On the outside looking in, Instagram’s decisions on how it serves up posts may look very confusing.

As Instagram grew over time, so did the complication of its algorithm. Prior to 2016, you would see items chronologically, regardless of just about everything else.

Well, 800 million users happened, and here we are with an algorithm that’s slightly more strategic! Here are a few ways to leverage engagement and relationships to get your business in front of more Instagram users.

How Does Engagement Get Measured?

Instagram measures how fast your post gets comments and gets liked, but it’s also measuring apples to apples. For example, if you’re posting at a certain time and day and it gets lots of engagement, but another post on that same time and day doesn’t, those get measured together.

If you’re lucky and you’re off to the races with your initial engagement, your post will be shown to a higher number of your friends and may get placed on the explorer page.

Relationships Matter: Here’s Why

If you’re regularly engaged with someone’s posts, Instagram is going to understand the strength of your bond with that person and show you more of those posts at the top of your feed. Loyalty matters when it comes to Instagram friendships!

If you’re regularly searching for a profile or sharing those posts with someone else in direct messages, Instagram will also take this as a sign that you’ll want to see these posts regularly.

Make Instagram Work for Your Business

Similar to any social media platform, it’s all about paying attention to the metrics. If you don’t already have an Instagram business account, try other tools that can help with determining engagement. The two most important factors are time of day and content of the post.

With business, it’s important to let go of the rigidity and have a bit of fun. Be human. Be engaging. And no stock photos. Never, ever.

It’s also worthwhile to explore Instagram stories, since these are also monitored for engagement. Pro tip: the polls are an excellent way to get engagement without a ton of effort!

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