How the Instagram algorithm works for your business

What is a social media algorithm?

Algorithms in social media platforms can be defined as technical means of sorting posts based on relevancy instead of publishing time, in order to prioritize which content a user sees first according to the likelihood that they will actually engage with such content.

By having a little understanding of social media algorithms you can enhance your social media accounts by working with the algorithm rather than against it. 

Now – as I have mentioned in previous blogs regarding both Google and social media, they have multiple algorithms running. Each one of these algorithms is designed to deliver content that is of the most interest/benefit to you the user. 

Account types

On Instagram, you can choose between, personal, business and creator account types. Instagram has confirmed via its own account that it does not favour any one type of account, all 3 are treated equally in the algorithm. 

How the Instagram algorithm works for your business

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The Instagram feed

Here are the main factors that influence the main feed on Instagram: 

Information on the post – Is it a photo or video? When was it shared? How many likes is it getting?

Information about the poster – Are they interesting to you? Are they someone you follow? How often do you engage with their content? (remember that if you do not engage with your favourites you won’t keep seeing their posts)

Your Instagram usage – Do you watch a lot of videos? Do you engage with certain content more than other content? 

Your engagement history – Which posts do you typically comment on or like?

Instagrams algorithms then work together with all this information to create an interest score for you. This interest score is tailored for you and will determine both the posts you see and the order you will see the posts in your feed. 

In addition to the above they look at: 

Time – How long you spend on a post, watching, commenting, scrolling through images

Likes – Are you likely to like the post

Comment – Are you likely to comment on the post

Save – Will you save the post

Go to the profile – Are you likely to top through to the profile due to seeing the post

“The more likely you are to take any action, and the more heavily we weigh that action, the higher up you’ll see the post,” says Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram.

Remember that algorithms are growing changing and evolving, they do not sit still. Constantly they are working to get better at showing you posts that you are going to take action on and engage with. 

Creating posts for your followers:

  • Is it likely to be commented on or will people like it?
  • Is your post likely to be saved?
  • Does your post have a call to action to prompt people to go to your profile? 

Instagram stories

You may already realise that stories are hugely popular on Instagram.  Like myself, you may be a fan of going through stories before and sometimes instead of your feed.

The feed of your stories will likely begin with the accounts that you tend to engage with the most. Have a look, who is generally one of the first in your lineup of stories each day? 

As people love to just sit and watch, watch, watch stories try to make sure that you are consistently sharing to your Instagram stories lineup.

Instagram reels

Reels are designed to be a fun and creative way to show content for your account. Keep the content of great quality and use text or filters to make it more interesting. 

Also, share your reels to your main feed along with your best hashtags to help it to be found by more people. 

Instagram explore

You may have seen that your feed is also showing posts that it thinks you may be interested in based on your previous Instagram usage. 

The explore page will have posts from almost entirely new accounts that you don’t already engage with. When you are on the explore page it will be showing you posts that you are most likely to like, save or share. Here are the main factors for you: 

Information – How popular is the post? How much and how quick is the engagement on the post? If there are a lot of people liking, sharing and saving it is more likely to appear on the explore page. 

History – Have you interacted previously with a person on their content. You may not follow them but you may have interacted with them before, so you will likely be shown it again. 

Activity – The type of content that you like, save share, engage with on the explore page is going to be shown. 

The person – If in the last few weeks a post has been popular it is likely to land on the explore page. 

Via the explore page you can search by keywords and hashtags to discover content and research hashtags you would like to use. You can see what others in your field are doing. 

Your account

  1. Make sure that you use great captions and hashtags that are in your niche. This creates an opportunity for your posts to land on the explore page of others looking for content just like yours.
  2. Use scheduling software like Later, Buffer or Hootsuite, plus you can schedule directly through Facebook Business.


So, if you have been wondering how the Instagram algorithm works for your business I hope this blog has given you some further insight.

If you need help looking after your Instagram or other social media platforms, contact Kelly @ My Sassy Business. 

Reference: Later.com and Instagram.com 

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