Four ways to adapt to Instagram’s new algorithm

Person using Instagram

Insights provided by our partner agency, Cosmopole, who specialise in performance-driven communications across digital, PR and social media platforms.

Whether it’s a platform for your own business or for the clients and brands that you work with, understanding and keeping up with Instagram’s algorithm is essential if you want to get the most of this very glamorous, versatile and powerful social media platform.

While the word ‘algorithm’ might sound a bit daunting and technical, it is perfectly possible to get around this clever formula. All you need to do is understand how it works, and which areas you should be focusing on in order to achieve maximum engagement and follower growth.

Putting it simply, Instagram’s new algorithm watches what you like, how you engage with others (and who engages with you), and finally, when you are using the platform, how long you use it for and which pages you visit the most. The app will then use these factors to determine which accounts appear at the top of your feed, which appear more frequently, what kind of content you like and whether your feed is ordered chronologically or as highlights.

So how can you use this formula to your advantage? We’ve put together our top 4 ways to beat the 2021 Instagram algorithm below.


4 ways to adapt to Instagram’s new algorithm


1) Engage with your followers

Nothing is more important than making time to like, comment, reply to and engage with your followers as much as you possibly can. If someone has gone through the effort of sending you a direct message, commenting on your post or tagging you, the least you can do is reply, right? You want your followers to feel valued, appreciated and important; this will increase their loyalty to you and make them more likely to mention you and engage with you in the future. Show them you care and send them a quick reply, or even a voice note, if you’re feeling generous.

Plus, on a more practical note, Instagram’s algorithm puts anyone you interact with frequently into your ‘important’ or ‘friends and family’ category, meaning they will pop up more often and more prominently on your feed. Getting yourself into these categories for all your followers is the main aim of the game.

2) Get to grips with Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels are one of the latest features to be released by Instagram, and we encourage all of you to give them a go. We know that the idea of editing a full video might seem a bit scary, but these reels honestly don’t involve too much work.

Videos in general are a great way of telling stories, drawing your audience in and offering something more dynamic and a bit different. If it’s a personal brand you’re working on, to-camera, selfie-style videos can help your followers get to know you better and develop a closer connection to you.

Studies show that reels are shared across more curator pages than any other form of content. Plus, as Instagram is focusing on promoting and developing reels throughout 2021, using them means you are more likely to be hand-picked to be ‘featured’ on Instagram, and therefore get pushed in front of thousands or even millions of new followers.

3) Use Stories creatively

Instagram Stories have released loads of cool features over the last few years, including polls, quizzes, filters, and throwback ‘On This Day’ options, meaning you don’t even need to post brand-new content.

Adding captions, GIFs and questions will also encourage people to spend more time watching your stories, and therefore pleasing the new algorithm even more. New features are being released all the time, so make sure you keep track of them and keep experimenting to see what clicks and resonates with your audience and brand.

Don’t forget to use the hashtags either: although this feature has been around for a while, it’s still a super effective way of maximising your reach and getting more people viewing your amazing content.

4) Be consistent

If you really want to adapt to the new Instagram algorithm, then you will need to make sure you post at least one thing every day. Consistent posting means your followers will always have something new, fresh and exciting to enjoy, and it means they can look forward to seeing something new every day too, without being left disappointed when there isn’t anything.

Your daily content doesn’t necessarily have to be a post. Instagram stories are a great way of engaging with your followers. Those accounts that post new stories daily, and who you interact with a lot, will appear first on the stories feed that runs along the top of your Instagram homepage.

Another way of recycling old content and creating daily engagement opportunities easily is through using carousel posts, which also happen to be a big hit with the new Instagram algorithm.

Now that we have briefly discussed some of ways you can increase your Instagram presence using the new 2021 algorithm, we encourage you to always stay up-to-date with all the latest updates and experiment with them to see what works for you, as the opportunities are truly endless.