone. A study claims that engagement across Instagram is down and has been sharply declining since May 2019. When using Instagram to promote your business, it’s important that your posts are reaching your ideal audience, so read on for a few helpful strategies to combat Instagram’s new algorithm and make sure your posts are seen.

Why Does the Instagram Algorithm Change?

Remember when you would open up the Instagram app and see photos shared in chronological order? Well, that simpler time is long gone. Instagram is constantly evolving and testing out new features to improve user experience. The new algorithm is designed to show you posts that you actually want to see. It prioritizes content based on your engagement, interests and relationships.

How Do These New Algorithm Changes Impact Your Posts?

Many users, especially brands, businesses and influencers, are concerned about the decline of organic reach—and for good reason! According to a study by TrustInsights, engagement is down by 18% for brands and 44% for influencers since earlier this year.

With Instagram’s new algorithm, the immediate engagement after content is published is critical. If the post isn’t receiving engagement from the initial audience, Instagram views this as a sign that people are not interested and thus stops showing it to other users. This leads to fewer likes, lower reach and ultimately the post gets lost in the shuffle.

On the other hand, if people see your post and like, comment, save, etc., it signals to Instagram that this content is valuable and it will be shared with an even greater number of users. That’s why it’s so important to know the best time to post on social media based on when your audience is most likely to engage. Ultimately, the new Instagram algorithm rewards quality content and hides posts that your audience isn’t interested in.

As this article from Digital Information World mentions, the recent introduction of ads on the “Explore” page could also be affecting engagement. These sponsored posts make it even harder for organic content to be seen causing engagement rates to decline.

What Can You Do to Make Sure Your Posts Get Seen?

There are a number of factors that determine if your content is seen or not. The best way to discover what works best for your Instagram account is to experiment—try new strategies, analyze the results and implement what worked.  

Use quality storytelling. It’s no secret that we are all about storytelling here at The Storyteller Agency. Your followers are real people and real people like to hear stories. Your caption should be entertaining, inspirational and/or educational. Make sure it is relevant, timely and adds value. Instagram is a very saturated space, so sharing your story by creating quality content is imperative if you want to stand out and connect with your audience.

Focus on building a community by engaging with others and creating relationships. The new Instagram algorithm prioritizes relationships. What you see first in your feed is determined by previous interactions such as likes, comments, and messages. These actions and their frequency signal a relationship, so if you want your posts to be seen (which we all do!), focus on cultivating an engaged community within the app.

Be active on Instagram Stories. Instagram rewards accounts that are active on the app and take advantage of the various features, such as Instagram Stories. Stories are powerful tools for reaching audiences. They allow users to share relevant, accessible content and further connect with their followers. Make the most of this feature by keeping these tips and tricks for Instagram stories in mind.

Add videos to your Instagram feed and stories. According to a recent study by Quintly, video gets 21% more interaction than images. And as we discussed earlier, greater engagement tells Instagram that users like this content, thus showing it to more people. Win, win!

Take advantage of Instagram Insights. Business accounts have access to Instagram Insights, which compiles information about your content and audience. Look at which posts receive the most engagement and analyze what they have in common. Do they all have people in them? Are they inspirational quotes? Determine the kind of content your audience engages with the most and produce more of it.

Plan out your content in advance. Social media may seem spontaneous and “in the moment,” but thought and planning are essential when it comes to a successful Instagram post. Will your followers find it valuable? Is it something they will engage with? Use apps such as Hootsuite, Plann, or Preview to schedule your content and ensure that what you’re publishing takes the insights mentioned above into account.

Include CTAs (call to actions) in your captions. The easiest way to get your audience to engage with your content is by encouraging them to do so! Use your caption to ask them a question or encourage them to take action (like, share, visit your website, etc.). Doing this in a natural way can greatly impact your engagement and, ultimately, your reach.

Add hashtags to your post. Using hashtags related to your industry, niche, location and holidays will also help improve the reach of your post. We wrote an entire blog post about how to use hashtags so check it out to learn more about why and where to use them.

Tag your location. This increases the chance that your post will be discovered when people search “Places” on Instagram. Geotags are especially important if you’re trying to reach a local or area-specific audience. Not only will this strategy increase your reach, it’s also ensuring that you reach the right people.

As you can see, there isn’t one secret strategy to unlocking Instagram success. Instagram’s new algorithm will continue to change, but one thing will always remain the same: people love a good story! If you need help telling your story and reaching your ideal audience on Instagram, click here to contact us, The Storyteller Agency. Through quality content and social media engagement, we’ll make sure people are seeing your posts.