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Instagram’s Algorithm routinely changes and things are kept pretty hush hush from the public 🤫. For business owners, it can be a real challenge keeping up with algorithm updates, so in our latest video, Outsourcing Angel’s Marketing Manager, Annie (@anniesbucketlis), shares all her tried and tested Instagram’s Algorithm Hacks to help you stay ahead in engagement and follower growth!

Instagram Algorithm Hacks

Hack #1: Instagram Search Engine Optimisation

Every day more Instagram users are utilising the platform like a search engine.

For example, you’re trying to decide on a venue for your birthday and website searches just give you a whole lot of stock images… but you want to see REAL photos from real people, so you head on Instagram and search for the venue either by location tag, hashtag or username.

You think to yourself:

  • What does the venue look like in the most recent images? *clicks tagged images*
  • Is it a popular venue? *scrolls through recent tags*
  • And most importantly… is it Instagrammable?!

Searching on Google isn’t going to give you the same type of results, so for many people, it feels like a more credible source for this user. This is why business owners need to understand the increasing importance of Instagram SEO so that they can appear in Instagram Search Results when it matters!

Instagram SEO Tips

1. Hashtags

It sounds obvious, but hashtags are one of the best ways to make your content discoverable. It helps Instagram categorise your posts to not only reach your target audience, but let your audience find you.

But don’t just use generic hashtags… think OUTSIDE of just the name of your brand and what the product/service is, think of search phrases that people may type in.

For example, instead of just #sydneycafe you also should may decide to use foodie hashtags like #bestcafeinsydney or #sydneycafeguide. Even if the hashtag appears to be quite niche right now, you want to add it to your hashtag list to stay on top of trends!

If you’re stuck on ideas, you or your Instagram Virtual Assistant can try using a tool like Display Purposes, a free Instagram hashtag generator.

How to use Display Purposes:

  1. Type in a keyword or a few keywords
  2. You’ll receive a list of the top hashtags related to yours
  3. Click on ‘Copy’ to copy the list or ‘See Stats’ for more information like demographics, gender split and more

Of course, Display Purposes is just a general list of top hashtags, but you’ll still need to develop a better Hashtag List which takes into consideration important factors like hashtag search quantity too.

Want to outsource it to an Instagram Virtual Assistant?

For step-by-step training training videos on how to set-up everything for your Instagram (e.g content calendar, reports, Virtual Assistant processes) – check out our Instagram Course.

Use code INSTAGRAM100 and enjoy $100 USD off the course!

2. Location tags

Location Tags can help you increase the exposure of your posts as people search for things in that particular location. But many people just continually tag their physical location… this is going to put your targeting to waste!

Instead, ask yourself:

  • Where are my customers from?
  • What areas do they frequent?
  • Which would I like to expand to?

And then come up with a list of these locations and have these on rotation for different posts throughout the week. This allows you to literally teleport your business to any location you desire!

The more location tags you use and test, the more data you’ll get on the engagement and reach generated from these tags. Your Social Media Virtual Assistant can help you gather this data in Instagram Reports and assist you in further developing a foolproof Location Tag list!

3. Alt Text

Alt-Text is a hidden feature on Instagram that makes your Instagram content accessible to people that are vision impaired. By adding Alt Text to your images, it gives the user context on what is in the image.

If you’re familiar with Image Alt Text rules for website SEO purposes, you may also know that the text appears in place of an image when it can’t be properly displayed.

Although Alt Text is currently not getting crawled by Search Engines like Google, it still may play a part in Instagram’s Algorithm by allowing the platform to get a better understanding of your niche.

Nonetheless, it is still part of your best practice to use this feature and the more features you use, the more Instagram will reward you. So make use of the Alt Text feature by including an explanation of what your content is, include keywords where possible (but don’t stuff it with keywords!)

Adding Alt Text to images you’ve already uploaded to your Instagram can be a cumbersome task. This is the perfect type of task that you could outsource to a Social Media Virtual Assistant from Outsourcing Angel.

4. Profile Optimisation

Optimising your Instagram Profile is not as simple as including your name and website, there’s actually an entire checklist of things that you should do to optimise your profile with the right keywords.

Get the complete list of Profile Optimisations in our Instagram Checklist below. We actually developed this checklist to give to our team of Social Media Virtual Assistants so that they could optimise their client profiles, something we would love to do for you too!

Hack 2: Use their newest features

Introducing the rise of Instagram Reels! This has become the new secret weapon of Instagram, where people can create and discover fun and entertaining videos on the platform (yep, it’s basically Tik Tok but on Instagram)

Since its introduction last August, Reels has taken up a lot of real estate in Instagram’s Explore and Search… so you can tell Instagram is really trying to push this feature.

Most people think Reels are all funny nonsensical videos that wouldn’t really do anything for their business, but if you just let yourself think outside of the box, you can definitely find a fun way to showcase educational content in a 15 – 30 second clip.

The easiest way to come up with ideas… is to look at what’s on the Discover page of Tik Tok, because most of the time those trends will translate over to Instagram shortly after.

From here, you should take a note of:

  • Trending hashtags
  • Trending music/audio
  • Style of editing (e.g Green Screen, voiceover)

And if you come across someone’s insanely popular Tik Tok and you would like to replicate it for your own page, make sure you always credit the original user. Not only is this common courtesy, it also allows you to potentially appear in front of their audiences too.

If you don’t have time to do your Tik Tok Research, this is another task that you can outsource to your Instagram Virtual Assistant – aren’t they just the best!

With all this in mind, the next step is to make sure you’re optimising your Reels to get the most reach and engagement. Luckily, we’ve just released our FREE Instagram Reels Best Practices guide (and yes our Virtual Assistants have been through Instagram Reels Training too!)

Hack 3: In-App Shopping

Image from TechCrunch

Instagram shopping is becoming more interactive by the day and in-app shopping can be a new revenue generator for eCommerce businesses that know how to utilise their Instagram reach and engagement.

Fun Fact: 130 million users tap on shopping posts every month!

It is expected that shoppable posts are on the rise in 2021, so if you’re a brand of business with a physical product, these are the type of shoppable posts you can use:

  1. Shopping feed posts: This allows you to tag up to 5 products in one post.
  2. Shopping carousel posts: You can create a lookbook for your brand with multiple images and tag up to 20 products.
  3. Tagged products in Instagram stories: Users can watch your story and tap a product sticker or ‘swipe up’ to purchase or learn more about the product.

Setting up your shop can be time-consuming especially if you have no technical knowledge and a large catalogue of products. So we recommend outsourcing this task to a Social Media Virtual Assistant from Outsourcing Angel.

Our Virtual Assistants specialise in Social Media and Marketing so we have a trusted and experienced talent pool of Virtual Assistants that have set up many Facebook Shop fronts before!

So make sure you get it set up, link it to your Instagram, get those products tagged and reach even more customers today!

If you’re interested in hiring a Virtual Assistant, you can book a FREE Discovery Call with our Outsourcing Specialist Heidi, who can answer all your questions around Virtual Assistants and how they can fit into your business.

Get step-by-step training videos on how to outsource your Instagram to a Social Media Manager or Instagram Virtual Assistant:

  • Set up your Instagram Playbook
  • Set up your Content Calendar
  • Pre-filled Customer Avatar Template
  • Learn about Instagram Engagement Methods
  • Understand the best practices
  • Set up reports and processes

Use code INSTAGRAM100 at checkout for $100 USD off the course!

Charlotte Ramos

Charlotte is a Copywriting Virtual Assistant with over 10 years of experience in marketing content creation, search engine-optimised blog articles and website copy. She's one of our most valuable Angels with vast knowledge of the digital marketing landscape and business systemisation.


  • Avatar inside the box says:

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  • Avatar Aisha Blackmore says:

    Wow, I’ve been looking for such a complete and useful information, thank you for the tips 🙂