Instagram and how to ensure it works for you [2021]

Wednesday, 1st September 2021

Instagram has increasingly become an excellent tool for surfacing content.

Instagram has increasingly become an excellent tool for surfacing content, creating brand awareness and driving new business, whether you’re building organic followers or using the platform for paid advertising campaigns.

But getting the best results means really understanding how Instagram surfaces content to users, and ensuring that your content is created, set up and tagged correctly to attract your target audience effectively.

Before we expand on the above, it’s useful to understand more about the different sections on Instagram and how they work to serve users content from people they already follow, and help them discover new content and accounts.

Instagram’s top executive Adam Mosseri recently shared some insights into the platform’s recommendation algorithms and how they surface content into user’s main feed, stories, reels and explore sections, with key points as follows:  each section of the app has its own algorithm that ranks content based on how people use them. 

  1. The Feed and Stories algorithm rank content by ‘most recent first’ – if you follow an account, the most recent posts from that account will feature in your Feed and Stories section.
  2. The Explore section ranks content on a separate feed from accounts that a user doesn’t follow, but tries to match that content with similar accounts that a user follows, giving them an opportunity to discover more content and accounts that they may be interested in.

The key ‘signals’ that Instagram uses to achieve the above include:

  • Whether a user has engaged with a post (commented, liked, saved) or tapped on the profile photo associated with the post
  • How long a user spends on a post
  • Information about post content (who created it, previous posts, tags)
  • Information about a user (what accounts they follow, how they interact with accounts, other activity on Instagram)

Instagram ranks these signals in order of importance as follows:

  • Search text: The text a user enters in the search bar is Instagram’s most important ranking signal. It will first try to match the text with relevant usernames, bios, captions, hashtags and places.
  • User’s activity: What accounts does a user follow, what posts have they viewed, and how did  interacted with accounts in the past. Instagram usually shows accounts and hashtags you follow or visit higher than those you don’t.
  • User engagement: When there are a lot of potential results, Instagram will look at engagement signals. These include the number of clicks, likes, shares and follows for a particular account, hashtag or place.

Using this knowledge to grow audiences and create valuable content and campaigns

As a content creator, you can use Instagram to highlight your products or services in a truly authentic way by creating posts that are visually appealing and demonstrate your product or service in action. 

You will need to be creative and unique to stand out from competitors and other engaging content, but apart from that, there are some pretty clear guidelines from Instagram to help you ensure your content is as visible as possible.

  1. Ensure you use a relevant username and profile name – text is the most important ranking signal and having a username and profile name that matches what you do will help you appear more easily in search.
  2. Use relevant keywords and locations in your profile biography – like general SEO, the more relevant keywords you include, the better your chances of being found. And including your location works on much the same principle if that’s relevant to your business.
  3. Tag your content correctly – in all your posts make sure you research and use all the relevant keywords and hashtags in your caption text.

For any guidance on setting up social media accounts, digital marketing campaigns or any other digital media queries, speak to one of our team today on 01223 550800 or

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Social Media

Social Media Marketing (sometimes referred to as SMM) is a form of Digital Marketing that involves sharing and creating content on social media platforms to reach your marketing goals.

If your small business isn't on social media, you could be missing out on all sorts of opportunities.

These include finding new customers, insights into your business, audience and engagement opportunities with customers.

Social media provides targeting capability, as well as reach and scale, at a lower cost than almost all other marketing channels.

Your type/sector of business will dictate which platform is best for you. The more traditional types of business will be better served by social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

If you are a personality or influencer then your best bet will be to use the more modern platforms such as Tic Tok, Instagram and Snapchat. Twitter is great for short updates, announcements and link sharing.

Benefits of using social media for business

·        Brand awareness

·        Brand personality

·        Thought leadership

·        Increased website traffic

·        Reputation management

·        Analytics and insights

·        Competitor analysis

·        Targeted advertisements


Don’t try and force your business to work on a platform that isn’t the right fit. The best social media is the platform you can leverage for your business's specific goals.

Your followers should know what to expect from you, so follow a consistent posting schedule, whether it be the number of times a week or certain days or even certain times of the day. This will also help you avoid posting too much, which can be off-putting for your followers. The best way to ensure success on social media is to go in with a plan. This means sitting down and coming up with a social media marketing strategy that includes each platform you plan to use. 


The best times to post on social media overall is 10:00 AM on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.


The best time to post on Facebook is 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The best time to post on Instagram is 11:00 AM on Wednesdays.

The best time to post on Twitter is 8:00 AM on Mondays and Thursdays.

The best time to post on LinkedIn is 9:00 AM on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.


This information was supplied by hootsuite.