Every time Instagram changes its mysterious algorithm, nobody would blame you for feeling like the rug has just been pulled out from under you.
Instagram no longer publically announce changes on their blog and they’re particularly secretive about what has and hasn’t changed. It’s easy to become frustrated, especially when you feel that your content isn’t performing as well as it should be.
So naturally, we look to our peers for the best course of action, but you’ll quickly find that most advice is based on hearsay and speculation. Since Instagram has left us all in the dark, it’s probably best to take most advice with a grain of salt.
I think we can all agree on this: We’d all love to know exactly what the Instagram algorithm favours so we can just give it what it’s looking for.
But that’s the problem. That’s why Instagram are so secretive about it. They don’t want you know how the algorithm works.
Like Google’s algorithm, its main objective is to promote content that performs well organically. If we were all ‘gaming’ the algorithm because we knew exactly what it favoured, how would the algorithm know what content was organically performing well?
It wouldn’t. Everything would seem like fantastic content and it would defeat the point of having an algorithm at all. You’d be seeing mediocre, unoriginal content because Instagram was effectively tricked into thinking it was otherwise.
Instagram’s best defence against this paradox is to keep us in the dark. But how are you supposed to play the game, if you don’t even know how to win?
It’s sort of counter-intuitive – to beat the algorithm, the best thing to do is to forget that it exists. Stop spending countless hours pondering about its mechanics. Forget about trying to post ‘what Instagram wants’ and start posting what your followers want. They’re the people you should be trying to please here.
What do they want? If you figure that out, you might just unlock the key to masses of engagement and guess what else? The favour of the Instagram algorithm.
Your aim on Instagram is to post content that’s unique, so that it organically attracts engagement from your following. After all, that is and always will be the aim of Instagram’s algorithm – to promote great, unique content, as endorsed by Instagram’s users.
If you manage to do that, you’ll never have to worry about the inevitable future Instagram algorithm updates. You’ll never have to freak out because the rulebook has been thrown out again, leaving you to relearn the new one.
Instagram will always be striving to highlight the best, most unique content, so why not be striving to post it?