I remember the days when Instagram was all about posting spontaneously and adding a million filters to every photo posted. 

Then came the days of the perfect grid. People posted random white squares just to get things back into order. It felt like so much work

Now it seems like everyone is doing something different, and sometimes it can feel like just about anyone is going viral or becoming an influencer — except you

What is the magic recipe or secret thing that everyone else knows? 

I set out on a scrolling quest to find the answers — and procrastinate lifebut I digress


Get ready to go Insta-famous because media update's Alrika Möller is sharing the secret to growing on Instagram. 

There was a time when Instagram was just photos — badly lit photos of avocado toast and Starbucks Frappuccinos, but still only photos. Now, Instagram has many aspects and features. 

It will be easier to divide and conquer. So, without further ado: 



Join Threads

I know, I know! To some of us, Threads feels like a backup for X or a social media platform that we have no idea what to do with, but there is value in using the Instagram extension. 

The Instagram algorithm is very particularly designed. If you are active on Threads, your posts on the OG app will also get a boost

The key is to post the right amount and the right stuff. What does that mean? 

Start by posting something incredibly specific. A post that tells users who you are and what kind of content you create will get your post out to people interested in that type of content. We all know that people follow the same creators on Insta and Threads. 

Another tip is to not post too little or too much. The magic number is five. If you post on Threads five times a week — not even very profound posts — you will get the magic boost. 


Use Stories effectively

Everyone loves a good Insta Story. It is easy to post, and it feels spontaneous

The sad thing about Stories is that it is usually the place from where people tend to leave the app — which is not ideal

So how do you make the most out of your stories? 

Unfortunately, the post-as-it-happens method is not a recipe for success anymore. If you want people to watch all your stories and still come back for more, you will have to post in sets of six

You can post less than six at a time, but don't post any more than that; otherwise, people will get bored, or they will just mindlessly tap through. 

When you post your set of six, wait the full 24 hours for the stories' active time to run out before posting the next set. This will give people a break from stories before they get bored and then they can come back fresh to watch your new set. 

If you want people to actively seek out your stories, it helps to refer to them in your posts. Mention a story in your Reel. Direct people to your stories — they will watch them.  


Layer your content

Content layering is very similar to layering clothes in winter. Every layer needs to serve a purpose — otherwise, it just feels like your closet threw up on you. 

To layer your content the right way, you need to use analytics. When you use analytics, you should look at three things. These comprise what posts are getting the most: 


  2. shares, and 


Check the type of posts. Do the photos of you by yourself get the most likes? Are quirky quotes getting the most shares? Are followers sharing your memes

Next, create your carousel accordingly. The type of content that gets the most likes goes first. That is usually the thing that draws people in. 

The second thing in your carousel should be whatever gets the most shares. These posts give your content a longer shelf life

Third is your content that encourages people to comment. That is when they really start to engage with content. After that, you can create the rest of your photo dump — as the youths call it

Using this layering technique will boost your engagement, which will ultimately lead to the algorithm giving you an extra nudge



Get your Reels right

Reels are the best way to grow your Instagram if you do it the right way. 

Now, you might ask, "How do you do it the right way?"

Here are some tips I found: 


Focus on watch time

Watch time is how much time someone spends watching your video. Ideally, you want people to watch your video all the way through at least once. Bonus points if they watch it again!

In order to increase the watch time of your Reels, you will have to create the following strong hooks in the first five seconds of your Reel:  

  • a visual hook — something visibly happening, like opening a door

  • an audible hook — any sound such as speaking, music or a trending sound, and 

  • a text hook — any writing or emojis that can appear on the screen.  

The hook will get people to pay attention and stop them from immediately scrolling, but it is not enough to make them stay. 

If you want viewers to stay till the end, you need to interrupt their scrolling pattern. A scrolling pattern is when someone scrolls away from a video the moment things get boring, or if the video is just more of what they've already seen. 

To interrupt the scrolling pattern, you have to make things happen. When text keeps appearing and disappearing every two to five seconds, it will keep people engaged. 

Another great way to keep people watching is using sounds that have a beat drop or emphasis every few seconds. 


Post often enough

No one is shocked by this one, but you have to post the right amount. Once again, the magic number is five

Post no more or less than five times every week; this includes your static posts. You can space them out however you want. 

If you post too little, you won't get enough engagement for the algorithm to bring your content back to users

If you post too much, people will get fatigued by your content and stop engaging, which will once again work against you when it comes to the algorithm. 


Utilise hashtags the right way

Hashtags were specifically invented to give your social media content an extra push. That being said, it is possible to overdo it on the hashtags. 

Similarly to everything else I have discussed, there is a magic number for hashtags. Use between five and eight hashtags per post and try to make them at least a little niche

Niche hashtags will help people find your content more specifically so that it doesn't get lost in the sea of posts using #fyp (yes, people actually use it on Insta)




Make use of trending audios

Trending audios will help your content get some extra love from the algorithm. Sounds that have less than 10 000 videos but are exhibiting rapid growth are the sweet spot. 

If there are too many videos under a sound, people will get bored of it and not watch your video. 

If you use a sound while it is still growing in popularity, your video will grow along with it, giving you more and more views as the audio gets more popular. 


Avoid TikTok reshares

It is common practice on the apps to just post your TikTok video as a Reel. That is not the best idea.

If you want the Instagram algorithm to like you, you have to avoid posting anything with the TikTok logo on it. 



Instagram may have changed over the last few years, but the desire to get those likes and follows is as strong as ever. You just have to know how to play the game


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If you want to give your social media content the best possible chance to succeed, check out our guide to Cross-posting on social media.

*Image courtesy of Canva