When trying to cheat the codes behind Instagram, there's no need for shady tactics, such as engagement pods or pay-per-like schemes.
Simply digesting how the algorithm operates (and staying up-to-date on the best, most algorithm-friendly ways to optimize your content) is sure to earn you some advantage.
So, evidently, Instagram's string of algorithms is designed to help users with the content they're expected to engage with.
So when it comes to conning the system, the best tactic is to provide precisely what it needs to carry out its function correctly.
With this in mind, let's look at 8 approaches you can practice right now, to get an advantage over competitors—all thanks to the Instagram algorithm.
1. Be consistent in your niche
You should know that these codes are continually learning from you and other users. Every post, hashtag, and engagement you make provides the algorithm an indicator of what your profile is all about. The more you insert in, the more you'll gain out.
So, being consistent in your niche is one of the safest ways to never stop teaching the algorithm.
The simpler the algorithm can "categorize" your profile and its content, the more likely your posts will perform for users who have shown a previous interest in that field.
Once the algorithm recognizes your audiences, your account is expected to be shown to relevant viewers in suggested profiles to follow, supported Reels, and Explore Page results.
2. Share content when your followers are most active
Another classic tactic. And it never fails.
To increase your performance with the Instagram algorithm, make a habit of posting when your fans are most active and engaged.
This fosters more likes, comments, and shares, as your viewers are more "switched on" rather than occupied by work or school.
The thing is, these organic user engagements are a big indicator to the algorithm. The more attention your post receives (as quick as possible), the more likely it will be followed by more users.
However, without the right analytics tools, it can be complicated to know exactly when your audience is most active, as every profile is slightly different.
3. Encourage comments and likes by including strong call-to-actions in your captions
One of the key ways to hack the Instagram algorithm is to inspire as many engagements as possible. According to IG, the most critical engagements for feed ranking are reshares, comments, likes, and video views.
The best way to inspire more of these engagements? Insert clear and powerful call-to-actions in your captions!
You can also ask your community a (thought-provoking or controversial) question or advise them to tag a friend in the comments to join your brand-new giveaway or challenge.
4. Tailor your posts for Instagram SEO
As we've already discussed, the Instagram algorithm is constantly "understanding" your posts so it can categorize and push them to suitable viewers. This categorization is often reported to rely massively on the hashtags you use in your posts, especially in your early days.
However, Instagram enables users to "search by keyword" in several nations, which indicates the algorithm is also handling visual content and caption interpretation.
There are some points you can do to optimize your content for Instagram SEO:
Write detailed captions with relevant, highly-explored keywords throughout.
Manually type alt text for your Instagram posts. Click on "Advanced Settings" in the publishing flow, and choose "Write alt text." Instagram applies image recognition software to automatically create a description if you don't manually include alt text. However, this often doesn't seem right—lacking the right details.
Add up to 20 relevant hashtags in your post caption or first comment.
5. Update your hashtag strategy
Instagram's search characteristics may have developed over the years, but the humble hashtag is still a significant factor when it comes to categorizing your content.
If you want to improve your hashtag strategy, these four suggestions are an excellent place to start:
Make sure your hashtags are appropriate to the content, and target readers, your niche/industry, geolocation, or business (branded hashtags).
Take motivation from trending posts in your niche. Find out the relevant content via your Instagram Search Page and take a record of commonly used hashtags.
Use hashtags with a good volume of posts. Anything around 10K and 250K will give your posts the best chance of being noticed.
Avoid forbidden hashtags. Even apparently innocuous hashtags can end up on the banned list, so do your proper diligence and carry out research for every hashtag you use.
6. Embrace the latest Instagram features
One of the most significant ways to hack the Instagram algorithm is to dive deep into the latest features… fast!
Instagram grants extra prominence to new features to further drive adoption, as the competition is still low, and it can be a huge advantage for any business or creator.
Take Instagram Reels, for instance. Instagram has been prioritizing Reels in people's home feeds for months now—with quick adopters seeing significant results.
7. Daily post Stories with engagement-driving stickers
Communications are also a huge indicator, and Instagram Stories stickers are one of the simplest ways to boost these.
Polls, emojis, and questioning stickers are fun and have a super-cheap barrier of entry, making them a real quick win for public interactions.
On the other hand, quiz stickers are a great way to boost DM conversations, which indicates deeper, more personal connections to the Instagram algorithm.
Instagram Stories are usually more personable due to their temporary format.
Take advantage of this opportunity by verbally asking your audience to know exactly what they think.
You can do this either by suggesting something in a poll or replying to a DM. There's no need for shady tactics, such as engagement pods or pay-per-like schemes.
8. Share original content (without a TikTok watermark) on reels
As we've already suggested, Instagram Reels are a serious growth hack right now but there's a problem.
IG has approved that the Reels algorithm will deprioritize content with a TikTok watermark and choose original Reels instead. Consequently, it dislikes low-quality or blurry content.
The best route to take when hacking this is to produce original, high-quality content directly within the Reels editor.
So these are the ways to boost your ranking with the Instagram algorithm.
These suggestions can be used as a baseline for your content but ultimately, the best approach to gain approval with the algorithm is to keep your followers at the heart of your strategy.
Developing authentic relationships with them is the most effective way to "cheat" the algorithm and consistently produce impressive results for your brand.