The Instagram algorithm is complex and as of recently, has made it more difficult for your business to reach people. In 2021, the algorithm switched up its priorities by focusing on saves as opposed to years of like prioritization. While this brings difficulties, once you have mastered the algorithm, you can still utilize Instagram as a highly-effective marketing tool and essentially, a free advertising platform. Instagram now will register these elements in this order of importance – saves, shares, comments with more than three words and then likes, lastly. Due to posts naturally not receiving as many saves as likes, posts haven’t been appearing on as many followers’ feed as previously. In simple terms, your posts don’t appear on all of your followers’ feeds but the number of feeds you do appear on is dramatically impacted by the engagement on your posts. The engagement additionally impacts whether you reach new audiences on the explore feed as well as hashtag and location pages. In this post, we will dive into how you can boost your reach and abide by the algorithm’s expectations so you can get as much business exposure as possible. #1. Only post valuable content It’s important you not only post high-quality images, reels or videos, but they must hold value to your target audience. If each individual post doesn’t either teach, inspire, or please the viewer, they will automatically switch off and won’t like the post, let alone save or share. On the contrary, if the content is valuable to them, they will click save to look back on, or share to their story or friends to spread a message that resonates with them. When it comes to content, valuable content has flow-on effects. Posting valuable content encourages audience members to save and share which then indicates to the Instagram algorithm that your content is likeable. Instagram will push your posts onto your followers’ feeds and their engagement pushes the posts onto hashtag, explore and location pages. #2. Post frequently The Instagram algorithm expects a set number of posts each week in order to increase your exposure. While one a week will keep you relevant, in order to fully optimize your reach, three times a week will please the algorithm. This will increase your chances of appearing in front of your target audience. As a business, it is expected you respond to comments. You can use this action to your advantage be ensuring each response is at least four words. Additional ways you can engage with your target audience is by speaking directly to them with your content, asking questions and sparking conversation in areas that are of interest. #3. Post during peak time The time of the day you post will directly determine the exposure, reach and engagement your post receives. There is a specific time bracket in the day where your followers will be the most active. Your audience insights under Instagram settings display graphs and information on your audience and their activity, including age, gender, and time and days they are online the most. Once you are aware of their activity, you should only post within this time bracket. If it is at a time when you are unavailable, you can use a post scheduling platform. #4. Comment hashtags Posts have the ability to reach thousands and even tens and thousands more people if you use hashtags. Through hashtags, your posts can trend on the explore feed and more prominently, through each individual hashtag page. As you can imagine, if you bring in enough initial engagement from your existing followers, your content will trend on up to 30 hashtag pages. Hashtags can clutter up captions, encouraging people to switch off, however, they can have the same effect if you comment them directly after posting. To fully optimize your posts, you should comment the maximum 30 hashtags and ensure you have your hashtags already copied so you can paste them as a comment instantly. Your post will then appear in the “most recent” section in each hashtag page. Due to such a large amount of accounts using hashtags, posting your hashtag comment just one minute too late will place your post further down the list of the most recents. The best way to ensure you have hashtags ready is by creating one list or multiple lists in your notes and then copying the list you need before posting your image, reel or IGTV. Research broad hashtags in your niche through the Instagram search bar, and use the ones with the most posts. In addition, you can Google hashtags in your specific category. #5. Tag relevant accounts An additional simple technique to boost your reach and business exposure is by tagging relevant accounts with large followings. Instagram users tend to engage with those posts in the tagged section of these pages as a technique to increase their own exposure. Do your research, as the accounts you tag must be within your niche, and can also relate to your location. There may be local pages that promote and share businesses in your country or city. There are also specific pages that exist on the basis or resharing additional accounts’ content, if they tag them and use their hashtag. An example of this style of account is “natgeotravel” bearing more than 43 million followers. Conclusion While Instagram’s new algorithm brings hurdles, incorporating these techniques will see your posts be optimized as best they can to reach as many accounts as possible. With consistency, your business account can build its engagement and following, further boosting your business exposure. Comment below if you have any questions regarding the new Instagram algorithm and reaching your target audience.