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11 Levers to Create Instagram Growth for Business

Read Time 16 mins Published Mar 22, 2022

Instagram is an ever-evolving platform that is expected to reach 1.2 billion users by 2023. Are you capitalizing on Instagram Growth for Business? If you aren’t, then you’re definitely missing out.

Ask yourself this: What if it’s the missing piece to growing your business?

In this post, we are going to show you how you can use Instagram to succeed in 2022. But before we do that, let’s take a look at how Instagram algorithms work.
An iPhone rests on a surface. In the upper left corner is the Instagram icon.

How Do Instagram Algorithms Work?

How Do Instagram Algorithms Work?

There is a common misconception that Instagram has only one algorithm. Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, has debunked this by clarifying that Instagram actually has a number of algorithms, classifiers, and processes that each has a particular purpose.

The ultimate aim is to give users the best, most personalized experience possible while on the platform, feeding them content that they’ll love. That’s the reason why people love Instagram so much!

Did you know that there are different algorithms for each part of the app? Yes, that’s right. The different parts such as — Feed, Explore, or Reels — have their own algorithm. So let’s dive into how these algorithms work in order to maximize Instagram growth for business. This will be key to growing your business with Instagram.

Feed and Stories Algorithms

Using Feed and Stories Algorithms for Instagram Growth for Business

This is where people come to interact with family, friends, and those they follow. The algorithm is dependent on four key points:

  • Information about the post. Two things that come into play here are how popular the post is and the content it contains. When we say, “how popular the post is,” we are talking about how many people have liked it. The content can be anything from the time it was published to the content it contains.
  • Information about the person who posted. This tells Instagram how much this person matters to you and how often you’ve interacted in the past several weeks.
    Your Activity. By looking at what posts you’ve liked, Instagram can get an idea of what your interests may be.
  • Your history of interacting with someone. This lets Instagram know how interested you are in viewing posts from a person. Something like this could be commenting on or liking another person’s post.

After all the legwork is done, they’ll create a set of predictions and make educated guesses based on how you interact with a post. When it comes to Feed, they take into account: if you commented on a post, if you liked it, if you saved it, if you tapped on the profile image, and how long you spent on it.

All of your actions are heavily weighed in order to create more personalized content. This is a constant process where they update the predictions so they can figure out what interests you.

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Explore Algorithms

Explore Algorithms

As you may already know, the purpose of Explore is to show you new things you might have never seen before. This is more of a general grid that is comprised of recommendations such as photos or videos.

In order to create a more personalized experience, they keep track of posts you’ve liked, saved, and commented on. When they discover photos and videos that you may be interested in, they then arrange them by level of perceived interest.

Four elements they look at to do this are:

  • Information about the post. So, how popular is the post? They take into account how many and how quickly other people have shared, liked, commented and saved a particular post.
  • Your history of interacting with the person who posted. If you like a post from someone you don’t know, they pay attention to that so they can assess just how interested you are in the content.
  • Your activity. What posts did you like, save, or comment on in the past? How did you interact with Explore on previous occasions?
  • Information about the person who posted. How many times have you connected with this person in the last few weeks? This is a way to create more personalized content for you.
Reels Algorithms

Understanding Reels Algorithms for Instagram Growth for Business

The purpose of Reels is to provide Instagrammers with entertainment. So, what you’ll be seeing here is content from accounts you don’t normally follow or interact with. Very similar to Explore, they make guesses about reels that you might like and arrange them in order of interest.

They will provide you with surveys to figure out whether a particular reel was entertaining or funny. They also pay attention to if you watch a reel the entire way through, like it, comment about how funny it is, and visit the audio page.
Here is a breakdown of the four key points:

  • Your activity. What reels did you like, comment on, or interact with recently? This way they can figure out what is interesting to you.
  • Your history of interacting with the person who posted. If you interact with a reel from someone you don’t know, they pay attention to that so they can figure out your level of interest.
  • Information about the reel. What is the content of the reel? What is in the audio track? What are the pixels and whole frames?
  • Information about the person who posted. Popularity plays a role in finding interesting content from a diverse group of sources. This way people can find their ideal audience.

Now that we’ve explored how the algorithms work, let’s dive into how you can achieve Instagram growth for business!

Lever #1: Build Those Relationships

Lever #1: Build Those Relationships

The first thing you want to do is ask yourself: Why are you using Instagram? What do you want out of it?

We all know the obvious answer: business growth. While that’s obvious, you need to consider what will get you to that point. As every good business owner worth their salt knows, business just isn’t about making a profit…it’s also about building a bridge between you and your clients.

It’s 96% more likely that a client will remain loyal to a brand if they have been treated well by a business. On top of that, clients are invaluable when it comes to word-of-mouth marketing. If a client loves your business, trust me, they’ll tell everyone they know.

Instagram is one of the best places to promote your business and provide exceptional customer service. Here are some actionable tips:

  • Interact with current clients: Get to know your clients. Who are they? What are their interests? Do some research and check out their profile.
  • Attract new followers by posting unique and fresh content: A great way to do this is by posting stories. Some benefits are that it doesn’t take much time or effort and it’s super easy to create. It’s something you can personalize and make fun, too. You can incorporate polls, quizzes, questions, or GIFs if you want to start a meaningful conversation. The more you post Stories, the more you’ll appear at the top of your followers’ accounts, especially if you interact with them.

This is a picture of a content calendar that lists all the projects worked on in a month.

Lever #2: Post, Post, Post

Lever #2: Post, Post, Post

The best way to grow your business is to be present. This means you’ve got to put some effort into building a cohesive presence on social media. Here are three tips to help you do just that:

  • Create engaging content: The first step is to first create high-quality content that’s engaging. What the Instagram algorithms actually look at is the engagement rate of your content as opposed to how many people looked or just scrolled by it. That’s why you should work on keeping content fresh and interesting. Look at what is popular right now and stay up-to-date with trends.
  • Be consistent: As you post with some regularity, the Instagram algorithms will notice this. In fact, they’ll become familiar with how often you post, the engagement rate, and this will boost your reach to appear on people’s feeds, Explore tabs, Stories, and Reels. Even though you don’t have to post every single day, create a schedule or routine and stick to it. Maybe put it on your calendar or set reminders on your smartphone.
  • Post at the right time: This goes hand-in-hand with the point above. What you want to do is post not only on a schedule but to also do so when your followers are most active. You can review this information on Instagram by going to “Insights” and then “Your Audience” where you can observe your top posting times.

What’s great is that you can view the information by days or hours. You also have the option to widen your search parameters to include 30 days which will yield more accurate results.

When you post at optimal times this means that other users are interacting with your content and Instagram algorithms will notice this. The result? Your content will be offered as suggestions to others.

Lever #3: Extend Your Reach With Hashtags

Lever #3: Extend Your Reach With Hashtags

Hashtags are a necessary part of leveraging Instagram algorithms to your benefit. If done right, they extend your reach on the platform and increase your chances of getting seen by more people. This is why it’s important to have a strategy in place.

But, before you start using those hashtags, think about the kind of ones you want to use. Consider: What sort of hashtags do your followers use? What community hashtags can you capitalize on? What about hashtags from your industry? What are the most popular ones and how can you leverage them to gain more followers?

Remember, hashtags are a great tool for discoverability, so you want to make sure that you choose the best hashtags for you. Instagram Reels and photo posts allow you to have up to 30 hashtags. Although, it’s recommended that you have 5 hashtags on your reel.
 A woman’s hand holds a smartphone while she is watching a reel video from Instagram.

Lever #4: Give Reels a Try

Lever #4: Give Reels a Try

Do you know that Instagram wants to move away from simply being a photo-sharing app? What that means is they’ll be focusing more on Reels, the video-sharing part of their platform, for 2022 and beyond.

Here are the facts. Instagram is fully promoting Reels. People prefer to watch reels than to simply look at photos. On top of that, reels actually get shared the most.

So, the question is: How can you as a business capitalize on Reels?

  • Post at least three times a week. First off, we recommend posting reels with some frequency. The more you post it, the more your followers will look for it. A good place to start off with is three times a week but you can always do more.
  • What makes you remarkable? If you’re going to be making reels, it’s important to know what makes you a valuable business. What is your unique selling proposition? Think of it as a brief elevator pitch. Try to showcase your value in a 15-second reel.
  • Watch some other reels for inspiration. What are others in your industry doing? What are their reels like? What would you like to emulate? What would you like to avoid? How can you do something better?
  • Use some hashtags. Before when we were talking about hashtags, we emphasized how these will help you increase your reach. The idea is the same here. Try including some hashtags when you post your reel. Are there any community or industry hashtags you can use?
Lever #5: Trends and New Features

Lever #5: Trends and New Features

As Mosseri recently said: “We’re going to have to rethink what Instagram is, because the world is changing quickly and we’re going to have to change with it.”

2021 was a year of transition where the unsuccessful IGTV was phased out and Reels were introduced in a bid for Instagram to keep up with its competitor, TikTok.

In 2022, Instagram promises even more change and innovation. We recommend that you:

  • Keep up with the latest trends. What you want to do first is start with research. See what’s popular and current. What are others in your industry doing? If you’ve been on Instagram for a while and have followed others within your industry, look at what they’re posting. Also, check out the Explore tab, too. If you’re brand new, try using hashtags. You may want to give #instagramtrends a try and conduct a search. See what’s out there.
  • Implement the newest features. Use new features often. As we previously discussed, Reels are essential if you want to boost your performance. In addition to this, Instagram added features that you can include in your Stories: a quiz sticker, a question sticker, GIFs, captions, polls, and new fonts. Most of all, don’t be afraid to experiment with the new features. Who knows? They may bring you success.

One final note we want to mention here is that the Instagram algorithms will continue to evolve throughout the year. So, you’ll want to stay on top of this.

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Lever #6: Connect With Others In Your Industry

Lever #6: Connect With Others In Your Industry

When you’re running a business, networking is important. Fortunately, Instagram is the perfect place for this. This platform is so broad that all kinds of industries can be found on there.

The best place to start is by doing a hashtag search for your industry. Say, for example, you’re a pizza place in New York City. You’d search for something like: #nycfood, #nycpizza, or #nycrestaurants. It’s important to note that you use the right hashtags. Not all hashtags are effective.

Next, you’ll want to find who or what is popular in that industry. You can do that by looking at the most popular content. Pay attention to what they’re doing right and where they may be missing the mark. Take notes.

Don’t forget to interact with these people (again, it’s social media, so it’s all about building relationships). Make a comment or like the content. Alternatively, you can curate content by sharing the content and somehow tying it to your content. When you do this, just make sure that you give credit to the original source.

What many successful people and businesses do is find popular content and comment on it, sharing something interesting. Now, this is important. It’s got to be genuine, interesting, and not appear spammy. The point here is to put your oar in and join the conversation. By taking these actions, people will start to become interested in you and what you’ve got to say.

When you’ve found the right hashtags, you can now use them when posting your own content. Remember those notes we mentioned earlier? Take those notes out and use them. Now you can do what others are doing and put your own spin on it.

This way you’ll be perfectly situated. You’ll be using the right hashtags. You’ll be taking advantage of the latest trends in your industry. You’ll have an idea of what content works vs content that doesn’t. You’ll have created connections by interacting with others in the same industry: commenting, liking, and sharing. You’ll be churning out content that is current and relevant to your industry.

Lever #7: Respond to All DMs and Comments

Lever #7: Respond to All DMs and Comments

For those of us in the business world, communication is so important. This means communication with clients and staff. Every business that has a social media presence should be interacting with followers and prospective clients on a daily basis.

Many times this entails posting relevant content, replying to comments, and responding to DMs. So ask yourself this: Do you take the time to respond to followers, clients, and prospects?

If you are posting content normally, expect to receive comments from your followers. See this as an opportunity to respond and build rapport. Every time a customer reaches out with a comment, you should respond to them in a prompt manner.

This does two things: increases your engagement rate and shows that you actually care about the people you deal with. Remember also that the Instagram algorithms showcase the most engaging content.

And if you receive a DM, you should be taking the time to reply to those as well. What’s nice about DMs is that followers, clients, and prospects can have a longer conversation. It’s a great place for people to ask questions and for you to answer them.

You want to make sure that you’re responding to these within 24 hours or less. This is a great way to build trust and ultimately a relationship.
An influencer in a lavender-colored blouse is tilting her smartphone as she gets ready to film

Lever #8: Partner With Influencers

Lever #8: Partner With Influencers

Let’s be honest. Influencers are the movers and shakers of today’s social media. Millions of people log onto Instagram to view influencers every single day. In fact, over 90% of consumers watch influencer content on a weekly basis. This is then no surprise that companies are increasingly turning towards influencer marketing.

When achieving Instagram growth for business, you should really consider partnering with influencers. It is estimated that there are 37 million influencers on instagram in 2022. Since so many people watch influencers on a daily basis, collaborating with an influencer can really help extend your reach on Instagram. Yes, it may be an investment but this can really help with growing your business.

Do you know that 75% of influencers prefer brands that align with their values? If that’s the case, you know that the influencer will be genuinely interested in promoting your brand. It will be something that they’re invested in.

Lever #9: Host a Contest

Lever #9: Host a Contest

Do you find that you’re not getting the engagement that you want? So, you’ve done your homework and kept up to date with what’s trending. You made some great content but you’re not getting the amount of followers you want.

Did you know that the Instagram algorithm looks at your engagement rate when deciding to promote your content? One way to combat this is to run a contest.

What you can do is offer to give something away in exchange for people interacting with your post. You can ask them to like, comment, and maybe even follow you. This is an excellent way to grow your followers because more people will see your content. In turn, this will impact the Instagram algorithms when it comes to giving your content the extra oomph it needs.

Lever #10: Share Old Content

Lever #10: Share Old Content

One mistake that Instagrammers often make is thinking that they’ve gotta make original content every…single…time. Wrong. If you’ve been posting on Instagram for a while, chances are that you’ve got some old content. What’s great is that you can repost that content at any time.

Say, for example, you run a bakery business and it’s the end of a year. You can share a carousel of images that showcase all the cool stuff you baked last year. This would be a neat way to let your followers, clients, and prospects know what you’ve been up to. On top of that, carousels are easy to do and fun to look at.

With reposting old photos in particular, you don’t really need to do much of anything. All you’ve got to do is add it to Stories so that others can view it. So, go ahead, share some wins from the last year and talk about all the cool things you can achieve in 2022.

Lever #11: Consider the Analytics

Lever #11: Consider the Analytics

Instagram has some great capabilities to track and monitor how well your content is performing on the platform. When you know what’s working as opposed to what isn’t, you’re already one step ahead of the algorithms. Also, when you have all of this important information, you can create a cohesive and effective marketing plan. This is the place where you can keep track of metrics and do some analyses.

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