Tell me if this sounds like you. You’re on Instagram a lot in your down time. You scroll through your timeline so often you don’t even have to think about it. You post your work frequently and you make sure to use all of the beauty hashtags you learned about on that one webinar you took, or that class at that one beauty show. You’re active on Stories, and you make sure to answer every comment you receive. You’re doing all of the things the social gurus tell you to do, but you still feel like you’re missing the mark. how to beat the instagram algorithm
If you’re feeling like this, you’re not alone. I frequently hear this feedback from many of my coaching clients and students. You’re doing all of the “right” things, but you’re still not seeing the results when it comes to your salon’s bottom line. It’s enough to make you want to throw your hands up and outsource your social media completely. What kind of return on your investment of time can you really expect from Instagram?
If you’re frustrated with Instagram and wishing someone would just show you the secret to success that some seem to have cracked, this post is for you. I’m here to tell you that what the social media gurus and influencers have been teaching you is wrong, or at least, doesn’t work anymore. how to beat the instagram algorithm
Instagram is owned by Facebook, and Facebook is a publicly traded company. Instagram’s job is to attract as many daily users to its platform as possible, and to make money through ads. The old style timeline in chronological order is long gone. Instead, there is now an algorithm that determines what you are most likely to want to see when you open the app. You begin on your timeline, and you scroll, scroll, scroll to interact with others on the platform.
The content in your timeline is served to you by Instagram’s algorithm. It shows you the posts from those you interact with most often, in the order of what you’re most likely to “like” and enjoy. The algorithm shows you what it deems to be the best content first, in order to get you to stay on the app longer, and get served more ads in the process. Win-win, right? You see great stuff and the app makes money by serving you more ads. Wrong. You’re spending way more time on Instagram than you need to, thanks to the algorithm and the artificial boundaries Instagram has built into its interface. What do I mean by artificial boundaries? Let’s think about how you actually use the app.
When you log onto Instagram, you start in your home base, which is your timeline. You can also click over to your profile and see what activity has happened since the last time you opened the app, (which was likely less than 10 minutes ago.) This is your home base. This is where you are generally most comfortable, since it is the default view when you open Instagram.
What lives here, in the default view? The content that the algorithm serves you. So you’re just taking posts and content as the platform sees fit to give it to you. It’s time to break out of this home base once and for all. This is where you actually render the algorithm irrelevant. how to beat the instagram algorithm
You can’t be limited if you’re never “at home.” So if you are operating outside if the home base outlined above, you’re free and clear of the limits of the algorithm. How do you get out of your home base? The explore tab, also known as the search function.
When you post something to Instagram, what do you hope happens? Obviously you want people to like and share it, maybe leave a comment, but the greatest reason behind a post is to entice potential clients to book with you. Likes and comments feel really great because it’s instant feedback and often validation. Proof that you’re on the right track. Proof that you are talented and skilled. Proof that clients should be pouring in, if only they could find you! Darn that algorithm, right? So we sit in our home base and wonder why the world hasn’t yet recognized our genius.
Why not flip the script and be the liker and commenter on the post of a potential client? The algorithm doesn’t limit your ability to go out and find someone who is likely to be a client and engage them, yet we just don’t do it. We stay inside the boundaries of the timeline and profile and wait and wish. It’s time to stop waiting and start making it happen.
Search local hashtags and location tags that your ideal potential client will likely use and start engaging them. Leave a thoughtful and authentic comment on a few of their photos and engage them in real positive conversation. If someone leaves a compliment in your comments, you likely do more research into who they are. The same thing happens when you’re the one doing the commenting. They’ll see your beautiful profile and photos of your work and you’ll immediately be on their radar.
It can feel a bit uncomfortable to put yourself out there, but being the one moving outside of your home base and providing positive feedback to those most likely to become a client has major ramifications. You’ll see a huge increase in engagement, and a massive difference on your schedule.
how to beat the instagram algorithm
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