What makes the Instagram algorithm happy?
Now that’s a loaded question… because she’s not like other girls.
You know the type. She’s complicated, moody, and unpredictable. But if she likes you, well, she can be amazing.
So, what’s the secret to staying on her good side?
Well, she likes fine wine, French restaurants, motorcycle rides… okay I’m kidding. I don’t know if she likes motorcycle rides.
But I do know what the Instagram algorithm prioritizes when it comes to content, captions, and engagement.
If you want to make her happy, post things that make prompt your audience to:
Post something alluring. If you’re hoping to stop their scroll, you’ll need to stand out from the crowd. (Pssst: here’s a ____). [content roadmap link here?]
…Swipe through all of your images
When posting a carousel, ask yourself one thing: why should they care? Ensure that your followers will want to click through all of your images with a compelling cover photo, and clear, helpful information on each slide.
…Expand and read your caption
An attention-grabbing first line is a must. Think about what makes you click ‘read more’ while you’re scrolling through Instagram. What’s going to make them want to hear what you have to say?
…Leave you a comment
Your caption should be something that your audience feels compelled to respond to, whether they’re commenting a simple ‘great post’! or a longer, more thoughtful answer / question.
…Send you a DM
Are you portraying yourself as approachable and available? No one will think to send you a message if they’re getting the impression that you don’t want them. Make sure you’re being friendly, inclusive, and — most importantly — yourself!
…Tap over to view your profile
Remember what I said about posting something alluring? This not only stops your followers from scrolling past you, but also may prompt them to view your profile. Consistent content, branding, and tone is key.
…Save your post
This can even be your call to action! Don’t be shy in asking your followers to click ‘save.’ If you’re posting valuable content that serves your audience, they’re going to be much more likely to tap that save button so they can come back to your post later.
…Share your post
Is your post shareable? Before uploading your next Instagram pic, think about whether or not your audience may deem it worthy of sharing on their story. You could write the best, most informative caption, but the picture could flop. Make sure you’re paying attention to both pieces of the puzzle when posting content that you’re hoping will be shared!
SO, that being said, If you can get your audience to do allllll that engaging, the algorithm will be a happy gal!
But if you’re still not sure how to make it happen, don’t worry. I have some more hints for you.
First, put your research hat on, and get to work!
Go through your previous posts and explore the analytics. Which types of content seemed to perform better than others?
Take note of the posts that had a higher-than-average number of likes, comments, shares, and saves.
Experiment with replicating some of that content.
What were those rockstar posts about?
If your audience favored your helpful tips over your aesthetically pleasing morning routine, then maybe it’s time to ditch the coffee cup filler posts and focus on the content that your followers want to see.
For the purpose of this little experiment, let’s say your audience responds well to those helpful tips. And let’s take a little journey through the mind of your ideal client as she’s scrolling on Instagram. I feel like we should call her Phoebe.
Phoebe’s having a slow Monday morning at work, so she decides to take out her phone and see what’s happening over on the ‘gram. She glides past selfies, weekend recaps, and birthday posts while passively tossing a few people some likes, but overall remaining pretty underwhelmed with the content she’s seeing.
Then, she comes across a beautiful, clean graphic with colors she recognizes.
Huh, this must be that Instagram tip account I followed a few days ago. I remember liking the vibe of her feed.
Intrigued, Phoebe taps over to view your profile.
Yep, that’s the one! What a pretty feed. I’d love to implement something like this on my own account. Wait, didn’t she just post about that? I feel like I saw it just the other day…
Phoebe scrolls through your posts to find the helpful tip you posted last week about how to create a cohesive Instagram feed.
Ah, yes! That’s the post I was thinking of. These are some great tips. I should save these for later!
She clicks ‘save’ and is about to start scrolling again, but stops once she realizes she hasn’t read your entire caption. She clicks ‘read more,’ and notices the call to action in the last line of your caption, prompting her to comment what her favorite tip was.
Hmm, my favorite tip? How can I decide?! I think I’m going to say that my favorite tip was keeping branding colors consistent, because that’s what drew me back to her account in the first place.
She clicks ‘post,’ and then decides to share the photo with her followers.
I have some friends that definitely could benefit from this one. Plus, the graphic will look nice on my story. I better tag her so she knows I shared it.
Because she’s tagged you in the post, you’re able to see her share and respond to thank her! Now you’re DMing like you’re besties. What a successful Monday morning for both you and your new friend (and engaged follower) miss Phoebe!
Of course, this is the ideal situation. Not every follower is going to be as engaged as our lovely Phoebe.
However, by posting an enticing photo, creating a compelling caption with great first line and a call to action at the end, and — most importantly — offering something of value to your audience, you’re sure to fast-track your way to a loyal, interested audience.