Grow on Instagram by learning how Instagram Algorithm works. Understand analytical data. And create content in all formats. Explained in detail below.
19 December 2020
Read time: About 4 minutes & 22 seconds.
This article takes you through 3 main topics. Learning about each will help you learn more about Instagram and by extension, help you grow.
This is the second part from a series of article where I compile my learning from growing on social media. To read the first part, click on the link below.
How the Instagram algorithm works
The way I look at it, any social media platform's algorithm has one job. Keep the user on the platform for as long as it can. And, logically, a user (you, me or anyone) will be on a platform only if they find what they love.
When you like a post, besides bringing happiness to the content creator who made that post, you are voting. Each like trains your algorithm with what type of content you like.
And from the other side of the pipe, it takes your content to similar people who liked your content.
This is difficult when you are starting out since you have no followers. This is why leaving quality messages on other people's account can be very helpful.
How does your content reach people?
If your content is engaging, the algorithm amplifies your content's distribution. There are basically 4 ways your content gets distributed.
- Hashtag pages,
- If you use 30 hashtags, you have a chance to get featured in 30 pages. But,
- each hashtag should be 100% relevant to post.
- shares through DM,
- opens via notifications,
- revisits through saves, and
- visits from tags, which is when someone tags you in a comment, and you visit the post through notification.
Each post's insights will give you the numbers in these 4 categories.
How to interpret the analytics data
You get three verticals of insights.
- Account reached. If you want to grow, this metric should be your main focus.
- Content Interactions. If you want to have an engaged audience, this metric should be your focus.
- Followers. This metric is important, but shouldn't be your main focus. This tab does have "Most Active Times" chart which shows when your audience is active on Instagram.
I don't think I have much to say here. Moving to the main value of this article. All formats and details about them.
All formats of Instagram explained in a simple way.
Instagram has 5 types of content. Each with a different use case and different shelflife. These are their most common shelflife.
- Stories. -> 24 hours
- Posts. -> Max 3 days.
- IGTV. -> Max a week or so
- Reels. -> about a month
- Live. -> Zero. But you can share it as IGTV
Recently, Instagram has started two more content type. Both were available but limited to a few people.
- Shop, and
I have not created content either of these 2 formats, but below is a quick brief description.
Shop: Connected with the shop of your Facebook page, you can tag items on your photo from your shop. Making it easier to distribute.
Guide: A collection of your past posts, presented in a storytelling format.
Now, Let's see what the five types of content are.
the best way to gauge what your audience wants.
I have noticed that when my first story is engaging, I get a lot of views throughout. But when my first story is not engaging, my views are slashed into half.
TIPDon't post more than 10 stories at once. Make the first story very engaging.
TIPStories with a face is better than a simple text-based stories.
The real estate of a Story is vertical.
- Keep your face on the top half of the frame.
- Add subtitles on the lower margin. (Drag your text to the lower end of the screen to find the lower margin.)
Each post is like an invite for people to follow you. But most of the time, people don't follow because of your post.
People follow you because of your bio.
More about bio towards the end of this paragraph.
Use no more than 30 hashtags. Official Instagram support staff have told me to use less when possible.
Also, it's important that each post have relatable hashtags. For example, if your post is about cats, don't use #DogsAreCool.
How to write a perfect bio
Shouldn't be more than 4 lines.
- line 1: Your story. If it's a business account, it's basically what value you provide off Instagram. example: Startup Expert helping Students.
- line 2: Your promise. Think of your ideal followers, and write what this person will benefit if they follow you. example: Sharing my learning experience daily.
- line 3: Credibility. Why should people listen to you? Your example: Helped 293 Student at JoshSkill (that's a random number but you get the idea)
- line 4: Call to action. "Follow and Join us"
Credit: Dave Talas
How do you decide to follow people on Instagram?
Think of how you, and by extension, other people decide to follow on Instagram. It usually goes like this:
- Come across your content on Posts, IGTV or Reel.
- Think, that was funny/informative/entertaining. What else is this person into?
- Visit your profile and scan* through your bio.
- browse your older content.
- then consider following.
*Notice how I said scan and not read through your bio? This is because of what we do. We don't read all that's written in anyone's bio on the first read. We scan through it. Keep this in mind while writing your bio.
- limit words per line, and
- increase information per line. To do this,
- use keywords.
Kinda like a new kid on block. This is what I know, as of December 2020:
- Instagram is pushing this content A LOT.
- It's THE best way to grow on Instagram.
- Still open for experimentation.
Recommended going live atleast once a week.
Do it often, and create a habit. Make it about the followers, and not about you.
when you go live, all your followers get a notification.
when you invite someone on duet live, their's and your followers get a notification.
when you go live, invite and 6 people one after another, your followers get 7 notifications.
Going live with 5-7 guests will get a lot of people to your live-session.
Credits, and The End
This post was a quick rundown on how to use Instagram. Thanks to Nipun who gave the idea of converting the DM message into an article.
P.s. If you liked what you read here, and haven't read the first part, click here.