The Instagram news channels have been in a frenzy recently, releasing new algorithm updates each day! And while they’ve made some very slight adjustments here and there, they are nothing like the changes that took place just last year.
So how do we know what’s true and what’s not?
It’s very hard without exact details of any upcoming changes, but this is why in this blog, we’re looking at seven of the biggest Instagram algorithm “myths” that surround the platform and showing you proof as to whether they are true or false, and share with you the 3 best practices that you can implement right now to improve your Instagram results.
The algorithm only shows your post to 9-12% of your followers unless you pay to boost it.
So you decided to boost a post on Facebook – now what?
Sure you got thousands of views, but did it deliver you your desired engagement result?
We are not saying boosted posts are worthless or a waste of money. On the contrary, boosted posts are an effective way to drive more traffic and make your content discoverable.
However, boosting your posts is not a magic wand to eliminate your poor engagement and conversion results. Below are our reasons why we don’t advise using this feature:
- Restricted objective/goal alternative
- Ad placement is also bad.
- It is not possible to target various mobile devices or operating systems.
- There is no Audience Network and no Desktop right-hand column.
- Not cost-wise especially for small businesses. With a higher cost, there is no way to lower the cost of your ad: no limiting interest targeting or tweaking your ad graphic.
- The editing function sucks. If you wish to change the text of your boosted post, You must first remove it and begin afresh.
Instead of paying to boost posts, here’s what you can do:
- Engagement is the key: While it’s true that Instagram suppresses your post to 9-12% of your followers, the algorithm however rewards it with discoverability by pushing it to more audiences for more views, the more engagement your content gets.
- Make quality content that brings value to your customers/target audience: Content is king! Your social media presence is your home base. You need to stand out. If you don’t make quality content, it’ll be difficult for you to get people to come back – or share your content with others. The best way to stand out is by creating quality content that truly adds value for your customers.
- Metric Analysis: Do you even get bothered with checking what your analytics tell you? Metrics should be used to determine what kind of content and how much of that content is performing best for the audience, so tweak your content strategy from time to time based on your daily, weekly, and monthly social media insights.
Respond to your comments after you’ve published your next post.
The only thing to keep in mind here is that you are engaging with humans! And not bots or anything. Keeping them waiting for a day or two (might be even weeks for some) before you reply to them is affecting your business more negatively than you could ever imagine!
Comments are a form of engagement and trigger algorithm signaling that it resonates with your audience and thus a great opportunity for you to get more views from more people. If you don’t respond to those comments left on your posts, you are missing an opportunity to double the engagement rate of every single one of your posts!
Using an Instagram Business Account does more harm than good
This is by far the most absurd myth we have ever heard! Not sure where this came from, but let’s tackle it anyway.
Using a business page on Instagram is in fact can be the best decision you’ll ever make in your entire entrepreneurship journey.
Instagram is a visual-based social network that allows businesses and brands to build an audience around the content through which you connect with the audiences. The best part of the Instagram Business page is that it helps to drive brand awareness, boost sales, and build and track audience engagement among your engaged followers who might become potential customers.
It allows companies to interact with their audience in a two-way conversation. It’s an excellent place for product announcements, customer outreach, and feedback gathering. Business pages also provide a platform for brand awareness building by allowing companies to appear in sponsored posts, deals, ads, and more. They offer exclusive content that cannot be accessed anywhere else on the platform.
Use 3-5 hashtags only!
Now, now! We know where this is coming from!
According to a recent post from Instagram’s @creators account, users should use between 3-5 hashtags. It almost shocked us too!
While it’s true that using all 30 allowable hashtags per post makes the business untrustworthy, we believe that it’s probably the platform’s way to eliminate spammy posts and comments using too many hashtags.
As Later.App research and statistics show how the number of hashtags impacts reach (after analyzing over 18M Instagram feed posts), they found that using more hashtags typically yields the best results.
As you can see, while posts with 20 hashtags receive the highest average reach rate, those with 30 hashtags are close behind.
So we stick to using 20+ hashtags. We do however discourage including unrelated hashtags just so you could maximize it and use 30 allotted hashtags. Use only those that you believe add to your post performance.
Your posts get the same views as the story.
We can’t find any correlation between story views and the original post, so the answer is definitely “No”. Your post will not get the same number of views as a story on your Instagram business page. What stories can instead do, however, is help boost your post to people who will view your stories hoping they would click on your post to view it.
If you are currently using Instagram posts for your marketing strategy, you will want to make the change to Instagram stories. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to approach this process. Here is everything you need to know about the shift, including why you should make the switch in the first place!
- Share your post on your stories right after publishing it to encourage people (especially your followers) to engage with you.
- Engage with your followers and prospects on their stories by reacting or sending emojis and DMs relating to their message.
- Address different topics and issues such as FAQ, pain points, etc, from different angles.
- Make use of story features such as stickers to encourage engagement. Polls, Q & A, rating, and reaction stickers are counted as an engagement by the Algorithm and will push your stories to more audiences the more engagement your story gets within 24 hours.
Your post will have fewer views and possibly get shadowbanned if you put your hashtags in the comments.
Hashtags have always been the heart of the debate on Instagram since its launch and considering the consistent changes in the platform’s algorithm from time to time, it never fades from the limelight.
So… Do Hashtags Still Work on Instagram in 2022?
Hashtags have become a routine part of the lives of Instagrammers, they are often added for good measure. But do hashtags really help your Instagram efforts depending on where you’re putting them?
Should You Use Hashtags on Instagram in the Caption or Comment Section?
You might also find yourself wondering if you should share hashtags in your post caption or the comments section.
Well, here’s the good news for everyone!
Instagram has announced confirming that hashtags are indeed still effective whether you put them in your post caption or in the comments section – so it’s completely up to you where you want to share them.
It is worth considering recency and relativeness though. If you’re manually publishing your posts and you prefer writing your hashtags in the comments section, this can cause impact your post negatively. The algorithm distributes your post immediately upon publishing it on the platform, so you’ll want to do this as soon as your post goes live. This is the same reason why we advise using an automatic scheduler tool like Later, Preview, Hootsuite, etc. Otherwise, writing your hashtags in your post caption is a better option.
If you edit your caption after publishing it, you will be penalised and will get a low reach rate.
“You can’t edit your post caption, or the algorithm will reset your engagement and reach zero!”
We hear ya, mate! You might have heard this dumb advice from others, too.
Now we’re off to determine yet another claim whether or not it is FACT or just another CAP.
But here’s the thing. Why would Instagram give you an option to edit the caption if they’re going to penalize you for using the feature in the end?
We were also confused and surprised at the same time when we first heard this, so we tested it out multiple times to figure out the truth behind it, so the answer is no, it doesn’t affect your post metrics!
But guess what? Did you know some experts and business pages don’t bother to fix their captions even if they notice a misspelling or a grammatical error? Since it can potentially spike engagement as it draws attention from grammar nazis.
When you see one, you know it’s this strategy!
So… which of these Instagram algorithm myths had you fooled? Do you have any others that need to be investigated?
There are many myths and misconceptions about what Instagram’s algorithm is, and what can be done to get your posts seen by more people. While today we’ve debunked a few of these myths, there are more that need to come under the scrutiny of our investigation.
So if you come across confusing, fishy, or absurd memes and posts you’ve found floating around that aren’t true, reach out to us on Instagram, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and the investigation will continue!