Outsmarting the Algorithm on Instagram

Outsmarting the Algorithm on Instagram - Kortni Jeane

Compared to this time last year, I am getting about a quarter the likes I used to and about half the interaction. All this means is that less and less people are seeing the content I put out there, which in return is hurting my business. So what does one do? I have read many articles, met with lots of small business owners, and tested loads of different things personally to try to outsmart and get ahead of the darn Instagram algorithm.

Here are some of my top tips that I have found are helping more of my followers see me on their Instagram feeds:

1. Frequently post on your story

Instagram stories have not yet been looped into any kind of algorithm which means the most recently posted stories are listed first. Use this to your advantage! Share important information on your story to attract your audience and remind them to check out your feed.

2. Quality over quantity - be visually appealing

Although posting more frequently on your feed is actually appealing to the algorithm, do not skimp on the quality of what you are posting! I try to post 2-3 times on instagram which means I am pumping out a lot of photos and trying to think of appealing captions way too much. It can feel very overwhelming! Our followers are mindlessly scrolling through their feeds, so if you want them to stop and take a moments to actually look at your post you need to attract their attention through pretty photos/video.

I love to have lots of options when posting. I not only think about what I want to post but I look at my entire feed to see how each post is going to fit in cohesively. I do several photoshoots a month with my product to ensure I can have variety. I also work with photographers and influencers to create content not only for their feeds but that I can use as well. Last but not least your customers are your best friends! Encourage them to share and post your product not only to drive traffic but so you can use their content as well!

Something I have been trying to be better at is creating several posts ahead of time and saving them in Instagram. This way if I am ever in a creative funk or I have lost track of time I don’t have to scramble to post but have some well thought out posts ready to go in seconds!

3. Find your most active hours

If you have an Instagram business account than the app will show you these analytics. If you don’t, have no fear! Before Instagram decided to switch me over to a business account I would post at different times throughout the day and make note to myself so I could track what hours were my best. This didn’t take long before I knew my best hours, my mediocre hours, and my down right awful hours.

Get to know your customer/follower habits! When are they sitting down to breeze through their feed? What content are they being the most interactive with? What makes them stop to smell the roses? The more in depth you pay attention to them the better you’ll be at posting what THEY want to see!

4. Giveaways are looked down upon

This time last year, I would have told you to run giveaways to get more eyes on you! Although I am not completely against them, I have found that Instagram hates them. I am very picky about giveaways and only do about one giveaway a month. But sometimes during the big campaigns, I will offer more giveaways, and the more I offer the less and less people are seeing them. I am told this is because Instagram looks down upon giveaways and doesn’t want you to promote yourself this way so you show up on less and less feeds.

Doesn’t matter if you are a business account or not, just keep an eye on things and make sure you are being creative when it comes to running a giveaway. Remember Instagram stories are your biggest friend, utilize them while you can!

Whether it’s Instagram or other social media platforms, things will continue to constantly change. Our job is to try to stay ahead of the game and outsmart the system! Don’t let it discourage you but rather let's share our findings and help each other stay ahead of the game!

What have you found to be helpful in beating the Instagram algorithm?



  • Danielle B. on

    YES! I’ve noticed a huge change in my feed and its spool disappointing. I barely see any of my friends post anymore that I use too. I hate it SO much. My feed is the same small businesses I have interacted with quite a bit (I don’t normally comment on my friends post just like)… maybe you could try to do a giveaway where you have to comment on every photo for a week straight (basically making people subscribe to you!) And that will cause you to be more present in their feed?

  • Madeline on

    As an Instagram user, I totally feel that insta stories are the way to go!! Most days, I just look at stories now…and if I scroll through the feed, I simply look at the few top posts unless none of them are visually appealing. Y’all are on my insta must see list though ;-)

  • NicoleDschaak on

    Great info! Thanks!!

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