Why you need to be in the Instagram Top Nine
… and how to get there
Why do you need to be in the Instagram Top Posts section?
- It gets your content in front of more people
- Helps your reach
- Leads to (hopefully!) more likes and follows
…which all together help you to reach your Instagram goals faster.
So how do you get there?
First, let’s talk hashtags
Hashtag strategies vary on Instagram. Through much trial and error, I have found that the best technique for hashtags is to use a combination of quick likes (popular hashtags), longevity and relevancy tags.
Quick likes are ones that will bring you instant engagement from active users. Longevity tags are ones that will bring you interaction over time. And the most important ones are those relevant to your brand, niche and the photo.
The relevancy of your hashtags is important if you want to grow your followers the right way and attract the right people. For example, if you sell on Etsy, although the hashtags such as #uketsyseller may not be as popular, that is the place your new followers (read: potential clients) will find you.
So what are the Top Posts?
The Top Posts are the nine images you see first when you search a hashtag. They are what Instagram has deemed to be the best content currently associated with that hashtag. The top posts stay visible for longer. They are based on value and not chronological like the other posts in the search section. Depending on the hashtag used, they could stay hours, days or even weeks in that spot.
Ok, so how do I get there?
The idea is to get really quick engagement on your posts. The Instagram algorithm assumes that if a lot of people are liking your post then you are putting out valuable content. There does not seem to be a numerical value for the engagement – a post with fewer likes may rank higher than one with much more. Equally, you don’t have to have a large number of followers to get in the top nine either. We cant be sure of the way the algorithm works but rapid engagement is certainly a factor.
Now, on popular hashtags, it is going to be very difficult to get into the Top Posts section. But that is ok. We use the popular hashtags for the rapid engagement which pushes it up the feed of the less popular hashtags – the ones where your potential customers will find you 😉
Another way of getting rapid engagement is to join an Instagram Pod – which is all about rapidly liking the posts of the people in the pod. Usually, posts will go up at a set time to make it easier. There are also Facebook groups that run engagement threads or challenges. (pro tip: If joining in on pods or quick like threads on Facebook or Telegram, use the LikeItAll extension on chrome to automatically open and like the posts in the thread. This isnt a bot – so you wont be banned from Instagram – it mimics what a human would do at a human speed)
I have used the above strategy for both myself and my clients, with varying results, but most times ending up with a top placement in a niche hashtag.
See it in action
In the images below I was promoting an Etsy listing special. So I used the hashtags for my niche, such as #virtualassistant as well as ones relating to my target audience, such as #uketsyseller.
Later that night I also put up some clients photos. You can see that both they and my original post are trending in some searches.
So what do you think? What strategy do you use with your hashtags? Would also love to hear some success stories of those who have reached the Top Posts section and how you got there!