Have you ever wondered if there is any way to cheat the Instagram algorithm?
In short, the answer is yes – and no shady tactics like engagement capsules or pay-per-like programs are required.
Just understand how the algorithm worksand how you can optimize your content strategy for it is the best way to gain an advantage.
Can you really cheat the Instagram algorithm?
Ultimately, the Instagram algorithm (or, more precisely, multiple algorithms) is designed to deliver the content to users that they are most likely to engage with.
When it comes to cheating the system, the best tactic is to give the algorithm exactly what it needs to do its job properly.
With that in mind, here are 8 strategies you can use now to get an advantage with the Instagram algorithm:
- Be consistent in your niche
- Share content when your target audience is most active
- Encourage comments and likes
- Customize your posts for Instagram SEO
- Improve your hashtag strategy
- Embrace new Instagram features
- Post stories with engagement stickers on a regular basis
- Split original content on rolls (without TikTok watermarks)
Algorithm Hack # 1: Be Consistent in Your Niche
The Instagram algorithm is constantly learning from you. Every post you share, every hashtag you use, and every commitment you make gives the algorithm an indicator of what your account is about.
The more you bet, the more you get out.
With that in mind, one of the best ways to continuously evolve the algorithm is if you are consistent across your niche (from the content you post to the accounts you interact with).
The easier it is for the algorithm to “categorize” your account and its content, the more likely your posts will be shown to users who have previously shown interest in your niche.
Once the algorithm has a strong clue about your niche, your profile is more likely to show up with relevant audiences in suggested profiles to follow, recommended roles, and explore page results.
Algorithm Hack # 2: Share content when your target audience is most active
Another way to increase your performance with the Instagram algorithm is to post when your followers are most active and engaged.
This increases the likelihood of likes, comments, and shares as your community is more “turned on” than distracted from work or school.
And that engagement is a great indicator of the Instagram algorithm. The more engagement your post gets, the more likely it will be served to more users.
However, knowing exactly when your target audience is most active can be difficult as each account is slightly different.
You can find yours unique best time to post by looking into your Instagram analytics or using Later’s Best time to post feature.
Later, your top seven posting times for the week will be automatically calculated based on your audience’s activity over the past month. This makes it easy to reach your target audience when they are busiest.
Discover your best times to post by upgrading to one of Later starter, growth, or advanced plans today!
One of the most important ways to hack the Instagram algorithm is to encourage as many engagements as possible.
According to Instagram, comments, likes, reshares, and video views are the top engagements for feed ranking.
The best way to encourage more of these commitments? Add a powerful call to action on your post captions!
It can be as simple as asking your community a question or asking them to tag a friend in the comments to partake in your latest giveaway.
Would you like to improve your subtitling strategy? Discover all of our top tips in The Ultimate Guide to Writing Good Instagram Captions.
Algorithm Hack # 4: Customize Your Posts for Instagram SEO
As already mentioned, the Instagram algorithm constantly “interprets” your posts so that you can categorize your content and make it available to the right target group.
In the early days, this categorization likely relied heavily on the hashtags a user had included in a post.
However, now with Instagram, users can do that “search by keyword” In several countries, the algorithm also handles visual content and subtitle semantics.
With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to optimize your posts for Instagram SEO:
- Write descriptive captions with relevant, frequently searched keywords.
- Write manually Alt text for your Instagram posts. To do this, tap on “Advanced Settings” in the publishing process and select “Write alternative text”. Instagram uses image recognition software to automatically generate a description if you don’t manually enter alternative text. However, this is often inaccurate or not detailed enough.
- Include up to 30 relevant hashtags in your post caption or first comment.
Algorithm Hack # 5: Improve Your Hashtag Strategy
Instagram’s search capabilities may have evolved over the years, but the humble hashtag still plays a huge role in categorizing your content.
If you’re looking to improve your hashtag strategy, these four tips are a good place to start:
- Make sure your hashtags are relevant on the content of your post, your target group, your industry, your location or your brand.
- Get inspiration from trend posts in your niche. Check out relevant content on your Instagram Explore page and write down frequently used hashtags.
- Use hashtags with a healthy number of postsbut avoid over-saturated ones. Anything between 10K and 250K gives your content the best chance of being seen.
- Avoid forbidden hashtags. Even seemingly harmless hashtags can end up on the blocked list. So do your due diligence and do an Instagram search for every hashtag you use.
TIP: The Saved Captions feature from later is great for saving curated lists of hashtags for different content topics. When it’s time to plan, all you have to do is click to add the right bunch of hashtags to your caption or first comment – it’s that simple!
Algorithm Hack # 6: Embrace New Instagram Features
One of the greatest ways to hack the Instagram algorithm is to get access to the latest features quickly.
On Instagram, new functions are highlighted in order to promote acceptance. Hence, getting a grip on them while the competition is still low can be a huge advantage.
To take Instagram roles for example. Instagram has prioritized roles in users’ home feeds for the past 6 months – with early adopters achieving important results.
“Since we launched Reels on our Instagram channel last year, our engagement has increased by 280%,” shares Later’s social media manager. Christine Colling. “Roles have become a critical part of our social media strategy.
Instagram roles are still a great opportunity for developers to “hack” the algorithm, but new features are being introduced all the time. Instagram guides are still in their infancy and might be one to watch.
Do you want to improve your Instagram Reels strategy? Discover the top Instagram Reels Hacks That You Need To Know In this video:
Algorithm Hack # 7: Post Stories With Engagement-Driving Stickers Regularly
Interactions are a great indicator of the Instagram algorithm – and Instagram Stories Stickers are one of the fastest and easiest ways to increase your engagement.
survey, Emoji slider, and quiz Stickers are fun and have a super low barrier to entry which makes them a quick win for audience interaction.
Question stickerOn the flip side, they’re a great way to spark DM conversations, which suggests a deeper, more personal relationship with the Instagram algorithm.
Instagram stories are often more personal because of their short-lived format. Take this opportunity by verbally encouraging your audience to share what they think – either by voting in a poll or responding in a DM.
Algorithm Hack # 8: Split Original Content into Rolls (No TikTok Watermarks)
As mentioned earlier, Instagram roles are a serious growth hack right now – but there is a catch.
Instagram has confirmed that the Role algorithm Deprioritizes roles with a TikTok watermark and prefers the original role content instead. Similarly, poor quality or blurry content is penalized.
With that in mind, the best way to hack the Reels algorithm is to create original, high quality content right in the Reels editor.
So you have eight ways to improve your ranking with the Instagram algorithm.
These tips can be used as a basis for your posts. Ultimately, the best way to gain favor with the algorithm is to keep your audience at the center of your strategy.
Building authentic relationships with your followers is the most powerful way to “cheat” the algorithm and always gives measurable results for your brand or business.
Are you ready to optimize your posts for the Instagram algorithm? Start planning and planning your posts with Later. Join Now – it’s free!
Jillian is a content marketer at Later in the UK. She loves London brunch spots and loves podcasts about real crime. You can connect with her on Instagram @ jillwrren.