A common goal of all social media managers is to get their content seen by as many eyeballs as possible.

To do this you need to understand metrics like Reach, and how you can increase it.

In this article, you’ll understand exactly how you can increase your reach on Instagram:

Before delving into what kinds of activities you can do to increase your reach on Instagram, here’s how the algorithm works in 2023.

How the Instagram Algorithm Works in 2023

It’s common to think of the algorithm as one. But the reality is that Instagram has multiple algorithms, with different factors at play. We’ll go on to clarify.

Instagram states that “each part of the app – Feed, Explore, Reels – uses its own algorithm tailored to how people use it.”

That said, it’s important that we understand exactly which consumer behaviors are taking place in each of these app sections.

Users tend to look for content from their friends, family, and people closest to them in Instagram’s Stories and Feed. On the other hand, on Reels and Explore, they tend to look for new content.

However, this does not mean that the user will not follow corporate Instagram pages, with the goal of getting that content in the feed. It is never as linear as it seems.

Nevertheless, to understand how you can increase your reach on Instagram, you need to understand exactly which factors the algorithm benefits in each of the sections.

Ranking Factors on Feed and Stories

Ranking factors on feed and stories are relatively simple. In its essence the algorithm shows you posts in your feed based on how recently the people you follow, post on Instagram.

After that, the algorithm will cross-reference information about what was posted, who posted it, and the user’s preferences. This information, or “signals” as Instagram calls it, are:

  • Data about the post: This includes how many people liked the post, time of post, time length (if it’s a video), and location.
  • Information about who posted: These signals include how many times the user has interacted with the profile in recent weeks.
  • User preferences: The signals taken into account here are: amount of posts the user has liked, comments and “saved” on a particular type of content or profile.

According to Instagram, on the feed, the 5 interactions with the most importance for the algorithm to show you a certain content are:

  • Time spent on a post
  • Comments
  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Click on profile picture.

The more likely a user is to perform these actions with your content, the more Instagram will recommend you at the top of the feed and stories.

Ranking Factors on Explore

This page is designed for users to find new content based on the recommendations that Instagram makes.

The algorithm logic on this page is the same, in the sense that Instagram looks at the photos and videos that might interest you based on what posts you’ve liked, commented on, and saved in the past few weeks.

The difference lies in the fact that instead of looking at the user’s behavior, the algorithm looks at the behavior of other users.

This includes factors such as:

  • Information about the publication: Here it is taken into account how popular the publication seems to be. Signs such as the speed of likes, comments, saves are used.
  • The user’s activity: This includes signals like likes, saves and comments from publications on the explore page in the past.
  • Information about who has posted: Again, here are signals such as how many users have interacted with the profile during the past few weeks.
    Ranking Factors on Reels

Ranking Factors on Reels

Most of the content that shows up for you in the Reels is from users who don’t follow your page, which is good from the point of view of getting more reach.

The ranking factors on Reels are based on the likelihood of the user watching the Reels to the end, liking, commenting, saving, and visiting the audio page.

The differentiating factor on Reels are signals about the audio and comprehension of the video based on pixels.

Now that you have seen which factors Instagram takes into account to increase the reach of your posts, before we give you the tips, it is important that you understand the difference between Impressions and Reach.

Impressions vs Reach

This is where a lot of social media marketers and managers get lost, as there is some confusion between Impressions and Reach, which are two different metrics.

Imagine that a user views your content twice. Instagram will show you: 1 reach and 2 impressions.

In other words, reach is the total number of people who have contact with a post. Regardless if you saw a post 10 times, reach will only count as 1 person.

Impressions, on the other hand, are counted based on how many times the posts were displayed to users.

7 Tips to Increase Reach on Instagram

1. Post at the Right Time.

As we could see above, one of the factors still relevant for getting to the top of the feed is Timing.

To be able to capitalize on this ranking factor, you will need to know what are the best times to post on each social network for your specific audience.

Well, doing an analysis like this without a tool that gives us a clear map of what times throughout the day work best for our account is tricky.

Fortunately, for this you can use Swonkie’s reports, which help you understand exactly what hours are working for you.

Image showing the swonkie platform's functionality about the best times to post on Instagram

You can access this map of the best times to post to your feed, which is calculated using the engagement, reach and impressions of your posts, through Swonkie’s Advanced Reports.

2. Collaborations

If you want to increase your reach organically and penetrate new communities, Instagram’s collaborations feature is probably one of your best options to start with.

With Instagram collaborations, a single post is shared on the feed of the two partners involved.

To get a practical look at the power of collaborative posts, we show you the example of Swonkie and Brinfer (two partner companies), where we made a collaborative Reels showcasing our sponsership at the largest digital marketing event in the country, Marketing Masters Live.

In less than 24 hours, the Reels from the event already has more reach than the last 3 Reels.

Image containing 4 Reels side by side, showing the impact that collaborations have on a post's
reach on Instagram

The limit number of collaborators you can add in a single post is 20. Remember that for a collaboration post to be made, collaborators must agree to participate in it, individually.

3. Have an Hashtags Strategy

If Instagram was a library and your posts were the books, then the hashtags (#) would be the sections.

Similar to a library, when you want to find a certain book, the first thing you do is go to the section where that book is located. You already know that you will find books about personal finance in the section of… personal finance.

The same happens with your content. If you want to maximize the reach of your posts, you need to have a hashtags strategy in place. Here are some best practices:

  • Don’t use spaces in Hashtags
  • Be careful when using generic hashtags. While these may boost your reach , they won’t always bring you a qualified audience.
    Include an hashtag that relates to the topic of your post.
  • If you are writing about neuromarketing, try to include #neuromarketing
  • Use a location hashtag if it is relevant. This helps people near you find you more easily.

4. Interact with the community

The fastest (but not as meaningful) method to increase your reach on Instagram is by interacting with users who are within your community.

If for example you have an instagram account that talks about cars, visit car dealership pages, car enthusiasts, and others.

This is your chance to add value to your community through comments and responses.

One strategy practiced by several companies is to use humor in comments either from competitors or from accounts with similar content.

5. Go Live

Once you have figured out what time your audience is most active on Instagram, you can do a live at that same time.

This is because when you do a live on Instagram, your profile is pinned at the top of your followers’ stories, which gives you tremendous reach, even if your followers don’t log in to watch.

If you want the best of both worlds, you can do collaborations on your live. This will give you double the exposure since you can interact and appear in the stories of your collaborators’ communities.

6. Reels: Best Practices

As stated above, Reels can be seen by users who do not follow you.

The Challenge in Reels is to capture the user’s attention, since on average, if in the first 3 seconds if you fail to do so, your Reel will be “swiped away”.

The situation gets worse when we talk about ads, since when it comes to them, the attention span decreases to 1.5 seconds.

That said, to reach more users with your reels, there are some best practices you should follow:

  • Intrigue the user in the first few seconds. Here it is interesting to think about how you can appeal to your user’s curiosity. The secret is in the copy and how irresistible you make it. An example: Instead of saying “10 tips for single people”, say “When no one approaches you at the club, who’s to blame?”
  • Use a narrative. Remember that another of the positioning factors in Reels is seeing it through to the end. If you’ve already done the first step of grabbing attention, now you just need to work through what you’ve promised through a narrative. Use music, transitions, text, an appealing scenario, among other factors you consider important for your goal.

7. Paid Advertisement

As much as you make efforts organically, the reality is that without paid ads, your reach on Instagram is never going to be maximized.

In order for you to really reach the vast majority of users interested in your content, you will need to sponsor some posts.

This can be done either by promoting a post within the Instagram app itself or through paid ads, the difference between the two being that you can customize the targeting, budget, and more.

Now I have the tips. What’s Next?

As with all strategies, the most important part is execution.

Use the strategies mentioned in this article and follow the suggested best practices.

Of course you don’t have to follow everything exactly, and each manager will have different needs, which implies being flexible in the actions to execute.