No One Can See My Posts - How Does Instagram Smart Feed Work?

Every Instagrammer - no matter if this is a business owner, influencer, or regular user - has surely faced this: the reach is too low, no one can see your posts. Obviously, Instagram wants you to use its paid ads. But doesn’t it hurt when people who freely decided to follow you can’t get your posts? It sure does.

But what is the Instagram smart feed anyway?

Smart feed emerged on Instagram in 2016, and it’s identical to its sister-feed on Facebook. The main principle here is as follows: not you the one who decides which posts you will see, but artificial Instagram algorithms. These algorithms have a direct influence on your engagement rate and reach. If your engagement is low, well, bad luck. ER of your non-sponsored posts is now 1.9%. Isn’t it scary?

And that’s a kind of a marketing vicious circle - your engagement is low, the reach is low, too. Your low reach leads to low ER. Simple.

How does Instagram algorithm actually work?

There are three main principles of Instagram smart feed.

1. Timing
We put it in the first place because it may seem obvious that your last posts will appear in your followers’ feed better than those posted a week ago. But now Instagram relies more on the interaction with your content, not on time you posted it.

2. Interaction
First and foremost is the followers’ interaction with your content. Smart feed sees how many likes your posts get and in which period, how many comments it has and even how many people looked at it. You’ve probably noticed that accounts you’re no longer interested in disappeared from your feed.

Instagram builds your feed based not only on who you follow, but also on who you interact with - who you like, comment, share, and save.

3. Interests testing
Sometimes Instagram shows you posts of those you’ve once forgotten. The platform tests whether you will react to the content. If you do, the post keeps being shown to accounts with interests like yours.

Instagram also makes some assumptions if you’ll like posts or not. If algorithms are sure you will, then the content shows up on top of your feed.

How to outsmart the algorithms?

If some posts get a huge amount of likes and comments in a short period, then they get viral and Instagram kind of promotes them. But that’s not being said that you need tons of likes. Here’s what you should keep in mind. And put in practice.
  • Focus on the content instead. Make interesting posts, write engaging captions that will make your target audience interact with them.
  • Post regularly. Don’t make it from famine to feast. Ideally, upload one post a day because if you do more, reach is kind of dispersed on all of the posts and the general reach is low. If you want to bombard your followers with content, make Stories instead. To make it easier for you to post consistently, use special planners.
  • Be communicative. This rule works not only on social media. Talk to people, comment on their posts, reply in DM, and so on. That will help you to grow your account. Combin app is a helper for you here since it allows to search your potential followers and safely mass comment (considering Instagram daily limits) under their photos and videos. With Combin, you won’t waste your time on manual look-through millions of Instagrammers. All you need to do is adjust your search right.

Within Combin, you can either mass comment several posts automatically. (Yes, it is safe).

Or comment single posts.
  • Build your own Instagram aesthetics. Instagram is a visual social network, so it’s extremely important how your account looks.
  • Find your best timing. Analyze when your followers are more willing to integrate with you. Test different hours (they can vary throughout the week) and it’ll finally work.
  • Use hashtags. Hashtags are still an easy and free way to get new genuine followers. If you use the right and relevant hashtags that describe your business, mix tags of high and low density, then this strategy will work for you. You can search and attract followers within Combin with searching by hashtags.

Find potential followers with hashtag search, sort the results to get your target audience and interact with people right within the app.

Marketing is all about analysis. Use Instagram analytics to monitor what’s working and what isn’t or check Combin advanced analytics to achieve better results.

Adjust the statistics period and get an informative analysis of your account engagement.

How do Instagram algorithms work in Stories?

Yes, Stories, IGTV, and Explore Page are in danger zone as well. Instagram ranks them as it does with your feed.

You’re probably guessing that the Stories you see closer to your pic in the row are the ones of accounts you engage with very often. Check the rule about posting consistency - it works for Stories too.

Many users now are more likely to spend their time on Stories rather than feed, so if you want your followers to see your Stories, post them regularly.

Another tip is to test all new Instagram features. The platform often offers us different stickers, gifs, polls, quizzes, chats! Make it interesting and engaging. The more your followers interact with your Stories, the more chance you have to get into their feeds.

And IGTV too??

Algorithms here have the same principles as with Stories and feed. Currently, there are three categories of IGTV videos:
  1. For You category. These are the videos which algorithms find potentially interesting for you. This set is based on your interests.
  2. Following. Videos in this category belong to those you’re already following.
  3. Popular. The category shows all trending videos and ranks them by popularity.
So, should we be concerned about Instagram algorithms?

Only if we don’t understand how they work and what to do about them. Get a higher reach or ER is not rocket science. Just test what works for you, analyze it, and use tools for safe promotion, then you’ll kill it on Instagram.
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