The Instagram Algorithms have Changed
Instagram has changed. In 2023, posting a nice picture, adding a few hashtags and hoping for the best just isn't going to cut it anymore. If you *really* want to grow on Instagram in 2023, you're going to have to do a lot more than that. But don't worry just yet, over the past 4 years I have grown several accounts from 0 to 10,000, 50,000 and even 100,000+ followers, and today, I'm sharing my top 7 tips to grow on Instagram this year, with you!
1. Optimise your captions
These days, Instagram doesn't just rely on hashtags to understand what a post is about. When you optimise your caption, Instagram will be able to take information from it, and show you to more people who like the kinda stuff you do. Ultimately resulting in more reach. Optimising your caption can also help with readability, ensuring more people read it until the end (which by the way, also helps the algorithm to know that your post is valuable and will show you to even more people!
To optimise your captions, you want to make sure that you include keywords. Keywords are just words that match with and make sense with your niche. For example, if I was posting to my account - I'd make sure to put works like 'instagram', 'growth' and 'marketing' in the caption. If the post was about optimising your captions, I'd also include works like 'optimise' and 'captions'. Keywords help to rank you with Instagram's SEO. Instagram now looks at your captions, the same way it used to look at hashtags. To help understand you, and show you to the right people.
Beyond this, for readability, make sure your captions aren't too long (people want to know information about the post, but they don't want to have to read an essay!), break up different points with new paragraphs, and include relevant emojis.
2. Use curiosity-building hooks
Whether it's on a reel, or a carousel - you need to be using curiosity hooks! Wether that be on the first slide of your carousel post, the first 2-5 seconds of your reel, or the first line of your caption! A hook is a short sentence or phrase used at the beginning or your content, in order to capture attention and keep people scrolling, watching or reading until the end!
Top tip: tease your audience with a hook the promises to solve a problem, or reveal a secret - and keep them engaged by not revealing the answer or secret until the very end!
3. Think about text and colour
Instagram has AI text-recognition build into its software. This means that beyond your captions and hashtags, what you write within your visuals can also be detected! With this in mind, it's super important that you allow these systems to be able to read it easily. There are two occasions where Instagram may not recognise what the text in your image or carousel say, which makes your post less easy to rank highly! These are: font, and colour.
For your font, make sure it's easy to read. Avoid handwritten cursive fonts, or any fonts that are overly-perculiar and not straight forward. Even if you can read them as a human, it doesn't mean the software will find it as easy!
Ensure that your text is also highly contrasted against your background for the same purpose. This is equally as important for the algorithms, as it is for real human viewers. If it's hard to read, people will scroll to the next post.
4. Changing clips
To keep people alert and entertained during your video content, consider changing the clip on screen every 3-6 seconds! This could be an angle change, a slightly zoomed in frame, some stock footage, or an outfit or location change! In a world where humans have a shorter memory span than a goldfish, we need to keep people interested.In your videos, change clips every three to four seconds. This maintains viewer engagement and helps control your tone of voice. Instagram users are accustomed to short, engaging clips, so adapt your content accordingly.
5. Use new features
It's been speculated, that when Instagram comes out with anew features, it likes to promote them by throwing a little more reach in the way of creators who are using them. Which makes total sense. What better way to spread the news that there's a new way to use Instagram, than to show people using it! Keep an eye out for new features on the app, stay vigilant, and be one of the first to use them!
6. Optimise for Instagram SEO
Last year, Instagram implemented key word search to its platform, likely in the wake of TikTok's use of this tool, and as a way to get Instagram being used as more of a search engine, rather than just a social media platform alone.
And with the introduction of search terms, came the emphasis of importance on Instagram SEO (Search Term Optimisation).The easiest way to explain Instagram SEO, is that you need to include key works and terms that your ideal audience may be searching for everywhere! I'm talking, in as many slides of your carousels as you can, throughout the text and speech in your reels, in your captions, hashtags, bio, bio name, alt text. If there's a place where you can type, you better bet there should be key words there!
Remember: the aim of the game with Instatgram, is to train the algorithm. It needs to know: who you are, what you do, and who you do it for. Once these three things are absolutely blindingly clear to the algorithm, then it will be able to push your content out to more of those people.
Instagram is alway changing, and staying up-to-date with trends, algorithm changes and strategies that actually work, is essential. These 6 algorithm secrets should help you with your growth and reach on Instagram, but always be ready to adapt your strategies when new changes are made.