Hack the new Instagram Algorithm, boost Engagement, Follow-Unfollow practice and fake accounts. All on my #SocialMediaTalks Instagram Live Session 2

Got a question on how to use Instagram better for your brand? Hop on for the live #SocialMediaTalks

As my Instagram audience grew to 20k and one to one connections with my following became increasingly difficult I started exploring options to connect  with my audience one-to-many.

Solution: Instagram Live. So in 2018 I will go LIVE once a week for #SocialMediaTalks to answer questions and share experience.

Here’s a snapshot of what I addressed this week on my second #SocialMediaTalks live session

Question 1: How can I grow my account?

My answer: Start with my Instagram guide. I covered the basics there. And make sure you subscribe to my Instagram and YouTube for more.

Question 2: Did the algorithm change again???

My answer: Unfortunately, yeah, boo, the Instagram algorithm changed again in January ’18. It’s not impacting everybody at the same time, from what I saw they are doing a gradual roll-out over 4 weeks.

The problem isn’t necessarily the drop in engagement (tisc tisc vanity, vanity). The problem is that your content is no longer seen by your following, which sucks because a. you put heart into it and b. i bet it brings value.

Question 3: How can I keep my engagement up?

My answer: Instagram says it will prioritize Quality Content. The thing is the only way for the platform to figure out what content is high quality is to measure the reaction your following has to it. In other words:

  • Your content will be distributed in the first stage (up to one hour) to only a fraction of your following. People say 10%
  • The more those 10% react to it, the more the platform will share it to the remaining.
  • Therefore, make sure you post at the right time, when your following is active. For me, that’s generally 9:30 am weekdays and 10 am to 12 pm weekends.
  • Word’s out that Instagram will no longer be prioritizing emoji comments so include calls to action to encourage relevant interactions over comments.
  • Apparently, your engagement is also taken into consideration. Make sure you reply to every comment you get, especially in the first hour and leave a relevant comment of more than 4 words.

Question 4. What’s the ideal balance between number of followers and number of likes and comments I should get?

My answer: It depends on the number of followers: meaning the smaller the following, the bigger the engagement (% ), and it’s absolutely normal for engagement (%) to decrease as your account grows by the thousands. But a good rule of thumb is that 4-6% is normal for accounts with under 10.000 followers. For example, an avereage for a 5.000 followers account should be 250 likes per photo (5% * 5.000).

Question 5. What’s your take on the whole Follow-Unfollow madness? 

My answer: Oh, honey, I have a whole theory here!!

Thing is the best way to grow your account is for you to engage first: leave genuine likes and comments and follow people. The problem starts when you start acting like RoboMan with no ethics and follow a thousand people today only to unfollow them one week from now. It’s rude, people feel lied to and it can turn really awkward (translation: bad PR) for you when people start calling you out.

My approach and recommendation here is: be very, very mindful! Feel free to reach out and connect with your target audience. However, foster relationships with the people that choose to follow you back. Attention is not something to be taken for granted.

Question 6. I saw I have a lot of weird accounts following me (fake followers) and I know they’re bad for engagement. Should I block them?

My answer: That is natural. Fake accounts kind of pop-up for everybody but then disappear gradually: they either unfollow you or they get erased so I would’t worry too much about them. Worry only if you have thousands upon thousands of fake accounts and they are a substantial mass in your following. Translation: Don’t buy fake followers.


That’s it for this weeks’ session. For more advice on Instagram, make sure you download the guide, follow my account for the next updates and tune in live.

For a strategy tailored to your brand, register for a 121 session.

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