What You Need to Know About The 2018 Instagram Algorithm

The panic alarm has turned on, and everyone in business is feeling it.

As Instagram engagement rates continue to decline and followings are at a standstill, some business owners have asked themselves whether Instagram is worth investing energy, money, and time into.

Just because the rules have changed doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the towel and admit defeat. You’ve put in too many hours to turn back now!

Instagram, even despite its algorithm changes, is still one of the best platforms in terms radical revenue growth potential. But how can you make an impact on Instagram if the rules are different?

It starts with evolving your strategy and quickly as the platform has evolved. Only then can you uplevel your Instagram game!

I know it can feel like once you’ve finally mastered Instagram, it goes ahead and changes everything on you. Luckily, you don’t have to spend your time researching all about the new algorithm from multiple sources just to wrap your head around how it’s evolved.

I’ve already done all the research because I’m a total Instagram nerd who LOVES geeking out on hashtags, engagement, and social media analytics.

It’s probably how I’ve grown my Instagram following to 40,000+ followers despite Instagram’s many algorithm changes. We can’t stop Instagram from changing, but we CAN change our strategy to better connect with our ideal clients and buyers.

Let’s start by breaking down how the Instagram algorithm has changed in 2018 and my best recommendations for evolving your social media strategy along with it.

Preparing yourself for the 2018 Instagram algorithm changes

Switch back to your personal account

If you’re using a business Instagram account, it’s great in terms of giving you extended analytics about your content engagement.

The problem is that Instagram treats business and personal accounts different with the new algorithm. It prioritizes content from personal accounts above business accounts, making business accounts use paid ads to boost sponsored posts.

If you’re bummed about switching back to a personal account, you can always use other third party Instagram analytic tools that will help you keep an eye on how your Instagram is growing. I recommend Iconosquare for this!

Consistency is key

The days of posting once per week or even once per day are over. Whomp, whomp. If you feel your heart start to race at the idea of creating multiple pieces of content per day, don’t panic.

One of the best ways to grow your Instagram with the new algorithm is to post original content with stock photo content. Then you’re able to increase your engagement without adding more photoshoots to your already full calendar.

It’s a huge reason why I created Get Found Stock, a well-stocked (get it?) membership community for creative entrepreneurs who want to grow their Instagram engagement and following with high-quality content they don’t have to spend hours creating. I’ll cheers to that!

Get your first five stock photos for FREE by entering your email below! No, really. Then you’ll be off to the races and growing your Instagram in no time!

Reply back to comments in the first hour

Checking in once a day and replying to all of your comments in bulk no longer works with the new Instagram algorithm. Instead, it’s better to reply back to any comments you get within the first hour.

Naturally, you may not have the time to sit on Instagram for a fully hour after publishing a post. I totally get that. We’ve all got so many other things to do! If only Instagram paid ALL of our bills…


Even though you may not be able to devote a full hour to Instagram each day, you can check in multiple times throughout the first hour while multitasking on other projects. That way you can get more done while still following what the new algorithm likes.

Make sure your comments are quality

While we’re on the subject of comments, it’s important to note that non-descriptive comments like “cool pic!” aren’t going to grow your engagement. If you don’t write a thoughtful comment, you’ll look like a bot, which is what Instagram is trying to cut down on.

Instagram likes comments that are at least 3-4 words and includes an emoji. The more descriptive you can be, the better. That doesn’t mean you have to write a novel, but it’s smart to use your time on Instagram wisely by actually interacting with photos.

Also, if you’re able to use a person’s handle, that’s even better. Try replying to a few of the comments you find on other people’s photos or jump in another conversation that’s happening. After all, Instagram is social!

Longer captions are better

We all love a good cheeky, witty caption, but what’s performing best these days on Instagram are the longer captions. Instagram is a place for storytelling, so it’s not surprising that long captions reign supreme.

If you’re wondering what the heck to write about (which I do nearly every day, lol), we have some content prompts inside Get Found Stock to help you get your creativity flowing.

Rethink Instagram pods

Remember last year when everyone was creating Instagram pods (aka private groups within Instagram to post on each other’s photos) to increase their engagement? Instagram now marks those groups as spam.

 

If you still want to do an Instagram group, it’s best not to share your photos within the group or language like “new post”, which triggers Instagram’s spam alert. You can instead turn on notifications for everyone in the group so you know when they post and when to comment on it.

Don’t forget about Instagram stories

Don’t groan yet! I know Instagram stories might feel like one more thing to create, but to be seen as an active user on Instagram, you need to be updating your stories.

 

Instagram is updating their platform to make stories even more prominent. It’s not only a great place to regularly engage with your audience, but also one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website and email opt-ins.

 

To start experimenting with Instagram stories, try creating 4-5 graphics to tell a story or record yourself on video giving a tip that’s relevant to what you teach or do. Yes, it’s really that easy!

 

Instagram stories are where Instagram is moving in the future as the algorithm makes content harder to find on home feeds. Make your Instagram stories count!

How is your Instagram strategy changing in 2018?

After reading this post, you may be feeling like a lot needs to change. Don’t worry. I felt the same way when I started doing this research into how the algorithm evolved.

 

Hopefully reading these quick tips will help you redefine your strategy and pivot in a way that feels good for you, your business, and Instagram. Good luck!

 

What kinds of Instagram changes have you noticed this year? Let me know in the comment section below so we can chat about it!