The elusive Instagram algorithm

Social media agency Dubai - The elusive Instagram algorithm
Author: Shannon O'Neill

Algorithm – it’s a word that has been bounced around a lot in the social sphere of late. But what exactly is this elusive Instagram and Facebook algorithm? And what can we do to make sure we’re on the right side of it?

Well, the bad news is that there is no correct answer. Or if there is, the Zuckerberg’s of the world are keeping it tightly locked up at Facebook HQ. But here’s what we do know…

Firstly, algorithms are ever changing. There’s no one secret to success that is everlasting. As such, social media strategies must constantly evolve to meet both social trends and your specific audience needs and preferences. What has been successful this month, may not work so well next month. And that golden strategy that was formulated last year, may not turn as many heads this year. 

So the first secret to success comes from monitoring and iteration. Take note of what is working successfully and what is not. It’s vital to constantly reassess your plan to ensure you are effectively engaging your audience.

Quality over quantity. There is no golden number when it comes to frequency of posting. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to put yourself in the followers’ shoes. Would you want to see repetitive, branded content appearing in your feed or stories every few hours? Of course not! Ensure your content is engaging, high-resolution and of interest or value to the follower.

Now, time to bust some myths. Despite widespread speculation, Instagram and Facebook have categorically denied ‘hiding’ user posts from their followers. Instead, remember that they reward accounts posting content that users enjoy seeing and engage with. Instagram announced that “What shows up first in your feed is determined by what posts and accounts you engage with the most, as well as other contributing factors such as the timeliness of posts, how often you use Instagram, how many people you follow, etc.” While they’re playing their cards close to their chest, our takeaway from this, paired with our experience managing brands’ social media accounts from around the globe, is that a holistic approach is necessary. Every aspect of your channel needs to be considered and planned for in order to achieve maximum success.

It’s vital to utilise all the features that social media platforms offer in order to gain maximum exposure and engagement. The total sum of our efforts on a platform are what yield results at the end of the month or quarter. On Instagram, for example, it’s not just about posting images to your feed. Make sure you’re active on stories and making use of the variety of engagement stickers available, test the waters with IGTV (…as long as the video is within the correct dimensions!), regularly update Instagram highlights, actively engage with followers who message and comment, follow accounts that are relevant to you or your brand and utilise hashtags.

Last, but by no means least, always keep in mind that social media is supposed to be FUN! Get creative, try new things and don’t be afraid to push boundaries. As one of the top social media agencies in Dubai, Seven Media is here to help.