Instagram has changed and many who depend on it for business are suffering. Some months ago, they updated their algorithm, much like Facebook’s algorithm shift of 2 years ago. Posts no longer show chronologically on individual user's feeds.
Previously, accounts had immense and FREE access to incredible ROI per post. Pre-algorithm, the only investment one needed to make was the time and energy necessary to create memorable visuals and short form copy for a caption. Everyone who depends on engagement — brands, influencers, business owners — must now pay via sponsored ads to reach new audiences.
There is a way to combat this with what I like to call Boost Groups.
In one of my online communities, another Instagrammer referred to these as “comment pods.” (Something about it reminds me of 80’s horror movies, so I’m gonna stick with Boost Group. Just know they’re the same thing.)
Here’s what you need to do:
- Identify 5–10 people within your community or niche. Are you a lifestyle photographer? Fashion blogger? You most likely have a group of business BFFs who already support you. Maybe they’re other solopreneurs aligned with your values or they have a complementary aesthetic.
- Reach out and ask if they are interested in becoming a part of a group that helps each other maintain a successful Instagram presence.
- When you get 5-10 people who are interested, send a direct group message via IG. Sample message -> “Hey, y’all! This here is a boost group. Any time you post, click the little heart in the lower right corner. No need to type a message or anything. That’s our boost signal to go to your account and give a little love.”
- Lead by example. Tap the heart.
- Watch the friendship roll in and give yourself the equivalent of a hug or high-five. You’ve just built a self-sustaining community.
- Return the favor. Don’t just power like. That’s ~fine~ but to truly boost a post, a comment is necessary. And we don't mean a singular emoji - insiders suggest using a minimum of 3 words, or else your comment won't work favorably with the algorithm.
- Add people as you see fit. Encourage others to do the same. Consider making a second, more specific group.
I currently have a boost group for friends in my secret Facebook marketing group, one for others who manage business accounts, and another for members of my women’s collective. Collaborations may result. In the form of group giveaways, cross promotions, and serious friendship.
Check out my account and peep that engagement. My followers were just at 1,500 when I first posted this minimal cartoon late one Friday night. It received 166 likes by morning, which was a record high for me at the time. That follower account is far from influencer status, but my engagement is phenomenal.
It's close to 11% engagement. In social media land, that’s a heckuva lot. Companies who solely manage Instagram engagement boast that they can achieve 1% engagement. Next time you're perusing "the gram," peep the amount of likes your favorite digital influencer got. Even they are feeling the algorithm's throttle.
Boost Groups won’t help if you’re not sharing quality content that’s always on brand. When used in conjunction with other best practices, they’re a lifesaver. Follow me to get an idea of who I am and learn additional tips. I also teach hands-on, in-person workshops for small business owners to learn how to harness the power of Instagram.
This article is written with the intention to help those of us who utilize Instagram with B2C or B2B goals. If you consider the everyday, casual user, this algorithm is a boon that ensures they see posts that are likely of interest to them, as opposed to any shared post. Some of my friends love that they’re only shown the posts they want to see. Who doesn’t want a curated feed of visuals and content that consistently appeals? To each their own.
What do you think about it all? Share your questions or comments about Boost Groups and I’ll be sure to respond. Thanks for reading!