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Deciphering the Instagram Algorithm as a Micro-influencer
To be seen, you must keep up.
23 May, 2021

Just like the rest of the world, Instagram is constantly changing – reels, live rooms, remix, story drafts – there’s a new feature every day. To be seen, you must keep up. Gone are the days when an aesthetic picture of your Starbucks caramel latte would get 100+ likes. Users are now more concerned about what value your content can add to their life, rather than content that updates them about yours.

So how exactly do you create content that is seen? Step one is identifying your niche. Who are you and who is your ideal audience? This is the most integral part of building your page. If you don’t establish a baseline, you are not giving your audience a concrete reason to follow you. Always niche down. You can’t be a fashion, travel and food blog all rolled into one. You’re dividing your own follower base by having three different groups of people follow you, none of whom will engage with all of your content. Pick one thing and stick to it. 

Next, work towards understanding why your audience follows you and what their expectations are of your content. Always remember, you’re creating content for them, not yourself. Finding out what your audience wants is as simple as asking them. Put a question sticker on your story, conduct polls, host a live Q and A session – people love to know that their voices are being heard and taken into account. 

Instagram also rewards brands and creators that make use of their newest features and those who post consistently. If you’re going to bother with having a presence, you need to commit to posting regularly to your account. Having an Instagram account with nothing on it, or with no posts for weeks or months, is worse than having no account at all. There’s no golden rule for how many posts you need to be putting up a day, it solely depends on how much you have to say to your audience. While consistency is key, it is detrimental to prioritize quantity over quality. It’s better to have five great posts on your feed rather than ten average ones.

Stop chasing growth and harbour engagement instead – growth will follow. The algorithm assumes that people who’ve interacted with your account in the past will be interested in your new content. So when it decides whether to show a post to one of your followers, it evaluates the relationship between the two accounts – do they follow each other, did they search for you by name, do you message each other, do you leave comments and do they save and share your posts. Going by these factors, you have to have an audience who is loyally and consistently engaging with your content. Further, only pushing your followers to engage with your content isn’t enough, you must engage back. Find prominent figures, brands, and influencers that are in line with your niche. Like their posts, leave valuable comments, DM them. This will not only help you build relationships, but also make you visible in the eyes of the followers of these accounts. 

The baseline here is, the algorithm’s job is to give the people a healthy mix of what they want and diverse, preference–broadening content. By tracking user affinity and being very good at understanding what is in a given photo or video, Instagram knows how to get basketball highlight videos to basketball fans, memes to millennials, and so on. As a micro-influencer, a system that caters to people’s preferences means your content has to be truly appealing to your target audience in order for the algorithm to show it to them. There’s no shortcut to defining your niche, developing a consistent voice, and telling a story that matters to people.

1 Comment

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    Very Insightful

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