Navigating the Changed Social Media Algorithm: Facebook & Instagram

Feature Image Credits: Pixabay

Algorithmic changes of seismic proportions have rocked the world of social media marketing, and no platforms have been worse affected by this than Facebook and Instagram.

In the previous article, we looked at the types of social media algorithmic changes that the new algorithms have brought about. Now, in this article, we’ll look at how to combat the changes that currently seem almost insurmountable.

Bending the behemoths: Changing the way we market on Facebook and Instagram

If you are one of the 50 million businesses on Facebook who shell out a lot of money to get your posts promoted on social media, you may have noticed a few changes that have occurred as a result of the social media algorithm change:

Organic advertising and paid posts take a back seat as content relevance takes centre stage
Hashtags and SEO are subjected to high restrictions, limiting searchability and visibility

In the face of such daunting challenges, you’ll need to change the way you engage in social media content marketing.

Here are some tips that you can use, which will make your work a lot easier:

Image Credits: Pixabay


1. Go live

Research shows that live videos get engagement 6X higher than traditional videos. They are also content that inspire tones of audience engagement. In fact, live videos check all the boxes which are a pre-requisite for an algorithm-friendly post.

The new Facebook algorithm places videos over static images and wordy content. But, live videos rank at the top spot. Start producing short bursts of live videos and post at least 2-3 live videos every week. Intersperse it evenly between other types of content for the best effect.

2. Focus on Groups to build an audience

Facebook users join groups because they enjoy the content posted in them and because they find this content relevant and useful. This makes Facebook Groups a wonderful weapon in the battle against the new algorithm.

If you’re already the admin of a group, you’re sorted. You just need to keep up with the engagement. However, if you don’t have a group to your name, you can start by joining relevant groups, engaging with audiences and posting your content as an answer to their questions and conversations.

If you have sizeable followership, you can start your group and add your followers to it. Remember to post as frequently as you can and post only content that you’re sure will be well-received by your audience.

Image Credits: Pixabay

3. Don’t succumb to engagement-baiting

Remember those posts about the Twilight Series which asked you to ‘Like’ if you were Team Edward and ‘Comment’ if you were Team Jacob? These are posts that bait people for engagement. It’s true that people love engaging with these posts, but according to the Facebook algorithm, these posts add no discernable value to the knowledge or experience of audiences. This is why engagement-baiting posts are demoted by the new algorithm.

If you’ve been using such posts in your feed, STOP it right now! You’ll be doing more harm than good.

4. Use the 80/20 rule

The Facebook algorithm favours content that offers more in-bound links and contains more on-site content. Essentially, Facebook wants brands to create content for the platform as opposed to creating faint trails that lead the audience to the brand’s primary website.

This is why it’s best to lean towards Facebook content. For example, if you’ve started a group or are a part of one, start posting more frequently over there. Stick to creating/sharing Facebook posts or replying to audience questions on the platform 80% of the time. Occasionally (20%), publish a post that contains a link to your website.

5. Go local

According to Facebook, local news is more relevant to the user than national or global news. Posts that are regional or are geo-tagged are more likely to be promoted by the new algorithm than posts that have meaningful content but have a global outreach.

When creating and sharing content, localise as much as you can. Draw focus to local events, tag neighbourhoods that are geographically close to your target audience. If you do have a global customer base, take turns to produce posts that are localised to specific markets.


1. Connect and regularly engage with those accounts which are the most relevant to your business

The new Instagram algorithm is highly restrictive for brands who don’t know how to work it. Instead of setting sights on the entire Instagram community, focus your posts only on the handful of personal and business accounts who can have an impact on your visibility.

These accounts can belong to influencers and other organisations who can supplement your efforts.

2. Use algorithm-friendly hashtags

Hashtags get 12.6% higher engagement to posts, something which isn’t possible by any other marketing strategy. This is why its essential to use hashtags. With Instagram brands now being allowed to follow hashtags and add them to their profiles, the power of hashtags has almost doubled.

But, the new algorithm restricts the usage of certain hashtags. Those which are offensive, which are too overused and spammy and those which don’t have a large usage rate are all akin to invalid in the eyes of the new algorithm.

To combat this problem, it’s best to stick to hashtags generated by users themselves. Instagram offers brands analytics tools which help them understand the number of people using a particular hashtag. Using only highly-used hashtags in posts is a great way to stay relevant. Additionally, it’s important to avoid using the same hashtag 2-3 days in a row. Use new hashtags and trending ones alternately to get a better reach on the platform.

3. Improve the quality of your photos

Instagram users only like and follow your profile because of the amazing photos you post. Whether the photo adds any value to them or not, users are more likely to engage with photos that are visually stirring.

It stands to reason that you hire a professional photographer to click your photos for you. The same goes for Instagram videos. However, if you don’t have the money to spend on experts or don’t wish to, invest in top-quality editing software and learn to work some magic.

Image Credits: Pixabay

4. Join an Instagram Pod

Insta pods are small groups of users who work within the same industry/niche. These can be businesses, influencers and even individual users who are looking to get their profiles in the limelight.

When a member of the pod publishes a post, he/she shares it with his/her pod. The others like/comment/share the post and help the post gain greater reach and visibility. The unspoken agreement is that the brand which posted the content returns the favour when another pod member posts something of his/her own.

Insta pods have been having an extraordinary impact on Instagram post-performance. Micro-influencer Amanda Rose says the number of likes and comments on her posts tripled after she joined an Insta pod.

5. Get creative with your profile

One of the best ways to keep your profile in the audiences’ line-of-sight is to get creative with the profile. Use funky images and write a humorous bio. You can also consider using a trending hashtag in the bio itself or creating a branded hashtag which you can use and promote across platforms.

Make your bio SEO-friendly and add links to your website/blog. Make it as personal as you can.

Image Credits: Pixabay

Advice that both platforms can leverage from

1. Create content that your readers would want to engage with

Relevance to the audience is the primary criteria that the new social media algorithm functions on. The best way to best the algorithm and rank high on feeds is to create or curate content which users actually want to read.

The best way to do this is to ask your followers what they want to read/see on their feeds. Hold weekly polls or surveys to narrow down on the content your audience prefers. Then spend time whetting content and only post that content which truly will add value.

2. Ask influencers to step in

Influencers are the first people to be affected by algorithmic changes on social media, and they are the first to respond to them too. If you haven’t got the hang of the new algorithm yet, it’s best to turn to an expert for assistance.

Partner with an influencer and have them promote your content for you. Apart from getting your posts the visibility they need, influencers will also help you enter new niches and find new customers.

3. Find your active hours

Research shows that there are specific times of the day when a social media user likes to use his/her account. Identifying these times and scheduling your posts only during those times is extremely helpful in managing the challenges posed by the new algorithm.

It’s been noticed that Wednesday noon-2 pm and Thursday 1 pm-2 pm are the best times to post on Facebook and Wednesday 3 pm, Thursday 5 am, 11 am, 3 pm & 4 pm and Friday 5 am are the best times to post on Instagram.

Image Credits: Pixabay

4. Leverage trends

If something is trending even in the age of algorithmic changes, then there must be something right about it. Whether they’re hashtags or keywords or topics of conversation, if they’re trending, use them in your posts.

Start conversations about them, create content about them and start a spin-off tag about them if you can manage it. Content about trending topic automatically gets promoted, and you can easily get more views and page/profile visits through them.

5. Push yourself to engage

Finally, a time-tested way to get yourself noticed in the sea of posts, profiles and pages is to constantly engage with users. Algorithm changes or not, you’ll still be visible and relevant if you put in the effort to connect with your audience.

If your posts aren’t getting promoted of their own accord, visit a group or a partner’s page and actively have conversations with your target customers. Draw attention to your brand and get people to visit your page/profile manually. Once they see the useful content you’ve created, they are more likely to like/comment/share it, resulting in your posts gaining relevance and popularity. This will automatically increase your power and potential in the eyes of the new algorithm.

Now that you know how to work with Facebook and Instagram, give these tips a try.

In the next article, we’ll look at how to manage the new algorithm in Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.