I'd like to start off this post stating the fact that I don't know if anyone ACTUALLY knows what the balls Instagram's algorithm is up to these days. I doubt even they do, tbh. 

So I'm not trying to pass myself off as some form of Insta guru by writing this post - or pretending like I've got my sh*t together, 400k followers & a load of new ads to not disclose... [*sips tea*] cos lawd, I rly don't. I've just been doing some research & lose about 34 followers a day. Casual.

I've sorta given up hope recently tbh... everything that used to help boost engagement - in a pre-mixed up Insta-world, does f*ck all for me these days. I get more likes on photos I don't hashtag than I do on pure pre-scheduled, proper curated ones [with a chunk of hashtags just crying out to be noticed at the end.] 

Even pics of me rancid face seem to be doing better than actual nice product pics... which is a startling realisation of just how messed up this platform in 2019. Is Instagram okay hun?

Again, I'm not claiming to be an expert on how this algorithm beast gets its kicks... and have I put any of the tips in this post into practice on my own 'Gram yet? No, cos I can't be arsed. But I have spent many precious minutes reading the latest articles about the new algorithm; so I decided to compile this wisdom into a post for ya; to save you having to trawl through pure long articles that make you lose the will to live.

And if, after following these tips, our engagement is still sh*t, terrible boomerangs are still plaguing our feeds & reality tv stars are trying to peddle them teas that give you raging diarrhoea, I think it'll then be time to throw in the towel, admit that Insta's properly mugged us off & invest all our recreational time into moaning about it all the time again. Deal?

The New Instagram Algorithm & How To Keep Your Engagement Vaguely Okay With It, Lovelaughslipstick Blog

First up, Instagram's presumptuous AF algorithm defo appears to decide a lot of things on your behalf that aren't necessarily correct. YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW ME, HUN. 

From the kinda content you see to deciding who it's going to show your posts to, this bloody robotic dictator has total control... and there's hella conflicting info out there and a f*ck tonne of hoops to jump through to get your pics seen. 

Things I've read:

- The 'Gram prioritises posts with high levels of engagement. Which is probs true, but a proper catch-22, no? Unless you're in comment pods... but then there's other reports that comment pods look spammy & can cause your account to get penalised? 


- They like to pretend to know you & who your pals are, and lovingly screw up your exposure based on your relationship with ya following. Nice one - if you're like me who just goes through & likes stuff on ya feed a few times a day, we're screwed. 

If you comment on specific people's photos regularly, Insta presumes they're 'friends & family' so shows your posts to them... but perhaps not so much to others. F*ckin fab. So the antidote to this is to comment on a variety of profiles' posts, reply to your comments and the [non-creepy] DMs.



- The Insta police favour accounts who are able to keep their followers engaged & active, therefore making them money. Weasels. They therefore proper love accounts who post regularly & take advantage of all their features; such as Lives, Stories and that ellusive b*stard IGTV. And all them mad stickers & polls you can do now. And who reply to their comments & DM's in a timely manner. Basically not me. And a ballache if you're trying to cut down on screen-time. I can confirm that I posted an IGTV video the other day though that actually seemed to prove this theory right; as it had sooooo many more views than a regular video on my feed ever would.


Hashtags are apparently sometimes gonna hinder you. Some sources say you should make full use of the maximum of 30. Others say that using the full 30 makes you look like MC Spammer & can restrict the reach of your post. And I noticed that one week, on a post I put zero hashtags on, it had more reach than the rest of the weeks content put together - all of which I'd hashtagged to buggery. FREAKEH. 

I'd say, on balance, to try and mix your use of #'s up and see what works best for you. One thing I can categorically confirm though is that it's not worth you paying money for hashtag lists... especially if using them is gonna potench get your account penalised anyway. That's like a double [metaphorical] bumming. 

The New Instagram Algorithm & How To Keep Your Engagement Vaguely Okay With It, Lovelaughslipstick Blog

Once you've posted, that's it. You shouldn't go back and edit your caption or location [even if you've made a raging typo, apparently] for 24 hours, as Insta thinks this is dodge and might decide to show your post to less followers. Similarly, you shouldn't pull a post if it's doing terribly & reupload it a couple of hours later. Something to consider, if it's actually true. That felt cute, might delete later  culture might be costing us views, hun.


Insta take it upon themselves to decide what kinda posts they think you'll buzz off seeing; based on who you follow and the posts you like. If they think you'll like something, they'll show it higher in ya feed... and they explain that this is decided by your past behaviour viewing similar pics [and how their robot slave analyses what the content shows. So if it interprets it wrong and sees a lipstick as a dildo, you're in for a strangely curated feed the next day.]


Apparently posting once a day is good for engagement, and posting multiple times in a day is good for gaining followers. I would personally question this, but yolo; it's something I stumbled upon on my research & felt duty-bound to share with you guys.


This is one I'm going to struggle with - and might explain why my engagement has dropped recently... but you basically have to make a plan and stick to it to get anywhere on IG, apparently. 

WOT DO I MEAN, Y AM I BEING AS CRYPTIC AS INSTA THEMSELVES? Why am I writing this at 3:38am when most people with normal jobs are sleeping? So much questions. But in response to the first one, I mean that if you decide you're gonna post 8 times a day & keep that up every day for a week before you get bored and drop down to one post every 3 days; you're going to get penalised.

If you post frequently and consistently, rumour has it your content will be seen more. And if you suddenly change your posting habits, you'll generate less engagement on ya posts & will basically pure regret it. 

I actually saw a quote from social media guru Neil Patel that said “This means that the best posting frequency for Instagram is the posting frequency that you can consistently maintain for the rest of your natural life.” My inner commitment phobe is quaking in her Primark Ugg boots at this. THE REST OF YOUR NATURAL LIFE. Before we get eaten by Instagram and become bots too.


Back to replying to comments & being a sociable human being again - rumour has it you should always reply & engage with comments on your feed to show the Instagram robot you have a 'relationship' with that follower & therefore bribe it to show them your post. At the very least, pop them that heart. I draw the line at engaging politely with bots though, I don't even care

The New Instagram Algorithm & How To Keep Your Engagement Vaguely Okay With It, Lovelaughslipstick Blog

Have a banging aesthetic which people like. That's supposed to work - maybe that's how my gal Friday Faye has grown so consistently over the past few months. Or don't - that's just a tip I've read. Takumi told me I needed to improve my aesthetic & shunned me forevermore, so what do I even know about that?


Use Insights to find out when ya squad are most active and try to post around that time. And check this regularly, as it can change.  


Fun fact [except it's really not fun and instead makes me wanna cry]: if you use the app a lot, your feed will resemble that of a more 'chronological' one, as the Insta dictators show you what they believe to be the best posts since you were last seen scrolling. But if you just check it every now and again, your feed will become a pure shrine to what the IG Gods think you'll like, rather than in 'most recent' order. 

The more time you spend on Insta the more posts you'll eventually see... but if you're like me and only pop on in a morning, you’re only gonna get what the algorithm believes to be the best posts of the day, based on past behaviour.


The last thing I'm gonna share from all my research is something I just thought was interesting tbh. And relates to Instagram stories, rather than trying [and failing] to get ya grid out there. Rumour has it, that by inviting the huns who view your Insta stories to vote on a poll, swipe something or hold down the screen to read a caption etc is a signal to the robot overlords that people are engaging with your post... and they LOVE THAT SH*T so might, might consider showing your stuff to more people. If you're nice and sacrifice your first child & lifetime salary for them. Basically do what you gotta do to stop people swiping off ya stories. Try and make them stay. Which for me, probably involves putting a bag over my terrifying face.

If you'd like to follow my Instagram, you can find me here. You'll probably never see my photos in ya grid, but yolo.
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