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instagram algorithm tips tricks success beat by the skinny confidential

Today we have one of my best friends ( since we were 12! ), Erica Stolman of Fashionlush, GUEST POSTING on what she does best: INSTAGRAM.

ERICA is a top influencer ( FASHIONLUSH! ) & she also happens to be my partner in blog-doo ( a blogger resource & design company !! ). One thing I will tell you guys about Erica: she KNOWS HER SHIT WHEN IT COMES TO BLOGGING & INSTAGRAM.

Backstory: Erica & I met when we were in 7th grade. Which is just so nuts. We have so many stories together ( should we film a video? ). It’s funny because we were kind of blogging before blogging was a thing. Erica & I did this thing called ‘DT’ which is also known as ‘Diary Time.’ It was a whole made up thing. During DT we would fill our Barnes & Noble diaries with tips, tricks, magazine articles…just like a blog. But we were 13. Crazy.

We’ve really been through it all. She’s my business partner, she helped me at my wedding, & she’s been through it all with me ESPECIALLY in the blogger world. Basically…she gets it. I can call her anytime about blogger life. I mean, it is just a weird job in general so it’s nice to have someone who understands.

You know what else she understands? INSTAGRAM. VERY MUCH SO. SHE WILL DISCUSS DETAILS TODAY. I feel like she brings VALUE to the situation which is why I asked her to come on The Skinny Confidential TO GIVE YOU guys all the secrets. ALSO you should know: she just launched badass Instagram filters ( created by her with lots of TLC ) & she is the best blog designer on the planet ( we designed The Skinny Confidential together ).

With that, what’s up Erica ( get all DT-y on us k? ): 

Let’s get real- Instagram stresses me the eff out. Making sure the feed is cohesive, coming up with captions that promote engagement, not forgetting about insta-storying throughout the day, & then there is the nasty little algorithm that’s got everyone’s panties in a bunch.

My boyfriend is the king of staying on top of Instagram trends & was spewing off facts on how the algorithm has changed in 2018. FABULOUS, once I *thought* I sort of had a grasp on things, Instagram switches things up on us. It feels like they never want us to understand how they function, but I am not gonna let a year go by before I finally figure it out all over again.

Yes, there have been changes to the Instagram algorithm in 2018, & yes- I am gonna try my best to decode it! I have been researching like a boss, but for things to really stick in my memory, I gotta write it out. SO, that’s what I am doing, because I damn well know I am not the only one pulling my hair out over trying to beat the algorithm.

Here’s the deal, in a nutshell: when you post something on Instagram, it is only shown to 10% of your followers. If the post does well with that 10% right off the bat, then it will get shown to the other 90%- which is why some posts do GREAT & others, not so much.

Mind you, before I begin with tips on how to master this year’s algorithm changes, the research I have done doesn’t necessarily come from Instagram directly as they don’t spill their secrets. All of this is “word on the street” info, but considering how crazy people are about Instagram (myself included), I am trusting what I’ve read.

At the end of the day, it’s all about making sure your WELL THOUGHT OUT Insta content is not being buried & is getting the most exposure/engagement possible!

decoding the instagram algorithm, fashionlushfashionlush, instagram tips for bloggers 2018


♡ stop scrolling & INTERACT:

To get engagement, you have to give it. Comments are the pot of gold at the end of the Instagram rainbow. Although, if you’re not replying to those comments, not only are you not showing your readers love, but this will give you an algorithm ding. Think of comments like a conversation. You wouldn’t ignore a friend if they asked you where you got your sunnies. So don’t ignore your readers either! If the comment isn’t a question & doesn’t require a response, heart it. Show the Instagram gods you’re there, aware, & engaging.

Also, timeliness matters! Keep your responses quick within the first hour of posting! The slower your response time, the more your exposure will decrease.

Which brings me to comment pods. Comment pods are a hack bloggers came up with to make sure they are getting seen & I am not anti-comment pods ( LAURYN HERE: not a fan, should I do a post on why? I have a whole thing about it ). I don’t find it cheating & I have been in a comment pod or two myself ( but never more than one at any given time ). With the ever-changing algorithm & the non-chronological posting order on the feed, people’s content is never getting seen at all & if there is a work around to increase exposure- why wouldn’t you do it? With comment pods, it’s not about having 100 comments, it’s about making sure your content isn’t getting buried.

BUT- in 2018, it’s time to leave your comment pod. Instagram caught on, & this can cause you to get shadow banned. Same goes for comment bots- if a comment is below 4 words (i.e. “nice pic!”), Instagram doesn’t count that as real engagement. I know, it blows for the number of comments you’re getting. Just look at the bright side- all of these changes are meant to promote more AUTHENTIC engagement.

♡ captions MAKE your photo:

Gone are the days where an emoji was a sufficient caption (unless you’re a Kardashian). Captions need to be engaging AF to increase the authentic comments on your account! I talked a bit about micro-blogging on the gram here, so if you haven’t read it yet, you should!! Also, rumor has it that editing your caption within the first 24 hours is also a ding in the algorithm.

Then come the hashtags. I always post hashtags in the first comment of my posts, but in 2018 you have to be very specific with your hashtagging ways so that Instagram doesn’t see it as spam (because spamming will get you shadow banned!). You will have better luck with 10 super specific hashtags than 30 generic ones.

I am in a bind with this one because I have set hashtags for each kind of post that I just copy & paste (with minor adjustments, depending on the post), but the key now is to switch up your hashtags. Don’t paste the same ones every time & put some in the actual caption itself. I love hiding my hashtags but some people are saying commented hashtags aren’t making it to the search pages.

Another tip- you can now FOLLOW HASHTAGS & Instagram really likes when you utilize their new features, so follow dem hashtags kiddos.

♡ STORIES display your authenticity:

Getting a post up is hard enough work as it is, but now stories are playing a big roll in this algorithm as well. Keep posting and when people reply to your stories, try to respond in a timely manner!

Also, be sure to tag locations & use hashtags in stories! All of these small details can give you a big boost. Another good tip is to shout out other bloggers in your stories- when they message you back & you interact, it shows Instagram you are authentically engaging with people & that’s what this whole algorithm shift is all about. AUTHENTICITY.

♡ CONNECT with others:

Think back to when Instagram first started: you’d get on & just look to see what other people were up to. It wasn’t about signing on solely to see how your post did. It was about catching up with old friends & seeing what was going on with their lives.

This is how Instagram wants to work. They don’t want you to be a selfish Instagram user only signing on to post photos & check analytics.

I can easily get distracted when I get on Instagram. By the time I am done posting a picture/replying to comments or messages/checking how well a post did, I sign off & forgot to even look at anyone else’s content. I am not intentionally being selfish, but just trying to get to my email inbox. This is a no go. Sometimes you gotta just get on Instagram to interact with the people you follow.

If I didn’t already say this, here it is again: Instagram wants us to be acting more like real people. They want to see us engaging with each other in a real way. So, although you’ve got to get up that epic selfie you took, take a minute to just explore a bit & leave GENUINE, real comments. It doesn’t matter how many followers someone has, if you like a photo, comment!!! Don’t do it just to get your name on a big bloggers photo, do it because you mean it.

♡share what you REALLY enjoy:

Okay, & here we are again with the whole authenticity push. SURE, Amazon should be working with me considering how much I rave about them on my Instagram account, but they aren’t & that doesn’t stop me from authentically sharing my latest Amazon score of the week. More of that, less #ads.

Share things, or people, you actually stand behind on both Instagram & Insta-stories, & always give credit by tagging that brand or person. Not only will this show Instagram you’re being your realest & just a good Instagram citizen (lol), but it will increase engagement because REAL recognizes REAL. Ya feel?

In the same regard, if someone shares something from you, don’t let it go unnoticed! If you’re tagged in a photo, or 100 photos a day, pop in to say thank you!

♡ post when you have VALUE:

I have lately been noticing a lot of big bloggers decreasing their posting amounts. Instead of three a day, it’s gone down to one a day. Or even one every three days… but when they post, it’s DAMN good content.

We all have our moments when we don’t want to get out of our pajamas or straighten our hair ( me more than others I am pretty sure ), but instead of stressing yourself out & posting a recycled photo… hold off & wait until you come up with something you’re proud of. Maybe it’s the law of attraction on this one, but the more excited you are about what you are posting, the more engagement it will receive. And ENGAGEMENT is the key to beating the Instagram algorithm.

HOPE YOU LOVED ERICA ( follow her on Instagram: @fashionlush )! SHE WILL BE BACK.

See you tomorrow, lauryn x 

+ SHOP THE POST: House of Harlow x Revolve Slaine metallic blazer | Frame black ‘Le Skinny’ jeans | black cropped tank ( similar ) | Public Desire fishnet sock boots | black oval sunglasses | gold lion belt ( vintage- similar ) | the Fashionlush collection ‘Linda’ evil eye necklace & ‘Whitney’ angel lariat

decoding the instagram algorithm, fashionlush


  1. Such great tips thank you SO much for sharing! I’ve read conflicting things about putting the hashtags in the first comment. Some recent articles say that tactic no longer works, and it is important to include hashtags in your actual copy. Thoughts on this, or any results that you’ve seen? Thanks again!!!

  2. First off, so awesome you have both been friends for so long and now do business together! And second, love all of this! The IG algorithm is so annoying to keep up with!

  3. Yes, I agreed with you that your tips are really helpful for me. after using your tips I got 10x more followers and likes. I’m also a fashion designer but only a few peoples like my designs but after using your tips I got so many followers. I wanna thanks you for this helpful info…

  4. Loved this guest post! I’ve been reading all the updates for Insta too. Engagement and sharing quality content is key!


  5. Thanks for sharing this. I have an instagram account. At first it is intimidating to post and I really don’t know what to post. Exploring and following other insta users is a big help.

  6. Thank you for this article. It is very useful article for me . I have gain so many new things that how we can increase engagement of people on our instagram by working on just simple steps. I will surely follow this steps on my page. As we all know social media is a very important platform on which we can do marketing as well as advertise of any type of product of services.

  7. I love the bit about posting when you want to! I feel like when I try to make myself create something it ends up falling short and also takes most of the fun out of posting. I wonder how Instagram will continue to change in 2019, I guess we will find out!

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