The Instagram algorithm is forever changing and we get it: it can be hard to keep up with. So, if you’re trying to gain followers or increase your reach on the platform, you might have wondered if there are any quick and easy hacks you can deploy to cheat the algorithm and score some easy wins.
This year, Instagram announced that it no longer considers itself to be an image-sharing platform. It’s focusing all its efforts on becoming a legitimate rival to video platforms like Youtube and TikTok.
And if you want to be anything like TikTok, a strong algorithm is essential. That’s why you’ve probably noticed that right now, it’s all about Reels.
And while the answer to how to hack the Instagram Reels algorithm isn’t entirely simple, there are some tactics you can try out. After all, When you know what the algorithm wants from you, what’s the worst that can happen?
Here are our top dos and don’ts for hacking the Instagram Reels algorithm in 2022.
Don’t visibly recycle content
This isn’t just about reposting your own content over and over in an attempt to make it land. If you’re sharing someone else’s content or cross-posting your own videos from TikTok, Shorts, or other editing apps, make sure to remove watermarks.
There are apps that will do this for you, or you can natively upload the same video separately into each app – this is your best bet for hacking the algorithm. Instagram favors what it believes to be original, native content.
So even if you are sharing the same video on TikTok, Shorts, and Reels, as long as you upload directly into the Instagram app, it will never know.
Don’t upload low-quality content
It goes without saying that low-quality content will work against your engagement rate. And we’re not just talking about the subjective quality of the topics, tips, and original videos you share. We’re talking about the resolution, the design, and the overall look of your content.
To ‘hack’ the algorithm, make sure your content is hi-res, avoid low-resolution content wherever you can, make sure it has no visible borders, and don’t use horizontal videos on Reels, which are designed to be vertical. But why would you, anyway?
Do use Instagram tools
We’ve already mentioned that Instagram’s Reels algorithm loves native content, and that goes for its tools, too. Using Instagram’s own filters, text, original audio, and music from the Reels library will all work in your favor.
TikTok has its own distinctive versions of all these things – especially its closed captioning – and if Instagram gets a whiff of their competitors' features in your Reels, they’re likely to drop in their algorithmic ranking.
It takes a little extra effort, and if you love TikTok’s look you might not find this as aesthetically pleasing, but it’s worth it when it comes to working in favor of the algorithm.
Do create original content
Similar to our first tip – don’t visibly recycle content – this hammers home the need for truly original Reels if you want to make friends with the machine. As well as editing any cross-posted content, all creators should be fully focused on developing their own, unique Reels.
Start trends. Be experimental with the kind of content you’re producing. And above all, make it shareable. Sure, not everyone can be a viral sensation, and ‘starting a trend’ isn’t as easy as it sounds.
But rather than jumping on a theme that’s already been doing the rounds for a week, think about how you can evolve or adapt your own take to feel fresh and exciting, and not just another repeat of the same old thing.
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