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How To Beat Instagram's New Algorithm

Your Strategic Edge

By Shana Lynn Yao

How To Beat Instagram's New Algorithm
The only thing you can control in life is how you react to things outside of your control.

Whether or not you're "trying" to grow your Instagram following, you know you secretly are :) In a day and age that values "likes" and followers, it's hard not to feel like your social media is a popularity contest. 

With over 700 million active users a month on this popular platform, new algorithms and the rise of distraction tearing people away from seeing what you have to offer, it's just getting harder than ever to grow a following made up of your raving fans and potential clients and customers.

So what is a business owner supposed to do? Is there a way to beat the system?

I am not a tech junkie and I don't have a million followers (yet) but for me, trying to control things that are not within my control has never seemed like the best answer to solving anything. And while everybody is complaining, while everybody is trying to beat the system, I would rather BYPASS the system completely.

The New Algorithm

Everybody now is talking about the challenge being due to Instagram’s new algorithm. And yes - brands need to be aware of the constant changing tide of social media.  If you aren't aware of it, the new algorithm does not value quality or timing of your posts. In fact, it's a mixed bag when you really look at your audiences behaviors vs. the ability to be noticed on Instagram just due to visibility.

Brands will have to prioritize strategies that maximize their relevance and engagement rates rather than pure following and reach.
— Kyle Wong, CEO of visual marketing platform Pixlee

In order to "get to the top" or achieve a higher ranking on Instagram for your specific audience, the algorithm values relevance and engagement - which is a problem when you're actually not getting anyone to even just follow you.

To overcome the algorithm, engagement, and gain more followers, it's really not about trying to beat the system but instead BYPASS the system and status quo thinking.

While others are talking and complaining about the algorithm, you can actually get a strategic edge by understanding more about who the brand’s followers are in order to appeal to them and rank higher.

Brands creating the best content will still be rewarded, but now there will be an even greater emphasis on creating content that audiences respond to. 
— Kate Hodes, senior analyst at the agency Huge.

Hacking The System

We, as business owners in "the system" cannot control Facebook's constantly changing algorithm. And if you spend time trying to learn it, adapt to it, and complain about it, you're probably going to struggle with it on a long term basis.

There are so many different things you can do - you could join a team and have people comment on each other's posts - great idea. And you could spend all day on Instagram liking and commenting on as many different people's posts to get attention.

Both are definitely strategies that work and maybe should be considered. But as the bearer of all things logistical and efficient (attributed to my type A father who was a civil engineer and if it wasn't efficient it wasn't done) - WHO THE HELL HAS THE TIME TO DO THAT???

We are business owners and the goal is not to get as many followers as possible - it's to do that AND in the end, make money, be happy, and live your life. In order to be efficient it's a PUSH/PULL strategy that will win in the end. You need to be efficient with your time so you can implement other strategies to attract potential clients, and also to spend time creating high value content.

Let's get back to the reality of social media and approach the system a different way. I like to call it "Hacking the system".

So if brands creating the BEST CONTENT are being rewarded, and your goal is to create content that audiences respond to - rather than trying to control something out of your control - TAKE YOUR POWER BACK. 

The first powerful thing you can do is to be HONEST with yourself. This may hurt a little at first but it's so much better to rip off the bandaid at once than to pretend it's not there.

Why are people NOT following you and NOT be commenting on your posts???

I know - see? That only hurt for a second. Now let's deal with your boo boo and make it better than it was before. :)

Here are some things that are within your control, that you can and should consider BEFORE you try to blame the algorithm for your lack of follower growth. Because the truth is, I've tripled my following over the past 45 days - that's over 5000 new people - simply by addressing these 5 issues:


Open your Instagram feed on your phone. When you look at your last 12 photos, is there a rhythm to it? Or are you posting 5 selfies and then maybe what you ate for dinner? Are you posting quotes and they are all random images? Do the colors even look good together? 65% of all humans communicate through visual communication. #lookgoodfeelgood is not just a hashtag. People want things that look good and when they are considering whether they want to follow you or not, what they see is what they can CHOOSE to get.


Be honest - are your photos blurry? Is the color bright? Would you follow you? Now there are so many apps and ways to have beautiful and magazine quality photos as your very own. (I'll be coming up with a training on this so be sure to SUBSCRIBE TO THE DAILY to be notified). 


Are you trying to promote your business? I mean that's awesome but Instagram is a VISUAL APP. That means to master Instagram is about understanding how to appeal to your potential clients on a visual basis. What things are you attracted to? If someone was screaming "BUY ME" 24/7 would you follow them?


Your Instagram feed is/should be seen as a magazine. It is a magazine of what you're about, your values, your business, and the purpose of your business. It's a VIBE that should be made beautiful with a curated mix of photos. Gone are the days of boring branding that is so "perfect" that it doesn't even look human. 

What draws your eye in when you look at magazines? What types of art do you like? Where do you shop for clothes? What is your personal style? (GET YOUR FREE STYLE BLUEPRINT) For me, my style is eclectic. My personality is avante garde - edgy, stylistic, and inspirational. If you go to my Instagram page, that's exactly who I am from the inside out. 

Who are you and what is your personal style?

Your vibe IS your tribe.


Look - you have a business. If you aren't posting daily and understanding the best times to post, what your audience wants to see, when they are on their phones - then you can't complain about the algorithm. Set up a schedule - it really is about creating the HABIT OF SUCCESS. Create a schedule that you can stick to, that fits with your life and stick to it. What you do everyday becomes your life. Make sure you SHOW UP in a way that works for you AND your business strategy.

So that's it! Obviously there is so much more involved in creating your own growth strategy on Instagram and addressing these issues. But spending time actually creating a strategy that works truly is about having the TIME to do so, the CREATIVITY to think outside of the box, and NOT spend time complaining or trying to change things out of control. Isn't it time for you to stop following and start creating your best badass business and life?

So I want to hear, what are your next steps to growing your Instagram  Tell me below in the comments, and please LIKE and SHARE this article if you got value from it. And if you want to be in the know and get more tips on mastering your Instagram and business strategy, SUBSCRIBE TO THE DAILY and let's chat! Let me help you master your business game and rank not only at the  top of your Instagram feed but of your LIFE.


About the Author:
Shana Yao is the CEO of Total Genius and works with clients to help them discover their brand story in their life experience and design it into their successful business and life. With over 28 years of experience managing multimillion dollar retail and shopping center locations, including the famed Rodeo Drive, she has a unique and strategic understanding of business. Her focus around the areas of holistic health, personal style, and mental clarity, are based on the belief that true success is found in becoming the person you are meant to be in life and using that to empower your business. For it's the combination of your greatest strengths, talents, and life experience that fulfills your life and creates true, everlasting success. 

Join her and other independent small business owners, lighting the world with their holistic and powerful businesses in her private community The Club . If you're ready to Master Your Money Code, get instant access to the FREE masterclass HERE