How to beat Instagram’s algorithm

  • backlit photo of girl looking into bubble machine by April Nienhuis

It’s been over a year since Instagram made its algorithm change but the struggle is still present.

The chronological order or posts that you know and love has been replaced by an algorithm. They say it will show you “the moments we believe you care about the most.”

Nobody knows all the details behind the algorithm but there are a few ways to beat it.

1. Engage with others

The beauty of Instagram is the community (and all the pretty pictures). Commenting and liking other people’s photos has always been the best way to build relationships on there and it always will be. I personally made it my own goal a few months ago to try to comment more and I’ve gotten to know some wonderful people much better by doing so. And who doesn’t love a comment on their photo?

With the algorithm change, that’s just more incentive to comment on and double tap those photos. The more you engage with a post by commenting, liking, or sharing, the more Instagram’s algorithm will see that you have a relationship with that account and include it at the top of your feed.

2. Ask questions

Do you want to make sure people see your posts? Asking questions will increase engagement on your own photo and help ensure that your post gets seen by your followers (and commenters will see your future posts).

I enjoy talking to people on Instagram so this is something I’ve done for a while now when I’m curious about something. I love getting people’s opinion on things and have asked for book recommendations, vacation suggestions, and even about who their favorite photographers are when working on a work project for Click & Company.


3. Post quality photos

If making sure your photos are at the top of the algorithm is important to you then the motto of quality over quantity is going to be a good rule of thumb to follow. The better the photo the more likely you’re going to get likes and comments which will push it up in the algorithm. Feel free to post your favorite DSLR photos and if you post cell phone images, make sure you apply the basics of photography that you use with your big camera like quality light, rule of thirds, perspective, and telling a story. If you want to know what type of photos works best on your account, consider using a tool like Iconosquare or Union Metrics which shows you what your top photos are and you can see a trend between them.

Anybody else’s Tuesday feel like this? #faceszoeymakes A post shared by April Nienhuis (@aprilnienhuis) on

4. Turn on post notifications

Turning on post notifications is a relatively new Instagram update. If you tap the three dots above a photo you’ll see the option to “turn on post notifications”. Doing this will allow a push notification to be sent to your phone every time that person posts.

This will absolutely keep you in the loop when someone you really care about posts something new but consider how often they post and how many notifications you turn on because this will determine how many times your phone dings or vibrates. I know that if I turned on notifications for the hundreds of people I follow my phone would be a constant buzz and distraction.

Never say never but I don’t personally intend on using this feature.

Long story short, authentic engagement is key.

Everything I mentioned are things I already do and intend to continue doing. Now make sure you’re following me on Instagram so we can keep in touch.

About the Author:

With a fondness for capturing the details in life and nature, April has been taking photographs for more than a decade. She has an extensive background in blogging, SEO, social media management and second shooting and enjoys sharing her knowledge with others. Her days are spent remodeling her home in rural Oklahoma, caring for her hobby farm with her firefighter/EMT husband and homeschooling their three kids.


  1. Erin Mar 28 2016 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    Great tips April! Thank you!

    • April Nienhuis Mar 30 2016 at 9:16 am - Reply

      You’re welcome, Erin!

  2. Alice C. Mar 28 2016 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    Really awesome tips, April! <3

    • April Nienhuis Mar 30 2016 at 9:17 am - Reply

      You’re welcome, Alice!

  3. Gina Mar 28 2016 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the great tips April! <3

    • April Nienhuis Mar 30 2016 at 9:17 am - Reply

      Glad you liked it, Gina!

  4. Lisa Benemelis Mar 28 2016 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    Fantastic tips! Thank you for sharing this, April.

    • April Nienhuis Mar 30 2016 at 9:17 am - Reply

      Anytime, Lisa!

  5. NinaZM Mar 28 2016 at 9:36 pm - Reply

    thank you for this super timely tutorial, April!

    • April Nienhuis Mar 30 2016 at 9:17 am - Reply

      You’re welcome, Nina!

  6. Meg Mar 28 2016 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the suggestions

    • April Nienhuis Mar 30 2016 at 9:18 am - Reply

      Glad they were helpful, Meg!

  7. Tish Mar 29 2016 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    great tips! Thanks April!

    • April Nienhuis Mar 30 2016 at 9:18 am - Reply

      You’re welcome, Tish!

  8. Melissa Stottmann Apr 04 2016 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    Great tips! TY April 🙂

  9. Dan Bryant Apr 11 2016 at 6:49 am - Reply

    Some awesome tips April! I\’d particularly agree with your point that engaging is the best way to build relationships with your audience – like, comment, share the love etc…

    • April Nienhuis Sep 07 2016 at 1:44 pm - Reply

      Dan, I would venture to say that the engagement point is the most important one. After all, Instagram is based on relationships 🙂

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