It’s happened to all of us.
It’s happened to me.
I’ll never forget the first time.
I woke up one morning, and it was like every other morning.
Alarm. Bathroom. Coffee. Instagram.
By this time of day, I’d normally be closing in on around 100+ likes on my latest Instagram post. Instagram symbolizes likes with red hearts and – not going to lie – I love seeing hearts first thing in the morning. Makes me feel like I’m in a stable, loving (but not suffocating) relationship.
I’ll usually admire the hearts for a few moments and then take on the rest of my day. Everything will be good and right in the world.
But, not this morning. Something was off. Something was… different.
Only 20 likes.
Must be a glitch, I told myself. Maybe Instagram was down overnight. Maybe the Internet broke. Maybe it was Mercury Retrograde.
They say the first stage of grief is Denial.
This was me in denial.
Sure, I was uncomfortable. Something wasn’t right. But Instagram and I had been through a lot together and I believed in us.
Until the next morning.
Alarm. Bathroom. Coffee. Instagram. AND OMG ONLY THREE LIKES. WHAT IS HAPPENING?!!?
I officially descended into the second stage of grief, which is Anger. Or perhaps more accurately in my case, Blinding Rage.
Was I being ghosted by Instagram?
What did I do wrong, Instagram? I thought we had it so good. Why did you have to ruin everything, Instagram? I didn’t change, did you change? Should I change? I can change.
I was now in the third stage of grief: Bargaining.
(That didn’t take too long.)
I hung out in Bargaining. Because that’s my job. I knew a new version of the Instagram algorithm must have surfaced and destroyed my account’s visibility.
There was only one thing left for me to do… hack the algorithm. Just like they do in the movies.
Except this was real life.
Okay – so no one can really “hack” Instagram, because the nerds who create and maintain social media algorithms are – let’s face it – smarter and better than most of us.
But there are things you can do to regain Instagram’s favor should the two of you hit a rough patch in your love affair. The key to spicing things up with Instagram, is to just give it what it wants. Just make Instagram happy and you’ll be reaping the hearts again in no time.
Here are just a few ways to hack the Instagram algorithm if this social media app suddenly decides to lose that loving feeling…
Post at different times.
You will only have access to this valuable data if you have upgraded to an Instagram Business account.
Upgrading your account is free and if you’re using Instagram, you should absolutely have a Business account.
Post more often, or less often.
One of the reasons you might see a dip in likes is because you are not posting often enough.
Or, you might be posting too much.
Experiment a bit either way, and see what happens.
Whatever you do, you need to post with consistency so that Instagram and your following realize that you’re a seriously engaged user.
Post something different once in a while.
If you’re posting the same type of content all the time, you might want to shake things up a bit.
If you usually post inspirational quotes, for example, try throwing in a photo depicting your personal life once in a while. The usual go-to subjects include: babies, travels, pets, food, and coffee.
Instagram was originally designed to showcase the day-to-day lives of real people, and followers tend to respond favorably to behind-the-scenes or personal photos, even if your account is for business practices.
Showing your hobbies and leisure activities will make you seem like more of a real person. Just mind your personal brand as you would your business brand.
Change up your hashtags.
Hopefully, you are already using hashtags to get more visibility on Instagram.
If you’re not using hashtags, it’s no wonder why Instagram hates you.
You can easily compile a list of hashtags by observing what your competitors are using, and also just by seeing what related hashtags come up in Instagram’s search option.
You’re allowed to use up to 30 hashtags per post, and you can change up these hashtags every post to maximize your reach.
Like and comment on other people’s posts.
Nobody likes a taker.
Engage with your followers as much as you’d like them to engage with you.
Like their posts. Like their comments on your posts. Respond to their comments. Leave comments on their posts.
Do this every day.
Don’t take the social out of social media. Be a giver, and you will be rewarded.
Create better content.
If the aforementioned tricks aren’t working, you may have to face the reality that the problem runs deeper.
Maybe it’s not them.
Maybe it’s you.
But the truth is, if your content isn’t that great to begin with, you’re never going to win over Instagram.
Do you know how to produce great content? It starts with knowing your audience, and then sharing information that resonates with your audience.
You might even have to go as far as revisiting your branding.
You will also want to make sure your Instagram posts include a firm call-to-action (CTA). A CTA can be as basic as “like my post” or “leave a comment.”
Don’t get depressed and do something stupid.
The fourth stage of grief is Depression.
Depression is serious. It’s also when we do a lot of stupid things.
Do not panic when you see a drop in Instagram likes and go out and buy fake followers and likes.
Remember when I said that algorithm nerds are smarter than most people… they will see right through this ruse.
Don’t give in to the allure of vanity numbers. They are shallow and meaningless.
Don’t embarrass yourself.
You are better than this.
Instead, concentrate your efforts on being of value, being engaged, and creating great content.
Accept that fluctuations are normal.
The fifth and final stage of grief is Acceptance.
Look – algorithms happen. Algorithms change. Just when you think you know an algorithm, they’ve decided they’re just not that into you.
If you experience a crash in likes, the sooner you accept what’s happening and take action, the better.
Furthermore, understand that you are never permanently off the hook.
There will be other algorithms, and they will catch up to you if you get complacent again.
The trick is to keep changing things up and try new things (videos are very hot right now on Instagram).
Always stay ahead of the game.
See other people platforms.
Never fall in love with any single social media platform, especially when it comes to business.
Redirect your Instagram traffic to clickable link in your profile for a free ebook or download enabling you to grow your email list.
Growing your email list will make you immune to fluctuations in your social media platforms that are all but out of your control.
If you see a sudden drop in your Instagram likes and overall engagement, you need to act quickly. Try posting at different times of the day. You can also try posting more often or lower the frequency of your posts. Post something different once in a while, and change up your hashtags. Engage more with your followers. Work on creating better content. Whatever you do, do not panic and do not buy fake followers and likes. Fluctuations in engagement are to be expected, and you can build an immunity to them if you focus on building your email list.