The Basics of the Instagram Algorithm

The Basics of the Instagram Algorithm | Asterisk Creative | Social Media AgencyWith all of the social media outlets around, it seems like it could be a full-time job just keeping up with the best practices and algorithm changes for ONE outlet, much less all of them. So we’ve put together a few notes on the Instagram algorithm for you here.

The first thing to note is that Instagram just went through a massive overhaul to remove fake accounts and all of their likes and comments. This isn’t the first time they’ve done this. Our money is on the fact that it won’t be the last. When this happens, many accounts see their follower numbers drop, sometimes dramatically. It all depends on how many followers the account had that were deemed fake. While it may take your breath away to see the drop in followers, don’t worry. This is actually a good thing. Fake accounts don’t typically engage with your posts, so losing them benefits your account in the long run.

Another reason losing fake followers isn’t a bad thing is that the algorithm starts with showing your post to roughly 10% of your followers. As the post gets engagement, the algorithm shows it to more people. If fake followers are counted in that original 10%, you’re really missing out.

Additionally, the algorithm factors in not just engagement, but how quickly that engagement is received after the post goes up and how long users view your post. For this, it’s important that you’re using a business account and taking advantage of the analytics and data this provides. With a few simple clicks or taps – depending on whether you’re on your computer or phone – you can see which posts garnered the most engagement, what time(s) your audience is online and more likely to engage with your content, which types of posts your audience responded to most, and more. As you keep an eye on these insights, patterns will start to emerge. You’ll be able to create more engagement-garnering content. This will make Instagram an increasingly more viable outlet for your business.

One more thing to note about the algorithm: It can deem your account unresponsive. If that happens, you’ll be lucky if your posts get shown even to that 10% of your followers! The way to avoid this is to respond or reply to all comments and direct messages ASAP. (The rumor mill says that your account can be punished as soon as an hour after the comment goes up on your post or the DM is sent. This is unsubstantiated, though.)

We know all this sounds daunting. It’s a lot of any business owner to keep up with…and this is just one outlet! We have a team that knows social media inside and out. And they’re ready to tackle your account. Give Asterisk Creative a call today!

Instagram Cracking Down on Fake Followers

Instagram for Business | Asterisk Creative | Southeast's Premier Social Media AgencyEarlier, Instagram announced that it would be cracking down on fake comments, likes and followers, an attempt to clean up a way users have been gaming their algorithm.

As many know, Instagram’s algorithm uses a combination of the number of followers an account has plus the engagement that account gets via likes and comments on their posts to determine who actually sees the posts. As a result, an entire industry grew around building apps to “work the system”. A user would purchase a service from a third party that would provide followers, likes, and comments on that user’s posts. Thus, this user would appear to the algorithm to be “successful” and more actual followers would be shown the posts.

But Instagram says it has implemented moderation tools that will help target which accounts use these services. Those fake followers, comments, and likes will be automatically removed. Those accounts identified as using these third-party services to boost their popularity will be notified within Instagram that the purchased likes, comments, and followers have been removed. Those users will also be prompted to change their password as a security measure in case the service compromised their account security.

At Asterisk Creative, we’ve never been a fan of the practice of purchasing followers on any outlet. If you want to build your following the right way, give us a shout!