Hello! In this post, we will share our strategies on how we beat the Instagram algorithm today, which allowed us to grow our personal accounts and travel accounts on Instagram to over 4 million followers combined.
Remember when nobody had to worry about your content being shown to your followers because the Instagram algorithm was not too complicated?
But nowadays, everybody seems to want to know: How to beat the Instagram algorithm?
The problem for many users is that Instagram changed its algorithm from a simple timeline to a complex algorithm that dictates who will see your content, when your content will appear, and how many people your content could reach. It was such a massive move from Instagram that everybody using the platform had to change their strategy.
Everyone using Instagram had to find a new strategy: Brands promoting their products, digital nomads who have online jobs, influencers who rely on Instagram sponsorships, online entrepreneurs who use the platform to sell their digital products, or a regular Instagram user who want to grow their followers.
Today, everybody is trying to figure out how to beat the Instagram algorithm changes. The overall impact of the Instagram algorithm change is that content having less of an organic reach today. We did not have to worry whether our content would reach our audience before all the changes to the Instagram algorithm. It was pretty straight forward considering the content that shows up on our Instagram feed was based on a timeline, not on super complex data that Instagram decides whether or not a specific content is relevant to us.
The Instagram algorithm naturally affected the engagement of our content. An analysis done by trustinishgts shows that the decline in engagement rate is about 33% less. This decline in engagement means fewer likes, fewer comments, and fewer shares, which is why many people are trying to make sense of how to beat the Instagram algorithm.
Many attribute the change in Instagram algorithm to a shift in paid advertising, or “boosting” your content. The paid advertisement essentially means that you would have to pay Instagram to either show your content to all of your followers or pay Instagram to show your content to a brand new audience.
In other words, the Instagram algorithm changes have turned Instagram into a full-paid advertising platform, which affected the organic reach and engagement it used to have.
With all that said, you don’t have to go to the paid advertising route. In this post, we will look at different strategies that we have tried and tested that ultimately allows us to grow our organic reach, engagement, and grow our collective travel accounts Instagram to over four million followers combined.
How Instagram Algorithm Worked in the Past
Before we dive into the complexities of how to beat today’s Instagram algorithm changes, we need to have a better understanding of how the algorithm worked before.
As we mentioned earlier, the Instagram algorithm was rather simple. Users are (almost) guaranteed to see the content of the accounts they are following because of the chronological timeline. Back when we had the old Instagram algorithm, our posting strategy was straight forward. I think we can agree that most of our concerns before posting centered around the picture looking perfect (by a picture I mean our selfies), and if we posted a witty caption to go along with our picture.
There is no denying that engagement was significantly higher with the old Instagram algorithm. I remember people’s strategy for posting on Instagram n would mostly revolve around the time they post to get the most engagement. If you post at the right time, chances are, you are going to get high engagement (depending on if it’s great content, of course!)
For many influencers, the old Instagram algorithm played a big part in growing their accounts, virtually starting from a couple of hundreds to hundreds and thousands (and some to millions) of followers overnight. The old Instagram algorithm allowed for these influencers for their content to have outstanding engagement, which Instagram rewards by showing their content on the Explore Page for the whole world to see, which in turn, adds hundreds and thousands of followers overnight!
Instagram Algorithm Changes in 2020
Today’s Instagram algorithm has to adapt to the increasing growth in popularity over the years. It’s not just the amount of content that is further increasing on Instagram, but also the increase in advertising on Instagram.
As a result, the new Instagram algorithm prioritizes content that is most relevant to you. Instagram’s most significant concern is that user experience will decrease, considering the amount of new content that users post, and the number of ads that we see from advertisers.
In other words, Instagram wants to make sure that you only see content that is interesting to you – and not risk their users repeatedly seeing content that has little to no value to them.
For me I understand their point of view. I mean, I can only take so much seeing so many selfies or pictures of what people had for lunch. If that’s the type of content I consistently see on my newsfeed, I will probably stop using Instagram altogether.
As a result, the Instagram algorithm will be more or less ‘handpick’ the content that shows up on your feed based on your engagement. The updated Instagram algorithm takes note of which photos or videos you like, comments, and shares, and the types of accounts you interact and engage. The Instagram algorithm uses this data to decide and prioritize which content shows up on your feed.
The new Instagram algorithm also forces users to publish quality content. As you know by now, Instagram is hiding the number of ‘likes’ shown underneath our content to improve user experience. This shocking move by Instagram essentially forces us to share fewer selfies and more meaningful content.
4 Main Factors to Beat Instagram Algorithm in 2020
Now that we have a better understanding on how the Instagram algorithm worked in the past, and the reasoning for the changes, we focused on these three key components to ensure that our content is getting organic reach and our travel Instagram accounts continue to grow.
Here are the three pillars we focus on to beat the Instagram algorithm.
FACTOR #1 TO BEAT INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM: Engagement
We mentioned earlier that organic reach and engagement have decreased since the Instagram algorithm changes took effect.
As a result, I made an extra effort to engage with the content relevant to us on Instagram. It means liking and commenting on the accounts we follow, as well as the appropriate hashtags relevant to our niche, the travel industry.
By consistently engaging on Instagram, our organic reach and engagement remain consistent with what it was before the changes in the Instagram algorithm.
Our organic reach was performing well, but we were also able to grow our followers even more.
Our favorite tactic of engagement is commenting on popular hashtags and accounts. We find that our content typically shows up on the ‘comments preview,’ which gives our accounts exposure to the people following that account or specific hashtags.
FACTOR #2 TO BEAT INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM: Quality content
Consistently posting quality content is a sure way for you to beat the Instagram algorithm 2020.
Sharing quality content encourages users to spend more time on your content. If your content can stop users from scrolling on their feed, it sends signals to Instagram that you have quality and engaging content and, undoubtedly, improves your organic reach.
So, what type of content will get people’s attention while scrolling their feed? The answer boils down your selected niche.
If you are a travel influencer, consider posting visually appealing amazing photo + videos. If you are a lifestyle influencer, consider posting something aspirational. If you are a fitness influencer, consider posting something super helpful that will help your audience’s fitness goals.
Analyze & consider the type of content your users respond to the most. Knowing the demographics of your audience can help and guide you through crafting your content. The more your content is relatable to your audience, the more engaged they will be!
FACTOR #3 TO BEAT INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM: Frequency
Posting regularly is part of the equation on how to beat the Instagram algorithm.
The main idea of frequently posting on Instagram is to send a signal that you are an engaged and active member of the platform.
We noticed a spike in engagements (likes, comments, and views) whenever we are actively posting on Instagram versus a sudden decrease in engagement whenever we don’t post anything for a few days.
To beat the Instagram algorithm, we make sure we post on all features on Instagram: feed posts, stories, and IGTV.
At the bare minimum, if you don’t have any new content for your static post, post something on stories. Posting on stories is simple, easy, doesn’t require much effort, and allows you to go off-brand if necessary!
FACTOR #4 TO BEAT INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM: Launch Paid Ads
We mentioned earlier in the post that paid to advertise is a big of the Instagram algorithm changes.
Given the millions of content that get published every second on Instagram, it is no surprise that paid advertising is almost essential to instantly reach a wider audience, and get around the limitations from the updated Instagram algorithm changes.
Paid advertising on Instagram is effective, given the billions of followers on the platform. The key to being successful in launching paid ads is knowing how to reach your key target audience with your content.
Overall, launching paid advertising on Instagram is a viable option to get around the Instagram algorithm changes.
Factors to Beat Instagram Algorithm Summary:
Instagram Algorithm Factor #1: Engagement – The more engaged you are on Instagram, the more you will get rewarded by showing your content to a broader audience.
Instagram Algorithm Factor #2: Quality Content – Produce content that your followers and potential new followers will love. The more people engage with your content; the more Instagram will show your content to more people.
Instagram Algorithm Factor #3: Frequency – Post often on Instagram. If you have nothing to post, Stories is a good option for you to go off-brand.
Instagram Algorithm Factor #4: Launch Paid Ads – Reach a (guaranteed) wider audience by using Instagram’s paid advertising platform.
Instagram Algorithm Content Strategy for 2020
To beat Instagram algorithm will require a solid content strategy.
Remember, if people are just scrolling past your content, it sends a signal to Instagram that your content is not relevant to the users, which in turn, will decrease its organic reach.
With that said, it shouldn’t surprise you that the best way to beat the Instagram algorithm is to keep people on your page. We do this by keeping our engagement and growth high to stay as active as possible on Instagram, and this means working on our page and posting daily.
Let’s take a look at the different content strategies we can use to beat the Instagram algorithm.
Instagram Algorithm Content Strategy #1: IG Photos
To beat the Instagram algorithm, it is critical to post at least once a day on Instagram, as this is the best way for you to keep your account visible to your followers.
The more you post, the more chances your followers will have of interacting with your page, and the stronger your relationship will be with them.
Being consistent at this also gives your followers a reason to keep checking your page.
Photos are the easiest to produce and edit, so your feed will undoubtedly be composed mainly of images.
Instagram Algorithm Content Strategy #2: IG Videos
Posting videos should be a part of your strategy to beat the Instagram algorithm.
Instagram is making a big push for videos, with the launch of IGTV and with the newest update allowing a preview of IGTV videos in the feed.
With videos expected to dominate social media in 2020 and onwards, it’s important to ride this trend and focus on creating video content for your page. They are an excellent tool for storytelling and allow your followers to share the moment with you better than any photo ever can.
Influencers use videos to engage with their audience, which helps them to beat the new Instagram algorithm.
Many influencers use selfie videos in their feed to show their personality to their viewers and connect on a personal level.
The new Instagram algorithm keeps in mind that viewers’ tastes are always changing. While drone videos used to be very impressive in the past, people are now looking for videos that feel more natural, real, and immediate. A simple video of you enjoying a beautiful sunset and a great view is a powerful tool for people to live that moment with you.
Remember, the more your audience is engaged with your content, the better chances you have to beat the Instagram algorithm.
Instagram Algorithm Content Strategy #3: Stories
Instagram Stories undoubtedly play a huge part in beating the Instagram algorithm.
This popular Instagram feature is the best way to give your followers an unedited and more naturalistic look at your everyday lives and activities.
Talking to the camera is an excellent way to get people to know you more and to show your personality.
It’s common for travel and lifestyle influencers to show their viewers a particular place, or give a tour of a resort or destination, and talking to the camera while doing this makes the video more exciting and engaging.
While Instagram stories don’t get on the explore page yet, we notice that it still plays a considerable part in beating the Instagram algorithm. We still recommend posting on Stories daily, as it is an excellent way of appearing at the top of your followers’ feeds.
When we are traveling, we usually post at least ten stories a day. You have to strike a balance between sharing enough and keeping your followers from losing interest because you’re sharing too much.
There are plenty of ways to keep your audience engaged. You can use polls and questions to make your Stories more interactive. Using funny stickers and gifs creatively, along with the many filters available, can also help to make your Stories more unique and exciting.
Instagram Algorithm Strategy #4: IGTV
It’s evident that Instagram is making a big push for IGTV, and it is one of the crucial aspects of your content strategy to beat the Instagram algorithm.
While this feature hasn’t taken off as well as other features, the new addition of the Preview feature allows it to be shown on the feed and on your profile grid, which improved viewership of IGTV. With that in mind, we expect this to grow more as Instagram adds more features to support it.
With IGTV, you can share more of your travels and content in the form of vlogs and travel compilations with no time limitations, giving you more
opportunities to keep your followers glued to your page and spending more time on the app.
It’s also important to note that IGTV videos also appear on the Explore page, so putting exciting content on this platform is an excellent strategy to drastically improve your organic reach.
Instagram Algorithm Strategy #5: Carousel
Lately, we’ve found that using carousel posts has been very effective in increasing engagement in our posts.
Remember, an increase in your engagement puts you in a position to beat the Instagram algorithm.
The great thing about carousel posts is that Instagram shows not just the first photo on the feed, but also selects the other images in the carousel if the engagement on the first photo is not as good.
Also, this is an excellent way of getting our followers to spend more time on our feed. The carousel requires them to scroll through our mini gallery, and we can include videos in them to keep our followers on our post longer.
Another use of the carousel is for creating seamless panoramas of a horizontal scene. It’s a great way to make use of those landscape shots that would otherwise look terrible on a standard post.
Content Strategy to Beat Instagram Algorithm Summary:
To Beat Instagram Algorithm with Content #1: IG Photos
Engage your audience with a visually striking photograph.
To Beat Instagram Algorithm with Content #2: IG Videos
Capture the attention of your audience with videos
To Beat Instagram Algorithm with Content #3: Stories
Feed your audience with quality content with Stories
To Beat Instagram Algorithm with Content #4: IGTV
Take part in IGTV. Instagram is showing content from IGTV on the explorer page, which allows you to reach a brand new audience, just like the old Instagram algorithm!
To Beat Instagram Algorithm with Content #5: Carousel
Keep your audience longer on your content by posting a carousel.
Other Actionable Strategy to Beat Instagram Algorithm 2020
Instagram is a social network, so you need to work on the social aspect and connect with people to stand a chance to beat the Instagram algorithm.
You would need to interact and build a relationship with your followers to beat the Instagram algorithm.
The best strategy to beat the Instagram algorithm is to reply to DMs and comments and to ask questions to your followers in your posts and even in Stories.
Let’s look at the actionable strategy below to beat the Instagram Algorithm.
Actionable Strategy to Beat the Instagram Algorithm #1: Reply to Direct Messages
We appreciate followers who reply to our Stories or sending questions through DM. With the Instagram algorithm favoring pages with the most engagement, you should also focus on finding ways to interact with your audience and make them feel that you value their input and their questions.
You must also be genuine in your responses, and even if it might take more time, it’s always best to try to have a conversation with them rather than just replying with a “smiley” or a “heart.”
Actionable Strategy to Beat the Instagram Algorithm #2: Reply to Comments
Same as above, it’s essential to reply to comments your audience makes on your posts. We notice that answering comments as soon as you post your content helps you land at the top of the newsfeed, and
while we have yet to prove this Instagram algorithm theory, it does make sense to keep a conversation going further by answering comments in a more timely manner.
It’s also best to be creative with our responses by posing questions and keeping away from just one-word answers. The goal is to get a conversation going to increase engagement on your page, per the new Instagram algorithm, and have your posts prioritized on people’s feeds.
Actionable Strategy to Beat the Instagram Algorithm #3: Ask Questions
We should know by now that engagement is a big part of the new Instagram algorithm.
An effective way of improving engagement on your posts, especially in the comments section, is to ask your followers a question at the end of your caption.
Often this is best paired with a lengthy caption that talks about relevant and engaging topics not necessarily related to the photo. Starting a
conversation with your followers builds on your relationship and allows you to connect and show them that you value and listen to their insights and opinions.
Actionable Strategy to Beat the Instagram Algorithm #4: Collaborate with Other Influencers
We believe that the new Instagram algorithm takes into consideration on which accounts you are interacting with.
One of the best ways of increasing engagement and growing your page is to connect with other influencers and content creators, especially those in similar niches as yours, and whose work you like.
You could make a group trip or just hang out and create content, and tag one another on your feed posts and Stories. Posting at the same time is
especially useful as it makes the posts visible to a more significant number of people at one time, effectively expanding your organic reach by tapping into potential new followers.
Actionable Strategy to Beat the Instagram Algorithm #5: Use Hashtags
Hashtags are very relevant today, which is why we suggest using them to beat the current Instagram algorithm. Use hashtags everywhere, even on stories, to reach a brand new audience!
Know Your Target Audience to Beat Instagram Algorithm in 2020
We already mentioned that a big part of the new Instagram algorithm is showing content that is more likely relevant to an audience.
With that said, you need to be able to master the content in your niche to stand a chance of being shown to a relevant audience.
Let’s take a look at the different types of niche and see where you fall in to improve your engagement and reach with the new Instagram algorithm.
Niche Strategy to Beat Instagram Algorithm #1: Fashion
It’s an uber-niche and a saturated one at that. However, the world of fashion has made MANY influencers who are mega-rich…and famous.
To increase organic reach and engagement, post content related to style. Keep in mind that many influencers in this niche use presets to give “style” to their feed – which helps a lot when it comes to growing their page and beating the Instagram algorithm.
Niche Strategy to Beat Instagram Algorithm #2: Makeup/Beauty
Alongside fashion, beauty is one of the sectors which most profits from Influencer Marketing and is one of the fastest-growing influencer niches.
Surprisingly, we notice that this is a sector that we feel wasn’t affected by the Instagram algorithm as much. We consistently see high engagements from many influencers in this niche.
Niche Strategy to Beat Instagram Algorithm #3: Food
Who doesn’t like food?! There are a significant number of influencers specialized in all things gourmet, but the subsector which has indeed
triumphed, especially with today’s trends, is that of “healthy food.”
Along with Health and Beauty, we also feel that the Food niche wasn’t affected much by the new Instagram algorithm. Considering everybody loves food, engagement remains consistently strong for Instagram influencers in this niche.
Niche Strategy to Beat Instagram Algorithm #4: Gamers
Gamers are the most popular type of influencers amongst the younger millennials, who are the biggest video game consumers.
Many gamers on Instagram center their content on online games, showing relevant content to their audience that helps with engagement to beat the Instagram algorithm.
Niche Strategy to Beat Instagram Algorithm #5: Entertainment
This mainly refers to social media comedians and YouTubers, although there are more and more content on Instagram in the entertainment niche – mostly with meme accounts.
Before the Instagram algorithm change, it was quite easy to land on the explore page if your funny video went viral.
Niche Strategy to Beat Instagram Algorithm #6: Travel
This is where we come in.
As you can imagine, this sector creates idyllic experiences that captivate the audience and encourage them to live these same idyllic experiences themselves.
The most significant difference we see with the Instagram algorithm change is that travel content doesn’t land on the explore page as much.
Niche Strategy to Beat Instagram Algorithm #7: Fitness
Fitness influencers post pics and videos related to sports, working out, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
A sure way to beat the Instagram algorithm on this niche is to post health and fitness tips using videos and carousel to keep viewers on the page a lot longer.
Resources to Help You Beat Instagram Algorithm
Now that you have a bit of information on how to overcome the new Instagram algorithm let’s take a look at other resources that can help your success on Instagram.
Resource to Beat The Instagram Algorithm #1: The Traveler’s Playbook
The Traveler’s Playbook goes beyond how we beat the Instagram algorithm.
Our ebook covers everything you need to know how to monetize Instagram and live the life of a digital nomad.
Mikki and I started traveling full-time about five years ago, all starting with launching travel accounts on Instagram and growing a collective audience of over 4 million followers.
Resource to Beat The Instagram Algorithm #2: Presets
As mentioned before, the Instagram algorithm further focuses on engaging your audience with your content.
Having stellar photography will help you improve your engagement and, thus, a better chance of overcoming the new Instagram algorithm.
If you are a beginner in photography and have little experience with editing photos, you can start by trying or buying presets from content creators whose look you want to take inspiration from.
A lot of them offer free presets as well that you can test out on Lightroom. This can give you a good starting point for learning how certain adjustments affect a photo’s tones and colors, and you can then adjust these presets according to your liking until you achieve the look you want.
Resource to Beat The Instagram Algorithm #3: Photoshop Express Photo App
Sometimes, you don’t need a fancy preset or app to fix your photos.
Our favorite app is Photoshop Express, which is easy and straightforward to use to fix minor adjustments to our photos.
Remember that the updated Instagram algorithm prioritizes high quality edited pictures!
Resource to Beat The Instagram Algorithm #4: Videorama Video Editor App
Nobody is going to watch your video if it has poor editing.
If nobody is watching it, the Instagram algorithm will take notice. So use apps like Videorama to edit your videos right on your smartphone. It’s easy to use and has a lot of advanced features to edit your videos.
Creating Content with the Right Travel Gear
We should have a better understanding by now that content is everything when it comes to overcoming the updated Instagram algorithm.
Let’s take a look below at different equipment that can help you produce the best possible content.
Equipment to Help You Beat Instagram Algorithm #1: Photography
BEST STARTER LENS: Get a prime lens with a fixed focal length and with the highest possible aperture for the best quality. Standard prime
lenses offer a more natural perspective matching that of the naked eye, and the fact that they are generally inexpensive makes them more ideal for beginners. A 50 mm f/1.8 lens is a good option.
Equipment to Help You Beat Instagram Algorithm #2: Tripod
TRAVEL TRIPOD: Fotopro T-64CL. While it’s not the most compact tripod, it offers excellent stability and durability for the harshest weather conditions.
Equipment to Help You Beat Instagram Algorithm #3: Drone
DRONE: Mavic Pro 2. The picture and video quality are amazing. It has foldable legs, which make it great for traveling. I recently shifted to this
from a Mavic Pro, which was also generally a perfect drone but had plenty of glitches. The only advantage the first-gen Mavic Pro has over the latest version is the ability to take vertical or portrait shots, a feature which I sorely miss on the Pro 2 because it’s been invaluable for those Instagram photos and videos (especially on Stories). That said, the panorama feature makes up for this limitation.
How to Beat Instagram Algorithm Final Words:
Finding a solution to the Instagram algorithm changes is part of the journey to find success on Instagram.
Our two most significant recommendations when starting an online venture, whether it be on Instagram as an influencer, digital nomad, or an online entrepreneur is hustle and patience.
If you are going to pursue anything in life, you need to be ready to put in the work. You have resources such as this blog post that gives you the knowledge and starting tools to get started.
Now it’s just up to you to build on that knowledge, execute, and learn as you are doing it.
Nothing is built overnight.
Hustle only works if you have the patience to trust that all your hard work will eventually produce and give results.
There are way too many instances where we’ve seen people give up just as they were on the cusp of where they wanted to be.
Don’t let that happen to you!