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How to Beat the 2021 Instagram Algorithm – Written by an Influencer

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Post Summary: How to beat the 2021 Instagram algorithm, how it works and tips I used to get over 100,000 followers!

2021 Instagram Algorithm - How it Works

My Experience with the IG Algorithm: As an Influencer

Oh hayyyyyy there. I’m Dani and a full-time lifestyle and travel blogger and photographer based in the desert if you’re new here. 

In other words, I am a full-time influencer. As an influencer, I travel full-time and get paid to take photos of my adventures along the way. I write blogs with travel tips and post about brand products I love on Instagram. I wouldn’t trade my job for anything, but I’ve been around the block long enough to know what you’re thinking: lmao, trust fund, baby!

Anddddddd if you think that, well, you’re mistaken. I am far from inheriting a trust fund anytime soon. The truth is, I was fired from my first job out of college and decided to lean in on my photography hobby to see where it would take me. 

At the time, I had NO idea that posting on Instagram would lead me to work with travel and tourism boards and brands I love like Mazda, Adobe, TripAdvisor, Marriott, American Express, Travel & Leisure, and a whole lot more.

Instagram handed me a career! And after years of putting in work, I have amassed a following of 100,000+ Explorers. Now I also coach aspiring influencers and content creators on how to become full-time influencers and make money on Instagram.

But you didn’t come here for my story. Instead, you came here because you want to know the ‘secrets’ behind beating the IG algorithm…

Since Instagram is my bread and butter, I frequently keep up with the new Instagram algorithm to stay relevant in this field. 

Therefore, as I learn, I will continue to pass along the knowledge I have on the “algo” in the hopes that it can help someone else build a career on the platform. 

This brings me to a critical point that I must stress before getting into the good stuff: this blog is purely for educational purposes, and I am speaking from EXPERIENCE. The tips I share are from my research and experimentation with the 2021 Instagram algorithm on my page.

Sunrise at Reflection Canyon in Utah

2021 Instagram Algorithm: How it Does NOT Work (Please Read)

The Instagram algorithm CANNOT be “hacked” or shortcutted in any way. It shows users more of what they want, they want. 

To be more transparent, Instagram has recently created more materials detailing how the algorithm works. So I do encourage you to read up on those as well. However, from experience, sometimes what a platform says works differs from what users like myself find true. But again, there is no way to “hack” the algorithm. We’ll get more into that, but I want to make it very clear that if you’re aspiring to gain 100,000+ followers as I have, this isn’t something you’re going to accomplish overnight. 

This blog would not be for you if you came here for easy “shortcuts” or ways to “cheat” the system.

K, now that we got that out of the way let’s move onto the good ish!

What is the IG algorithm?

Spoiler alert: Instagram recently let everyone know that there is no one god-almighty-ruling-overseeing algorithm. Instagram’s interface is made up of multiple algorithms, all doing a bunch of robot techy stuff that you and I probably won’t understand.

For example, the way you experience Reels is different from the way you experience static in-Feed posts. This is because each item has its own algorithms that work in various ways.

REGARDLESS, their purpose is the same: to personalize the user experience and show you more of the things you like/ are likely to interact with on Instagram.

Now, this blog can probably turn into an encyclopedia’s worth of information if I sat here and wrote about all the algorithms and their functions. But that would literally do nothing for you because here is the hard truth no one wants to tell you:

If you want to “beat” the new Instagram algorithm and grow a following, you have to post good content that people want to interact with. 

Therefore, if you’re not doing that, every tip, hack, secret, etc., that you ever read won’t get you anywhere.

Let’s get more into why that is. For the duration of this blog, I will lump the “algorithms” into the singular algorithm. If I’m speaking from experience: very similar things happen with all the different subsets of the 2021 Instagram algorithms. If you follow the same basic principles AND are posting good content, you’ll be Gucci. 

New Instagram Algorithm: How it Works in 2021

In case you missed it: the Instagram algorithm works by noting what content you enjoy and aims to show you similar content pieces to that. 

By understanding this fundamental principle, we can use this information to create content our followers/ potential followers will love and want to interact with. The more we do this, the more relevant we will be on Instagram, which will result in us showing up on our followers’ Feeds more frequently.

Let’s continue this discussion by going into what we know about the algorithm – the nitty-gritty stuff.

Larches in fall at Banff National Park

Instagram Algorithm Change: What We Know

With the addition of Instagram Reels, Guides, Collaborator Posts, and more to come, indeed, figuring out how to beat the IG algorithm year to year can be time-consuming!

What metrics do we even use to measure our success when trying to beat the algorithm?

If you’re looking to work with brands on Instagram, unfortunately, keeping up with the algorithm is a must. But why? While brands don’t necessarily care about how many likes you have, brands pay attention to an influencer’s engagement rate. A good engagement rate helps signal that a content creator has authentic relationships with their followers. 

So let’s talk about the algorithm “must-knows” next. 

Once we understand these, we will have a better idea of keeping our communities engaged as we continue to grow!

#1: The IG Algorithm Keeps Tabs on What You Like/ Enjoy

Ever notice that when you like a specific type of post, you seem to see more of them? That’s because the IG algorithm factors in how/ what you engage with and predicts that’s the content you care about. Those actions help determine the order of your newsFeed. This algorithm feature also determines what type of content you will see in the future.

We’ve talked about this pretty extensively at this point, though.

I also want to point out that just because Instagram allows users to hide likes, that doesn’t mean likes are going away. You can still double-tap a photo that will signal to the 2021 Instagram algorithm that you want to see more content like this in the future. Likewise, your followers can like content as well.

#2: The IG Algorithm Watches How You Engage

Hypothetically speaking, if you comment or are even tagged in someone’s posts often, then there is a higher chance that you will end up in that individual’s “important” category

Some other popular Instagram resources also refer to this as the “friends and family” category. 

What does that mean? You’re telling the algorithm, “Hey, this person is important to me, and I want to see more of them on my Feed.”

#3: The IG Algorithm Considers Time

Instagram wants to show its followers the latest and greatest, which means time is a factor you must always consider! If you pay attention to when most of your followers are online, they’ll be more likely to see your content! 

I suggest having an Instagram creator account so that you can keep up with analytics. Keeping up with analytics will also help you measure other important metrics for beating the new Instagram algorithm.

PLEASE note that there is no “perfect” time to be posting on Instagram, so don’t overthink this piece. You basically wouldn’t be doing yourself any favors by posting when most of your followers are offline.

#4: The IG Algorithm Considers Post Frequency

The more time you spend on the Instagram app, the more likely Instagram will show you fresh content. The same goes for your followers! So if you’re a frequent flyer on the app, it will sort your newsFeed more chronologically. 

Again, the Instagram algorithm wants you to see the fresh stuff. So Instagram users who check the app less often will most likely be shown popular content – like highlights from the day.

I have first-hand experience with this. Every time I take a break from the app, I am shown almost a highlight reel of posts from people I follow.

If we think about this from a posting perspective, the more you post consistently, the more your content will appear on your followers’ Feeds. 

When you, as a creator, take a break (which I DO believe is essential), the algorithm is less likely to “reward” you.

I don’t like using that kind of language, but the best way I can put it is, if you’re consistently and frequently posting engaging content, your content will continue to show up for your followers and new followers. 

Whether a follower opens IG every day or other day, your content will be there if YOU post frequently.

Now that we understand some of the 2021 Instagram algorithm(s) basics let’s summarize and talk about how to “beat” it.

Instagram Algorithm Ranking Factors

Okay, so when it comes to your newsFeed, it looks like there are four main points the IG algorithm considers (we just discussed these). We can put these points into two categories. So let’s talk more about those and what they have to do with the algorithm.

Ranking Factor #1: Engagement/ Activity

The Instagram algorithm in 2021 works by showing users the content they are likely to engage with. As previously stated, have you ever noticed that when you like someone’s posts, you tend to see more of them on your Feed? 

If you scroll down your Feed long enough, you will see posts from most accounts you follow. But, typically, you have to scroll very far, and Instagram will eventually stop you from scrolling with a “You’re all caught up now!” note. I tried this, and it took a LONG time to get to the “bottom” of my newsFeed.

It’s not likely that your followers will do that, right? So your best bet is to create content you know your followers will engage with. Now, I tell all of my #Sponsored Bootcamp students this, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up posting the content YOU like.

I believe in balance. And if you’re not creating the content you enjoy, you won’t be attracting the followers you want. So, therefore, post the content you like, and the followers who wish to engage with that content will come.

Regardless, Instagram is a social media app, and you should therefore be social (derp). Aim to create content that fosters community via engagement.

I would also take into account that you should be engaging with your followers. Please don’t take this as you need to engage with every damn post on your newsFeed or hashtag pages; that’s all a fat waste of time. Just focus on building authentic relationships. When someone comments on your posts, take two seconds to tell them “thank you!”

Ranking Factor #2: Time

Instagram is a social platform that makes money from ads. So the easiest way for your followers to see company ads is to keep your followers on the app longer

That means that the more time you keep your followers on the app, the more the 2021 Instagram algorithm will favor you. MUAHAHA.

Sounds spooky, I know, but regardless this means you must post content frequently and consistently. I have had a call with Instagram, and they do NOT have a number of posts they recommend, but they DO suggest that creators stick to a posting schedule.

If you want to post three times a week, STICK TO THAT. By doing so, you’ll get your followers into a routine of seeing your content. If it’s engaging, then those posts will continue to pop up on their newsFeeds.

And, of course, we want to be posting when our followers are online.

Instagram has also stated that when content is being “ranked” on the newsFeed, they consider how frequently a creator “showed up” that week. Above all else, I would consider “time” to be of utmost importance here.

How the 2021 Instagram Algorithm Works in Sum

  1. How Does The Instagram Algorithm Work in 2021?
    1. The Instagram algorithm watches what you like
    2. The Instagram algorithm looks at how you engage
    3. The Instagram algorithm keeps tabs on time
    4. Frequency is used to sort posts
  2. Two Factors for Beating The New Instagram Algorithm
    1. Engagement
      1. Engage with your followers
      2. Create content your followers will enjoy engaging with
    2. Timing
      1. Post when your followers are online
      2. Post frequently & consistently

Okay, so now that we know how the algorithm works and what we need to do to beat the IG algorithm, let’s talk about specific tactics you can use daily and beyond in your social media strategy.

Sunset at Mount Rainier

How often do I need to post to beat the Instagram algorithm?

To beat the 2021 Instagram algorithm, most folks suggest you post daily. However, Instagram doesn’t and has never had a specific content posting suggestion for users to follow. So I think the better question is, what should you be consistently doing as a content creator to grow?

The items listed below should happen every day if you want to increase engagement and grow. Treat this like a checklist.

I have used these same techniques to grow my page. I break these things down in the next section.

  • Post Posts
  • Post Reels
  • Post Stories
  • Reply to your DMs
  • Respond to Comments
  • Engage with Accounts You Follow
  • Color Grade Your Feed (to a point)

MAJOR disclaimer: if you CANNOT post content daily, don’t bother. Find a post frequency that is SUSTAINABLE and works for you! If that means three times a week, then do that.

I suggest making a goal then working up to daily posting. Currently, I post about three times a week, and as my schedule permits, I will be increasing to daily posts. Consistency is just as important as frequency, so we want to avoid burnout as much as possible.

Sure, daily posting can help you reach your follower goals faster because naturally, more of your content will appear on newsFeeds, but it should still be quality content that both YOU AND YOUR FOLLOWERS enjoy. So if that isn’t doable right now, don’t sweat! Create a posting schedule that works for you. 

Posting Photos

Consistency gives your followers something to look forward to. Posting a photo to your newsFeed is probably the easiest way to keep your profile fresh.

Taking a new photo is as simple as pulling out your iPhone to capture a moment! I have found that nowadays, followers enjoy more candid iPhone moments over posed DSLR images. That’s probably why iPhone photo dumps are so popular these days.

Heck, you don’t even need to post new photos; you can certainly beat the Instagram algorithm by reposting older images. I’ll get into how to do this later.

Photos are how Instagram got its start, so while Instagram says it’s “not a photo-sharing app” anymore, my guess is people will continue to enjoy photos on there. They just won’t be the be-all-end-all.

We’re about to get more into this, but Reels will be much more critical for growth. Treat photos like a fun way to show your followers your work/ what you’re up to. They’re going to be an engagement driver above all else.

Posting Reels

How do Reels keep users engaged? Videos, in general, are great for storytelling and get more in-depth with the moment(s) you are trying to showcase to your audience. 

I recommend posting Reels at least three times a week!

I know video can be a daunting task, but you don’t have to do any crazy edits to post a video! Some of my top-performing Reels have been a simple panning iPhone video I took of the mountain-scape I was admiring at the moment. 

Reels seem to get shared across more users. If your Reels are relatable or entertaining and give people something to talk about, it is more likely to generate shares. 

When it comes to engagement, shares are valuable because it signals to the algorithm that a) your content is noteworthy and b) gets you in front of more eyeballs.

Not sure how to create high-performing Reels? I have a free Reels course you can take over five days to create Reels that help you grow your community.

Posting Stories

Stories are the easiest thing to post, in my opinion. They don’t have to be anything crazy special but act as another engagement driver with your current audience. 

I suggest posting around three-story frames a day (if possible for you). Make them fun! Use features like polls, quizzes, and questions to foster deeper connections with your audience. 

Stories won’t necessarily help your account grow, but they can help you keep your growing community engaged through the relationships they post. Again, we will go more in-depth with this later.

Replying to DMs

When someone takes the time to send you a message, it’s usually for a good reason. Because the IG algorithm aims to show off the most engaging pages/ content, you should be looking for the best ways to interact with your audience! Show them you care. Reply to those DMs, people.

Again, you want the Instagram algorithm to place you in your followers’ all special “friends and family” category. Replying to DMs is a great way to establish trust with followers and beat the algorithm. It’s also just important. You should want to develop meaningful connections with your followers.

Replying to Comments

See above. If we want to beat the 2021 Instagram algorithm, we need to engage! Your followers want to interact with you. 

Remember how I mentioned that you would put them in your “family and friends” category by interacting with your followers? You need to treat your followers like people and make sure you take the time to reply to them!

You can also look at your followers’ profiles and leave a thoughtful comment on their images! I love doing this trick because I have found accounts to follow that I didn’t know existed before

AND once Instagram saw me engaging with more of these specific accounts, I began to see more variety in my Explore Page. 

Color Grading Your Feed (to a point)

I do think a color-graded Feed helps with engagement. You want your followers to recognize your work and love it! New followers want to go onto your Feed, like multiple images, and scroll forever.

Having an overall “look” to your Feed will keep Instagram users interested in your content and the Instagram algorithm on your side

Color grading your Feed is also an excellent way to sell presets, prints, or anything of the like if you eventually want to not only beat the IG algorithm but make money from it too! 

Don’t think too far into this. Above all else, you should be posting good content and posting it frequently. Having a “style” should never prevent you from posting.

Your 2021 Instagram Algorithm Content Plan in Sum

  1. Post Photos When Possible
    1. If every day is too much, find a posting schedule that works for you and stick to it.
    2. You can also repost older content.
  2. Post Reels at Least 3x a Week
    1. Video can be scary, but a video can be as simple as you want it to be!
    2. I love posting iPhone videos.
  3. Post Stories Daily
    1. Stories are a fun way to stay top of mind with your audience!
  4. Reply To DMs Daily
    1. Show your followers some love and reply to DMs.
    2. People took the time to message you, so why not take the time to message them?
  5. Reply To Comments Daily
    1. The logic for replying to comments is the same as responding to DMs – it’s simply good form!
  6. Color Grade Your Feed as You Go
    1. Have a consistent editing style to your work so your followers can recognize it right away!
Sunset in Grand Teton National Park

Beating the IG Algorithm with a Solid Content Strategy

Okay, so you’re posting daily, replying to comments, answering DMs, but those are the easy tasks. So how do I get my audience to spend more time on the app? How do I create engaging content my audience will love? 

Let’s talk about using kickass content and the IG algorithm!

#1: Lean in on Reels

No one is saying you have to be a videographer to work in favor of the new Instagram algorithm, but creating simple Reels is an easy way to incorporate more video into your Feed.

A Reel can be as simple as an iPhone clip from your travels or a compilation of videos! I will say, however, that the easiest way to get ideas for Instagram Reels is by keeping up with trends. 

So I like to spend about 30 minutes watching Reels on IG to see what content people post.

Instagram also allows users to see what sounds are trending, so it’s pretty easy to source ideas for content these days. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel; just add your own spin on trending content.

And more relatable content means more engagement, which means you can beat the new Instagram algorithm. Plus, people spend more time watching videos than they do looking at pretty pictures. 

If you’re wondering what kind of Reels content you should be posting, sign up for my 5-day Reels challenge!

#2: Make Stories Fun

If you’re looking to beat the Instagram algorithm, you must, must, must use Instagram Stories! Instagram Stories are an easy way to end up at the top of your follower’s Feeds. Post multiple Stories in increments throughout the day.

Use polls, funny gifs, and “questions” stickers to keep your audience engaged. You can also incorporate videos into your Instagram Stories. I have a blog on how to get more views on Instagram Stories if you need more tips here.

Instagram Stories help you tell a complete story to your audience. They can watch you go to your fav cafe and sample coffee, then maybe take a poll on what pastry you should get. In other words, Stories are fun to get your audience hooked on your content for more extended periods!

#3: Use Hashtags Wisely

Hashtags are a bit hit or miss for me. I wouldn’t RELY on them, but I still use them. But, at the end of the day, if your content isn’t good, a hashtag will not save you.

I still like to use 30 hashtags on my photo posts, but I use around five on my Reels (Instagram suggested this to me on a call with them). Hashtags are simply a tool that will help you reach a new audience, but they will not be life-changing. 

If you want to learn more about hashtag strategy and research, I suggest checking out my #Sponsored Bootcamp course! There’s a whole lesson on this in there.

#4: Post Carousels Instead of One Photo

Remember, we want our followers to spend more time looking at what we post, so the Instagram algorithm favors us. So what better way to have time on your side than with a carousel post? 

Share a gallery of images, videos, or seamless panos to force your followers to take a minute to dive into your post. 

To beat the IG algorithm, I also love posting carousels of trips I’ve had in the past. For example, maybe I post images from all 5 Utah National Parks then talk about which one was my favorite in the caption! Carousels are a GREAT way to recycle old content!

#5: Upload to IGTV When You Can

Now, IGTV is great, but I wouldn’t go crazy with it if you don’t have the time. IGTV videos, from my experience, are another great way to drive engagement with your audience!

Long-form content keeps users engaged for much longer and can therefore foster a greater connection.

However, if you’re just dipping your toes into video, I think your time is better spent posting high-quality Instagram Reels.

#6: Write Microblog Captions

Now that Instagram is hiding likes, how do we get engagement on our posts? Okay, friend, let me drop some knowledge on you. Likes don’t tell you anything about your audience! Wouldn’t you rather have your followers sharing, saving, and commenting on your posts? AKA, actually engaging with you and not just double-tapping? SAY HELLO TO MICROBLOGGING.

A microblog caption is when you write an Instagram caption that is informative and tells your audience about a specific topic. For example, you could write the five steps to your morning routine, four must-see spots in XYZ location, fashion tips for INSERT SEASON, etc. 

Try it! I’ve been using microblogs to beat the 2021 Instagram algorithm as of late, and they’re a serious gamechanger.

The IG Algorithm and Content Strategy in Sum

  1. Lean in on Reels
    1. Again, you don’t have to be fancy, but switch things up with Reels if you want to beat the IG algorithm!
    2. Join my 0-100 5-Day Reels Challenge! In the challenge, you’ll learn what kind of Reels content to post, how to get more views, and other tips for converting potential followers into loyal fans! 
  2. Make Instagram Stories Fun
    1. Tell your audience a story from beginning to middle to end with the help of Instagram Stories. I love engaging my audience with the fun stickers Instagram has created, too!
  3. Use Hashtags Wisely
    1. Hashtags are also great for categorizing your content into niches full of people who might also love what you’re posting.
  4. Post Carousels Instead
    1. Recycle old content or share a series of your favorite videos + photos with a carousel.
    2. Carousels help you beat the Instagram algorithm because they’ll keep your audience looking at your content for a more extended period.
  5. Upload To IGTV
    1. IGTV is a great way to engage with your audience!
  6. Write Microblogs
    1. Switch up your captions and write something informative for your audience. You don’t have to be a blogger to microblog.

YOU’D LIKE: How To Write Better Instagram Captions With Microblogs

Sunset at Mt Adams

Instagram Reels Algorithm

If you only have time to make one piece of content in 2021, focus on Reels. Like everything else on Instagram, Reels have their own Instagram Reels algorithm, which I have found works pretty similar to what we discussed before. If a user likes a specific kind of Reel, they will see more of that.

So I want to discuss some tactics for creating Reels that get more views and thus expand your reach to new users. Here’s why:

Instagram recently came out with a statement saying they will be leaning more into short for video, and Instagram is no longer a photo-sharing app. 

Not all is lost, though! Even if photos are your central wheelhouse, by taking the time to adapt and experiment now, you’ll be on your way to growing with Reels. Let’s discuss a few ways you can create high-performing Reels. 

#1: Make Your Reels Valuable

We discuss this quite a bit in #Sponsored Bootcamp, but value-driven content is king. Value can come in many different forms, from entertaining to content that is relatable to teaching something.

Think about the kind of value you can bring to the table and how you can deliver that in a 15sec video.

#2: Tell a Story

Even though Reels are short, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a beginning, middle, and end. Your Reels should tell a cohesive story that is short, sweet, and engaging. 

Rather than try to think of a crazy creative Reel (which you can do), make things easier and find what’s trending! Are there ways you can add a spin to a trend, so it better fits your niche?

The Reels algorithm sources similar content and shows it to users it thinks will care most about the said content. Therefore, when you hop on a trend, the Reels algorithm is more likely to show your content to those who are currently obsessing over said trend. And if a trend has a corresponding hashtag, make sure you use that too.

Instagram Reels Algorithm in Sum

  1. Create Value-Driven Content
    1. Your Reels should be valuable in some way!
  2. Tell a Story
    1. Ensure that your Reels have a beginning, middle and end.
  3. Go All In on Trends
    1. Make your life easier and start by recreating trends on Instagram!

Instagram Algorithm & Stories

I’d like to emphasize that Stories won’t necessarily reach new users, but they help with engagement. For example, if new followers come to your profile but they get bored and unfollow, this can signal that your content isn’t relevant to the new Instagram algorithm. When that happens, the algorithm may hinder how often your content is discovered.

I love using Stories as a tool to foster relationships with my followers and keep them around for the long run. And I am placing an emphasis on Stories because I believe they’re the EASIEST form of content to create on Instagram.

#1: Post Stories Daily

The Instagram Stories you see at the top of your newsFeed are typically from those you engage with most when you open the app. 

As a result, Instagram Stories are now sprinkled throughout the main newsFeed in the Instagram algorithm’s attempt to ensure you don’t miss a moment!

Instagram accounts that post Stories daily will continuously appear on the top of followers’ accounts who they engage with most.

Instagram Stories also have neat features like stickers, quizzes, and GIFs that you can use to make your’s more engaging and beat the Instagram algorithm in 2021!

#2: Use New Features

Always find ways to use the newest features Instagram has to offer throughout the year! I have noticed an increase in my engagement when I take the time to see what new features Instagram adds and incorporate them into my page. 

The 2021 Instagram algorithm is bound to change throughout the year, so keep up with the latest and greatest!

More recently, Instagram launched a Quiz sticker, Questions Sticker, GIFS, new fonts, Captions, and Polls, which are accessible features to incorporate into your Stories! 

#3: Give Users a Reason to Watch All the Way Through

The last thing you want is for your followers to exit your Stories early. So ensure your Stories are engaging and easy to understand. 

Lately, I love the Caption feature, which allows Instagram to auto-generate captions based on what you say in your Stories.

This feature gives users something to read, which naturally keeps them engaged all the way through.

Instagram Algorithm & Stories in Sum

  1. Post Stories Daily
    1. The more you post Stories, the better chance you’ll have at beating the 2021 Instagram algorithm.
    2. That’s because Stories are a great way for your audience to both engage and keep up with you, as I said before.
  2. Use New Features
    1. Instagram has some great features, from GIFs to quizzes that you can use to make your Stories shine.
    2. Keep up with the newest features and give them a try!
  3. Give Users A Reason Watch All the Way Through
    1. Create captions on your Stories that’ll force your followers to pay attention to them and read!

YOU’D LIKE: 12 Apps I Use For Instagram Stories

Instagram Algorithm: Other Ways to Beat It

We’ve gone over content tips and a whole lot more with how to beat the IG algorithm. Let’s wrap this up by talking about more backend things you can do.

#1: Be Social

One of the fastest ways to beat the new Instagram algorithm, and get exposure to new followers, is to connect with others. Instagram is a social network, so you really must be social. Meet up with other bloggers, photographers, and influencers you admire. Tag each other in your Stories to get each other’s followers to take a peek at your pages. Your followers will jump from page to page to keep following along with the adventure.

With how 2020 went, people are craving connection through a screen. While meeting new folks might not be possible, you can at least connect with your followers more frequently. Let them in! Show up for them, so they feel like you’re their friend on the other side of the screen.

#2: Read Up on Insights

To beat the Instagram algorithm, you need to post quality content and make a note of what your followers enjoy. For example, what do they engage with the most? 

Part of posting quality content uses Instagram Insights to get into the specifics of how followers interact with your page.

#3: Get Personal

Long-tail content is making a comeback! Your followers want to know you. A great way to get them to spend more time (remember how time is our best friend?) on your content is to post more extended, more personal captions that show a vulnerable side to you. 

Be real. Connect with your followers and build a community. You can also ask a question at the end of each post, so your followers have an easy way to start a conversation with you.

Sunset at White Sands National Park

Instagram Explore Page Algorithm

Oh, Explore Page, will I ever land on you? That’s probably the same question most of you are thinking right now. So how does the Instagram Explore algorithm work?

Explore Page Algorithm Breakdown

Consider the Explore page to be a summary of what Instagram thinks you will enjoy. Your Explore Page and your friends’ might look entirely different for this reason!

Believe it or not, the Explore Page also operates under its algorithm. It shows you photos, videos, and categories of content hand-picked for you! However, getting on the Explore Page isn’t hard!

By following the tips mentioned above, you can beat the Instagram Explore algorithm as well. BUT probably the most important thing you can do is start using Reels. Reels have their section on the Explore page, which can be massive growth for you in 2021. Explore is also a great way to see what others are posting, so you can determine how your content compares!

2021 Instagram Algorithm: My Final Thoughts

The key takeaway I want you to get from this guide is that the formula for beating the Instagram algorithm is:

Good Content + Frequency + Consistency + Community Building (engagement)

But trust me! I know beating the Instagram algorithm isn’t easy. If you’re an aspiring content creator who feels like…

  • The IG algorithm is preventing you from growing
  • The influencer space is oversaturated
  • You have to have 100,000+ followers to make money on Instagram
  • You’ve tried everything
  • Instagram isn’t a “real” job

But wants to feel what it would be like to…

  • Have a well-known personal brand unique to YOU, like helloooo you can get paid to be you!
  • Turn your influence into a scalable business beyond just brand deals
  • Land 4 and 5-figure brand deals with confidence and on the regular
  • Develop a consistent content strategy that attracts new followers and converts them into fans
  • Wake up and work whenever you want because you’re the boss – no more living for the weekend

Then I would LOVE to be your coach! My program #Sponsored Bootcamp is the only course you need to take you from dreaming of getting paid to create to landing brand partnerships as a full-time influencer. 

I only coach students who are serious about landing their dream job as content creators. My students have worked with travel and tourism boards, brands like Vera Bradley, REI, Toyota, and more, making collective 6-figures from influencers. 

You can learn more about this entirely at-your-own-pace program by visiting www.SponsoredBootcamp.com.

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  1. Coral Nash says:

    Very useful and well organized content. I’m going to try this to boost my business. Cross out fingers ????

  2. Oliver says:

    Thanks for this!! I’ve been struggling a lot with my account since the algorithm update . If you have a chance could you pick out a few things you think I should focus on so I can improve my growth? My handle @oliver_howells

  3. Insta Likes says:

    I agree with Dani for explained tips here. I’m following these tips to grow my business for few months. Recently, my presence in Instagram is almost double this year. I recommend Instagram user to follow this tips and increase your presence and followers.

  4. Dakota says:

    Very well written and informative!! Will definitely try these techniques! Thanks!

  5. Adrianna says:

    10 000 per mounth?! And Im asking HOW? 😀
    Thank you for the tips, im gonna use them and see whats happend 🙂

  6. mark bargo says:

    yeah! your blog is so awesome.! i really love your ideas.
    i used zeinsta.com to manage my instagram page and growing my followers

  7. Daniel says:

    This is a load of BS! I’ve done all of these and more over months and months of time. These are the same tips that you get from multiple other blogs. This is simply clickbait. You DO NOT get 100’s or 10’s of thousands of followers doing all of these things. I am retired and a huge tech geek. These tips only work up to a point. I have grown my page to nearly 26k over a two year period. I’ve tried everything imaginable and my content is really good. Please stop trying to sell lies just to get a bigger mailing list and subscribers.

    • Dani Rodriguez says:

      Hey, I’m sorry you feel that way but this isn’t a load of BS. I’ve been working my ass off to grow my social media business for two years. These ARE the things I’ve been doing. There’s no magic formula. If you want to grow on Instagram, you have to both post good content and play the game, which includes showing up, analyzing what’s working/ what isn’t working and going from there. If something isn’t personally working for you, you can’t just come in here and say that what I’m advising is bullshit. I would have been happy to take a look at your account and offer a bit of help, but not with that attitude.

      • S. Hicks says:

        Realest reply ever lol. I have to admit, after paying for several informational courses, I m a bit disappointed at the outcomes and was a bit skeptical reading this, but I also realize maybe I HAVENT been doing some of the things you mentioned and have to hold myself accountable. Thanks for sharing….gonna give it a try!

  8. Justin says:

    Dani, some good tips here. Do you think its important to reply to filtered DMs too? I get literally 200+ a week & most are just garbage (asking for free things etc) so i usually dont bother even looking in my “Message requests” folder.

    Thoughts?

    • Dani Rodriguez says:

      Hey Justin! Thanks so much for the comment. So I think that you can delete messages like that. They’re often spam and come from bot accounts that might not be following you anyways and likely never will. I typically delete those kinds of messages and focus on replying to the ones that I can tell come from people who care!

  9. Thanks for the tips, I’ve been struggling to try to grow my audience. Now I will try with the color graded feed, I didn’t realize it was so important. I personally prefer natural colorful photos.

    • Dani Rodriguez says:

      Hey Brenda! Thanks so much for being here and taking part in the convo. I want to make something clear, you don’t have to add crazy colors to your feed! Colorgrading can also mean having images of a similar tone (like the blacks, whites and contrast are the same) while still looking more natural. There are some nature photographers out there that I believe do a great job with the natural look and you can always tell which photos are their’s because the tones are similar. I hope this helps!

  10. Panjene says:

    Thanks for such a great idea, I will apply in my Instagram account.

  11. wayamaya says:

    Amazing, wide and interesting post. Great tips and hacks. Thanks for sharing. For sure I will do my best to beat the algorithm and check the Threads.
    Keep calm and wayamaya
    http://www.wayamaya.com

  12. Louis Huynh says:

    Love the amazing post, keep up the good work.

  13. Cammie says:

    Looks like I’m a little late to the party, but thank you for this! I’m a teen with a dream to mountain bike in all 50 states, and I have a separate Instagram account for that. That’s the account I want to grow! I don’t come from a family with a lot of money, so it’s a big dream for me to grow my account enough that I would be able to get gear and even get paid to advertise for different brands. 🙂 Thanks for the tips! I know I don’t use hashtags nearly enough, and I haven’t used them in stories for a LONG time. It’s a long road but hopefully this will make it faster! 😀

  14. Keith says:

    Nice job on the post! Well organized and helpful. Kudos

  15. I really enjoyed the article. I am going to start to incorporate these tips and hopefully increase engagement.

  16. Cynthia says:

    I’ve been reading kind of the same tips on several blogs now and I have read many of your blogposts, Dani. But I keep finding new ideas every time I read one of your articles 🙂
    We have started our blog about traveling with health issues in late April this year and I created an IG account to support this.
    But I still struggle with constantly engaging 😀 It just takes an awful lot of time to go around and comment on other peoples feeds – but I do see better results every time I do it.
    Growing slowly but steadily now 🙂
    Thanks Dani!

  17. yeahok says:

    The only way to get that many followers that fast is to have a post go viral. There is clearly something you are leaving out here. Maybe you already had an audience somewhere else or a post went viral on reddit but these tactics are not enough to get 10k followers a month. Don’t be dishonest, just tell people the thing that tipped the scale. I’m in coaching programs with successful influencers and none of them would ever make a crazy claim like this. If it was that easy, everyone would have 100k+ followers.

  18. Mixlikes says:

    Getting followers on Instagram is a tough task. I have only 50 followers in the last 9 months. I hope that your tips will work.

  19. Tiago F. says:

    But lately it is not easy to grow on Instagram, I have realized that even large accounts do not have the same involvement as before. It is not easy!

  20. Instagram stated that what shows up first in your feed is primarily based on your own activity.

  21. Amelie says:

    Awesom and informative, thank you for sharing this????

  22. mamaligadoc says:

    With respect !!!

  23. At first, Thank you so much for sharing the very helpful article. Now I can easily increase Instagram followers.

  24. Such a great read !
    Thanks for all the advice
    I’ve got so lazy with my socials but this information has given me some motivation

  25. Nice post Dani, will try it fro my Insta account. Thanks

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  27. bitdrive says:

    Honestly I don’t know anymore I’ve been doing everything in this for like two years straight twitch pretty much the best content I can make consistently and yet I get nowhere

  28. Loren Masha says:

    MY RELATIONSHIP WAS SAVED BY ROBINSONBUCKLER11@GMAIL. COM!!!..

  29. Jagan_2.0 says:

    @jagan_2.0 follow me on instagram

  30. I really like this article. I really appreciate your efforts.

  31. your article provide us much information

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  33. betacode says:

    Thanks for sharing this article. Very helpful for a social media manager.

  34. hackerslist says:

    yeah!! your blog is so awesome.! I truly like reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a piece of nice information.

  35. Aisha says:

    Hi Dani,

    Thanks so much for this article. You’ve explained everything so well I have shared your post with some friends and colleagues who regularly ask me for tips and advice. I have 28K followers and have been doing most of the things you mentioned for a while now. My engagement since late last year has been very unstable.

    My August strategy was to post 2 reels a week and while I saw a big increase in my reach and followers, everything dropped again after 2 weeks. Even the reel views. I’m wondering if there’s something to “overusing” reels that the algorithm then starts ‘penalising’ you for? I love creating content, and I know it helps my audience. It feels like it’s getting harder and harder to reach them, even though they follow me.

  36. Can you tell us more about this? I’d love to find out some additional information.

  37. GLAZEDDONUT says:

    Wow, superb blog format! How lengthy have you
    been blogging for? you make running a blog glance easy. The full glance of your site is excellent, as well as the content material!

  38. Jane Smith says:

    Wow, awesome content dani! This is very insightful. I will surely use and apply these tips on my IG. I also found this video that talks about Instagram Algorithm and he also shared something about the suggested feature and some of the new features IG is rolling out and by maximizing those it can help us boost our brands and businesses. Worth checking out as well -> https://youtu.be/l9LMKeZ9mIQ

    Thought it could be of help to all! 🙂 keep up creating awesome contents, dani!

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I'm a burrito loving explorer who got fired from corporate America and turned that into my dream career as a photographer and blogger. Now I'm here to help you explore life's magic.

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