Mythbusting the Algorithm (& other tips to Instagram and Facebook)

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Hi babes! I was able to be a part of an incredible conference with the Facebook team the past two days. They reached out to some of their content creators in the Salt Lake City area and had us all meet together to talks tips, tricks, and best practices. I had questions about so many theories I have heard, and they were able to provide answers. Here is what I was able to put together from the Frequently Asked Questions. Please note, I am not an authority on this subject, and I have not quoted anything from the team members that I talked to.  I am choosing to share this information with the goal of helping others get the most out of the platforms, and I am sharing it in my own words as I understand it. All of the information I present should be taken for personal use and should not be sold, copied, or redistributed:

Q: Does Instagram know/care how frustrated users and small influencers are with the constant algorithm changes? Are they doing anything to help small businesses/influencers succeed?

A: They do care! Them coming out and meeting with creators today was part of their 2018 initiative to reach out to the people that keep them in business (us) by putting out content! They’re really focusing on connecting with influencers this year to bridge the gap. They have tons of things coming out on their platform to help create! HOWEVER, they truly believe the algorithm is better! More content is actually being seen now. But they ARE aware that people are still learning what works. 

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Q: What is the deal with the Instagram algorithm?

A: They truly believe that the algorithm is better, and don’t foresee it changing back to chronological. They actually convinced me on it today, and I went in feeling the same as you. Basically, your post has a lifespan of 7 days. People are shown content within that 7 day span based on their relation to you, and on how much engagement it initially gets. It’s actually better! We have more of a chance to be seen, and to be seen multiple times, because the post can still gain traction up to that seven day mark, unlike the old way where posts were only on a feed for about 12 hours.

Q: Why do so little people see my Facebook page posts?

A: FB pages run differently than IG. FB pages require many posts a day to stay relevant. Your post will do best if shared. If no one is engaging with the content, the algorithm doesn’t see a reason to push it out to more people. Questions to ask yourself to evaluate your content: Are you posting to your page multiple times a day? Do you have a call to action? Is there a reason for your followers to engage with the post?

Q: Any truth to business accounts being treated differently by the algorithm?

A: NOPE! They don’t want to hurt anyone’s reach. Our reach is entirely up to how we get others to engage with our content. Business offers analytics, swipe up, branded content tool, the ability to receive a verification badge; it's worth it for creators and business owners.

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Q: Do they really penalize comment pods?

A: They do not punish comment pods. They don’t have time to monitor them. Plus, they also said they want people to engage with each other, so why penalize?

Q: Is there a shadow-ban?

A: There is no such thing as shadow banning. Hashtag feeds have their own algorithm and so your posts may or may not show up in them depending on if your post is deemed relevant, is engaged with enough, or if you used the hashtag spammy (like using too frequently or off topic). Be sure to always use hashtags in static posts and in InstaStories. 

Q: Should I use hashtags?

A:  This was one of my number one questions because I have a couple friends that SWEAR by not using them. The truth is, you should ALWAYS use hashtags. They’ll never hurt you, but they might not always help. You can put them in the caption or the first comment, there is no difference. Be sure to rotate your most used tags or else it’s deemed as spam. You can also add hashtags up to a week after a post. You should use AS MANY HASHTAGS AS POSSIBLE (up to 30). The trick is making sure they are absolutely relevant and they you don’t use the same ones too much, or you’re marked as spam on that tag.

Q: Is there a way for them to determine whether or not your likes or comments are organic vs 

A: Instagram and Facebook can tell it’s a bot if it likes too quickly or comments too quickly, or if the comment is the same. If you’re paying for a service where real people are engaging with your followers to build a relationship, you should be fine!

Q: Does editing a photo's caption within the first 5 min of posting really hurt it's engagement?

A: Editing a post NEVER hurts

Q: Does having #ad or #sponsored make IG or Facebook show to less people?

A: Using #ad or #sponsor is not hindering your reach by the app! It’s only dependent on the fact that our followers don’t engage with ad content UNLESS it’s told authentically, tells a story, and is on brand.

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Q: How to increase story reach?

A: Create engaging content, like polls or something that makes the viewer interact rather than passively watch. Always hashtag and always geotag!

Q: 3 years ago I was getting the SAME amount of likes I get now. I have way more followers now. WHY is that!!!!??

A: 1. Because your older followers may be ghosts and 2. You have to create more dynamic posts now. Just like how we can’t throw up an on-the-fly low-quality blogpost, posts should serve a purpose (5 ways to xyz) your Instagram posts must serve a purpose as well. There’s no blacklist, promise. No shadow banning either.

Q: How can I get people to see my posts?

A: I know this isn’t the answer you want, but you HAVE to create engaging content that is share and save worthy. Quality over quantity. It’s better to post every other day, or once a day max. BUT, InstaStories NEED to be posted on a daily basis to stay relevant if you aren’t posting to your feed. 

Q: Why do I keep losing followers?

A: I’d assume it’s because of the saturation. People are unfollowing because they’re finding engaging content on so many more accounts now. In order to stay relevant we have to provide something that they can’t find elsewhere

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Biggest takeaway from my day with the Facebook team:
Biggest take away today was that FB isn't against creators and they actually want us and businesses to thrive because we are the ones that are producing content for their business to keep going. Rather, if we are seeing posts not do so well with the algorithm change, it's because they are not resonating with our audience and we need to become better at catering to their wants and needs. I will also start producing more video content after today.



  1. Such great tips girl! Thanks for sharing all of them. And loving your look!!

    xo, Lydia

  2. Such a great post gal and wonderful tips! You're awesome for sharing!

    xo Laura Leigh

    1. Thank you! Sharing is caring and it helps us all!

  3. Great post! You answered so many of my questions and I know so many people believe in the “shadow banning” hype. I’m definitely going to share this with my fellow influencers and business owners. Thanks for sharing!

    1. UGH I hate the shadowban hype! Even after telling people about this, some don't believe me it is not real!

  4. This is such a great post! As a social media marketer by day + blogger by nights and weekends, I am so grateful you shared this!!

    xox Emily

    1. Emily! You do work! Love to hear about your hustling.

  5. I am so glad you shared this! I've been having so many questions about Instagram and this post has really helped!

  6. I love your tips on this! So many questions and you answered them so well. Thanks for sharing!


  7. Thank you SO MUCH for answering literally all of our questions! What a relief to finally know 🙌🏼 Also love that we don't need to be posting quite as often as we thought!? I had an inkling about this!



    1. I LOVED that part too. It takes a huge stressor off of me!

  8. This is such a helpful post! We so appreciate you sharing this information! So interesting about the post be visible for up to 7 days..

    Lindsay & Whitney

  9. Thank you so much for all this info! So very helpful!

  10. I definitely thought business accounts were being treated differently so that's a relief to know they're not!

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    1. I did too! I was excited to hear that it was all in my head.

  11. This is so helpful! You answered so many of my questions!

  12. Thank you so much for the insight! I’ve wondering a lot about these topics and now I have the answers!

  13. Wonderful post dear! I didn’t know that our posts can be seen Upto 7 days that’s a wonderful things to know. I am a big supporter of using hashtags. It always helps me. I should start doing more videos too from now on. Again, thanks much for sharing this

    1. The seven day lifespan was news to me too! It gave me hope, honestly!

  14. Thank you for the post. May I have the permission to translate it to my country language and post it on my Instagram stories? (@pitra)

    1. Hi Pitra! As long as you tag @lauryncakes and link to I would love that!

  15. So many people have all these myths in their hear about the algorithm, but I think you're right. It's all about creating content for your ideal reader!


  16. Oooh I loved reading this! SO many of my questions are now answered!


I love reading your comments, and I always try to respond to every single one! Thank you for stopping by! xoxo