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 algorithmย 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 youย ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 timeย to make it easier.ย  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 botย  ย – so you wont be banned from Instagram – it mimics what a human would do at a human speed)

How do you find a pod? There are facebook groups dedicated to finding Instagram pods. Just type in Instagram Pod in the search bar.

You can also search on Telegram or create your own!

Comments are also super valuable on Instagram, so see if you can reach out to some people in your niche and join a comment pod.

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, who happens to sell on Etsy, so there was a crossover on hashtags. You can see that both they and my original post are trending in some searches.


instagram top posts


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!



Belinda xxx


instagram top nine posts

how to get into the instagram top nine #instagram #instagramtips #instagrammarketing #instagramtopnine

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38 thoughts on “Why you need to be in the Instagram Top Nine

  1. Hi Belinda. I’m also in INstagram and I’m always trying to find ways how to get more followers or IG user attention. I used hash tag but maybe im using it the wrong way. Thank you for sharing this amazing tips.

  2. Thanks for sharing these tips! Instagram can be a tough nut to crack but I definitely agree that getting into the featured photos is key! I’ll have to take your hashtag notes and put them to use!

  3. I never thought that before! I know that hashtag would be helpful but not this way that I thought! Glad that you shared it!

  4. I’ve never given much thought about being on the Top 9 until I read this post. I try to use relevant hashtags whenever I post photos on Instagram. Photo composition helps, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Some nice thoughts and tips. Hashtags are indeed very important, I see Instagram has been playing lately and the hashtags which used to get quick likes are not the same anymore. As you said it is more like trial and error.

  6. This is actually a really interesting read! I need to build a strategy to improve my instagram and this sounds like it would help!

    1. I struggled at first! Read so much about so many different strategies, but I think I just had to find one that worked for me. Hopefully, it will work for others too ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. These are great tips! I try to use relevant hashtags, but the Instagram algorithm seems so hard to crack. I was in the top 9 once and have no clue how I did it!

    1. Thanks! Give the above a go and let me know how you get on! With the one you achieved last time, is there anything different you can identify that you did? Time, offer, photo composition? What was the search size of the hashtag you ranked for? Was it relevant to you, the phot or your customer? Good luck!

    1. No worries! With building followers, there are a couple of things you can try. Find your competitors and follow their followers. If they are interested in your competitor’s products, chances are they will be interested in yours too. Second, try complementary niches. So say you sold bathroom fittings, follow bathroom decor and suppliers. Remember to keep in mind the follower ratio and to unfollow those accounts that don’t follow you back in a couple of days. Try an app like IG clean to keep on top of it. If you drop your account here, I am happy to follow you ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck!

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