Perceive How the Instagram Algorithm Works

As you scroll through Instagram™, you’re bound to come across the term “algorithm” a lot. But what does it actually mean? More importantly, how does it affect your engagement with your followers? Continue reading this blog post to find out 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 that Instagram™ users see.

Often people will promise you tricks and tips that will help you “beat” the Instagram™ algorithm. But these shortcuts often fall short of your ultimate goal, which is to connect with more people on Instagram™. Instead, my goal is for you to do it work with (not against). the Instagram™ algorithm.

As you create Instagram™ content and learn about the algorithm, you’ll find that you can actually reach a lot more people with it. More importantly, it can help you connect with your ideal audience. This is one of the best ways to convert followers into buyers.

4 key factors affecting the Instagram™ algorithm

Now let’s talk about the key factors that influence the Instagram™ algorithm. Here are the four things to 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 like or want to comment on, they will rank higher in their Instagram™ feed. How does Instagram™ know your interests? One possibility is that Instagram™ takes into account the content genres (e.g. travel, food, fashion, etc.) that you have interacted with in the past.

Direct searches

Instagram™ tracks your search history. The platform collects data from likes, comments, previous searches and post locations to suggest content relevant to people’s interests. This affects what people see on their Instagram™ feed and Explore page.

Save to collections

Remember all those Instagram™ posts you’ve saved? Well, Instagram™ collects this data too. When you save a post, you tell Instagram™ that you want more information about that content in the future. For this reason, encouraging people to save your posts is a powerful growth strategy.

expenditure of time

As soon as you open the app, Instagram™ carefully follows what people are doing. This includes the time you spend viewing or swiping past a particular post. This helps Instagram™ better understand the content you’d like to see more of in the future and the content you’d rather skip.

How to work with the Instagram™ algorithm (not against it).

Now that you understand how the Instagram™ algorithm works, let’s talk about how to work with it (and not against it). There are many things to consider when creating Instagram™ content.

Most importantly, though, is the “What’s In It For Them” (WIIFT) consideration. Why should your followers care what you share? What you share on Instagram™ should make you the go-to person in your niche. It should also help someone feel connected to you.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to stop sharing personal content. However, it does mean that you should share content that will pique the interest of your followers. If you’re from a WIIFT place, you’re actually working WITH the Instagram™ algorithm.

Let’s break it down…

  • When someone gets value from your Instagram™ content, they will SAVE it for future reference.
  • When someone derives value from your Instagram™ content, they will SHARE it with their friends.
  • When someone derives value from your Instagram™ content…they will engage with comments and likes.
  • When someone gets value from your content… they’ll spend more time on your profile and “overwhelm” your posts.

How are you? Turn followers into buyers. Ultimately, people buy from people and brands they trust.

Build a relationship with your followers instead of always trying to make the hard sell that does NOT work. Once they trust you, they’re more likely to be interested in what you’re selling.

For example, check out what my RSG student did Catherine takes care of her community on Instagram™. Her business is focused on sharing family dinner recipes and the importance of family dinners. More specifically, Caterina knows her followers are busy parents trying to better understand how to make family dinners a part of their weekly routine.

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

For example, in this Instagram™ post, Caterina shares how to turn leftovers into different dishes throughout the week. Caterina knows that people want to save and share this content for future reference. It’s not just about what she’s cooking for dinner, but also sparking a conversation with her followers.

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

Discover more ways to get more followers and buyers on Instagram™

A blog banner linking to Sue B Zimmerman's Three Keys Instagram workout.

This is just the tip of the iceberg on how to better engage your Instagram™ followers. Grab a seat in mine free training to find out how to better engage with your followers without complex content creation.

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