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Understand How the Instagram Algorithm Works

As you’re scrolling through Instagram™ you’re bound to see the term “algorithm” a lot. But what does it actually mean? More importantly, how does it impact your engagement with your followers? Keep reading this blog post to discover how the Instagram™algorithm works.

In this blog post: 

What is the Instagram™ Algorithm?

First, let’s talk about what the Instagram™ algorithm actually is. Essentially, the Instagram™ algorithm is a set of rules and calculations that Instagram™ uses to organize the content Instagram™ users see.

Oftentimes you’ll hear people promising you tricks and tips that will help you “beat” the Instagram™ algorithm. But, those shortcuts often fall short of your actual goal, which is to connect with more people on Instagram™. Instead, my goal is for you to work with (not against) the Instagram™ algorithm.

When you create Instagram™ content and engage with the algorithm in mind, you’ll discover that it can actually help you reach a lot more people. More importantly, it can help you connect with your ideal audience. That’s one of the best ways to convert followers into buyers. 

4 Key Factors that Impact the Instagram™ Algorithm

Now, let’s talk about the key factors that impact the Instagram™ algorithm. Here are the four things you should keep in mind when creating content and engaging with your followers. 


This means you need to create Instagram™ content that is relevant to your followers’ interests. When you create Instagram™ posts and videos that people want to like or comment on, it will rank higher on their Instagram™ feed. How does Instagram™ know your interests? One way is that Instagram™ looks at the genres of content (i.e. travel, food, fashion, etc.) that you’ve interacted with in the past. 

Direct Searches

Instagram™ keeps track of your search history. The platform collects data from likes, comments, prior searches, and post locations to suggest content that is relevant to peoples’ interests. This impacts what people see in their Instagram™ feed and on the explore page. 

Save to Collections

Remember all those Instagram™ posts you saved? Well, Instagram™ collects that data too. When you save a post that tells Instagram™  that you want more information on that content in the future. That’s why encouraging people to save your posts is an effective growth strategy. 

Time Spent

From the minute you open the app, Instagram™ is carefully tracking what people are doing. That includes time spent viewing a particular post or swiping past it. This helps Instagram™ to better understand the content you want to see more of in the future, and the content you’d rather skip. 

How to Work With (Not Against) the Instagram™ Algorithm

Now that you understand how the Instagram™ algorithm works, let’s talk about how you can work with (not against) it. There are a lot of things to keep in mind when making Instagram™ content. 

But what’s most important is to consider “What’s In It for Them” (WIIFT). Why should your followers care about what you’re sharing? What you share on Instagram™ should establish you as the go-to person in your industry niche. It should also help someone feel connected to you. 

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to stop sharing personal content. But it does mean that you should share content that will spark the interest of your followers. When you come from a place of WIIFT you are actually working WITH the Instagram™ algorithm. 

Let’s break it down … 

  • When someone gets value out of your Instagram™ content … They will SAVE it for future reference.
  • When someone gets value out of your Instagram™ content … They will SHARE it with their friends.
  • When someone gets value out of your Instagram™ content … They will ENGAGE with comments and likes. 
  • When someone gets value out of your content … They will spend more time on your profile and “binge” your posts.

This is how you convert followers into buyers. Ultimately, people buy from people and brands that they trust. 

Rather than always trying to make the hard sale, which does NOT work, build a relationship with your followers. Once they trust you, they’re much more likely to be interested in what you’re selling. 

For example, take a look at what my RSG student Caterina serves her community on Instagram™. Her business is focused on sharing family dinner recipes and the importance of family dinners. More specifically, Caterina knows that her followers are busy parents who are trying to better understand how to make family dinners part of their weekly routines. 

Caterina's Instagram™ profile is focused on the interests of her ideal followers.

In this Instagram™ post, for example, Caterina is sharing how to transform leftovers into other dishes throughout the week. This is content that Caterina knows people will want to save and share so they can refer back to it later. It’s not just about what to cook for dinner, it’s about sparking a conversation with her followers.

Caterina's Instagram carousel posts walks her followers how to make leftovers last throughout the week.Bottom line: Give people a reason to keep coming back to your Instagram™ account! 

Discover More Ways to Attract More Followers and Buyers on Instagram™

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This is just the tip of the iceberg of how you can better engage your Instagram™ followers. Grab a spot in my FREE training to discover how to better engage with your followers without the complex content creation.