instagram’s algorithm: why i’m excited + my latest trick for growing my instagram following

what you need to know about the instagram algorithm

People hate change, I get that. And with instagram’s huge announcement yesterday about changing everyone’s feed I’m hearing a lot of whining and complaining and nonsense about signing petitions and changing instagram’s mind.

My first reaction to the news was “oh man, here we go again.” But it didn’t take me long to change my tune. And here’s why:

These are the top three factors instagram will use to filter your content at the top of the new feed: likes, comments and searches.

And this to me is good news. This is good news for all of us who have really engaged, really genuine, really organic followings and people who haven’t purchased their followers. Really, absolutely.

People who have bought fake followers (yes, that’s a thing – a rampant thing) are going to have a serious uphill battle with the new instagram algorithm, because it’s all going to be about genuine engagement. Getting your posts shown will reward those who have real people following their accounts with real comments and real likes.

Basically, it’s going to get more expensive and more pointless to be a cheater.

And I think it’s actually gonna be good for people with smaller followings too! Because when I had smaller following, it was easier for me to engage one-on-one with a lot of my followers. I could respond to almost every single comment. In fact, until my Instagram hit 10,000 followers, I made sure I responded to every single comment. When someone said to me, “oh I love that outfit,” every time I would respond to them with a “aw thanks so much!” or a kissy-face emoji or a heart or something. Something that let that person know I saw them and appreciated them. Now with 71k+ followers, that’s much more difficult, but I try to catch all the genuine questions and still interact as much as possible.

Instagram told the Wall Street Journal that in addition to likes, comments, and searches, Instagram will evaluate users’ “relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post” to decide what will show at the top of the newsfeed.

I look at this and say to myself, “okay obviously I can’t have a personal relationship  with 71 thousand people on instagram.” But what I can control is my amount of engagement back and forth with my followers, making sure I’m posting content that they find beautiful or exciting or engaging, and that’s gonna tell the Instagram algorithm to keep showing my stuff to them.

My latest trick for growing my instagram goes right along perfectly with this new algorithm. And you might think this is silly hogwash nonsense, but I am telling you right now, it’s working for me.

Let me give you the back story first. When I started growing my instagram, I grew like a weed. I went from 0 to 10k in under a year, and I did it by working hard, posting 3-4 times a day, responding to and engaging with my readers, and posting content that people were excited to see in their feed.

But when instagram’s first algorithm happened, the one that started hiding my content from people, I complained and I complained a LOT. In fact, if you know me personally you’ve probably heard something come out of my mouth to the tune of “I’m so annoyed that my instagram has become stagnant,” or “it’s so frustrating, my instagram just isn’t growing like it used to!”

And it was true! I was trending to hit over 100k followers by the end of 2015 but after instagram’s first algorithm, my growth almost came to a screeching halt. My followers weren’t seeing my stuff, and it was obvious. Incredibly frustrating, considering the fact that I’ve taught classes on how to grow your instagram following at blog conferences, to large corporations, and I just could not figure this one out.

But what I recently realized I was doing was MANIFESTING that crap out loud! There is SO MUCH POWER in what you say out loud. So if you walk around saying all day that you can’t achieve something, you’ll tell yourself and everything around you that you can’t. You’re making it worse.

So what I decided to do a couple of weeks ago was to turn it around. I started saying out loud every day, “oh my gosh, my instagram is growing like a weed again! I can’t believe how many new followers found my account today. This is amazing!” I said it out loud and I said it several times a day, out loud. I put a reminder on my iPhone wallpaper screen to manifest positivity about my instagram growing. And guess what? I grew 4 times faster over the course of one week than I had the entire previous month. Anthropologie re-grammed me to their 2 million followers, friends were tagging their friends more in my photos, and GOOD THINGS just started happening to me! There’s POWER in our words. Especially the words we say out loud.

So you want to beat the new algorithm? You’re not going to do it by complaining, wailing, weeping, or ranting. You’re going to do it by having a positive outlook and saying it so much out loud that you start to believe yourself. It will sound something like this: “Instagram’s algorithm is a good thing because it rewards people who have a genuine, engaged following.”

Most importantly, you’re going to trigger that algorithm by having a genuine relationship with your real followers that you didn’t buy from some cheater site, but by engaging with the people who pressed “follow” in the first place because they believed in your ability to make their day more beautiful, fun, interesting or inspiring.

 

 

photo by emmy lowe from this past post

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Comments

Ashley:

I think that’s great for bloggers and businesses. But for a mom who recently went into heart failure it’s my way to connect. Through IG I don’t have to answer every phone call and text, but still let my friends and family that I’m okay, or that I’m not ok. I could care less about followers. It’s a way that I can journal and also keep in touch with others that I choose to care about. I don’t want to dig through what’s popular or current. You are on my list and I’ve followed you for a long time. I’m just not a fan. Not thrilled. Life happens chronologically so should IG.

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Corrine:

I can totally understand where you’re coming from with that. But I still see my friends’ updates on facebook and since fb & ig are owned by the same people, I think we can count on the same type of algorithm here. What I’m saying is, I think it’s going to be okay 🙂

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Tori:

I also welcome the change! As a blogger and brand we should 100% be posting with a clear content strategy and goal to grow an engaged following. This algorithm change will only keep us in check. If I’m not doing a good job at that, well I shouldn’t be top of feed, right?!

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Corrine:

Yes exactly! 🙂

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Stephanie:

As a mom I like to scroll through my photos and be able to choose and look at them in a block together. Like when we went on vacation all my Hawaii photos are in one spot. When my babies were born I can easily go to and see the birth photos and how they’ve been growing. It does make me sad that I won’t be able to scroll through them in chronological order I understand this is a good thing for businesses but for my personal account I would much rather keep it chronological, since it really is like a journal for me and our family’s life

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Corrine:

I totally get that, but think about what it’s like when you log into facebook. You still see stuff that just recently happened, and I actually like this for big life events like when babies are born! Because facebook’s algorithm (and I’m sure instagram’s will be the same) pushes posts to the top like births or big announcements (pregnancy, job, new home, engagement etc) so I feel like I see those big important events from my friends’ lives because of the algorithm. I see the other side of it too, but I think if we just try to look at it from a positive light everyone will have a better experience.

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Rachel:

I am a newer fashion blogger with a small following so for me I am just going to keep doing what I am doing and stay true to myself. I think having a real engagement with your followers is the most important thing and hopefully that will continue. 🙂

Rachel
Simply Rachel Nicole

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Janssen:

This is why I read your blog – I love how positive and upbeat you are, and it’s the reason you’re one of two fashion blogs I read (the other being my sister’s. Ha!).

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Corrine:

janssen! that comment just made my day. thank you!

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Tiffany:

Loved this! As a small business owner, in fashion no less– I have learned to look at the glass half full because there will always be challenges, and learning curves– this is a prime example of one of them. Positivity is key, and I love how you exude it! Sending you an email shortly! — xx Tiffany

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Corrine:

Positivity is the key – yes! Thanks for weighing in Tiffany!

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Jackie:

Great post, Corrine! You’re so encouraging to amateurs and newcomers like myself who are trying to figure this out and gain followers the honest way. Thanks for the tips and positive vibes!

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Corrine:

Thank you so much Jackie!

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Kristina:

I completly agree! Manifesting is a huge part of success! Thank you so much for this post!

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Corrine:

Thanks Kristina! I’m so glad you agree!

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Kylie:

Loved reading this + loved your positive affirmations! I totally agree that it’s going to just stop people from buying followers (finally!) since they have no real interactions. My main concern is that now you’ll have to pay to “sponsor” or “boost” your posts if you truly want to be seen, especially for smaller accounts. I’m all about having a positive attitude and I’m actually a little excited to see how all of this is going to change, but the truth is that we’re going to see those types of sponsored and paid posts just shoot way up and that’s something I can never stand behind. Any thoughts or advice for that?!

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Corrine:

Thanks Kylie! You know I totally understand where you’re coming from, but there are many people who have grown their following organically on facebook (whose algorithm I assume will be much like instagram’s) without paying for sponsored or boosted posts. Obviously that’s going to be an option (it already is – through the facebook power editor), but if you don’t have the budget to do that, you can post really engaging content that will trigger the algorithm to show your posts to your people. This podcast is a great example of that, I highly recommend it if you have a small business you’re trying to grow on social media!

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Natalie:

Hey girl! I love this post! I have been working on a content website with my former-therapist-now-friend and her entire practice is based on “change your thinking, change your life.” Being mindful of the conversation in your head and changing that conversation does truly change your world. It’s amazing stuff. xo

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Jess B:

I’m honestly confused about notifications. I don’t have “push notifications” turned on and I really don’t want to login and be notified of who posted. Is this really the only way to make sure I see posts of the people I follow?!?!? As a busy mom of 2 this is sounding more stressful. I get what you’re saying about fake followers but still!

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Corrine:

Nope, there’s a reason I didnt’ ask my followers to turn on push notifications. The best way to keep seeing the people you love in your feed is to interact with them!! LIKE and comment on their photos, and that will tell the algorithm to keep them in your feed 🙂

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