Can You Really Cheat the Instagram Algorithm?

Instagram’s algorithm is designed to show users the content they are most likely to engage with. So, when it comes to cheating the system, the best tactic is to give the algorithm exactly what it needs to do this. With this in mind, here are our top 5 strategies to cheat the Instagram algorithm:

  • Be Consistent in Your Niche

  • Encourage Comments and Likes

  • Tailor Your Posts for Instagram SEO

  • Embrace New Instagram Features

  • Share Original Content on Reels (Without a TikTok Watermark)

Algorithm Hack 1: Be Consistent in Your Niche

Every post you share, hashtag you use, and comment you make gives the algorithm an insight into your account. With this in mind, being consistent in your niche is one of the best ways to continually educate or ‘cheat’ the algorithm. The easier the algorithm can “categorise” your account, the more likely your posts will appear for users who have shown a previous interest in your niche. Once the algorithm has a strong indication of your niche, your profile is more likely to pop up as a suggestion to follow, recommended Reel, or Explore Page result.

Algorithm Hack 2: Tailor Your Posts for Instagram SEO When Instagram first came about, the categorisation of your account was based heavily on the hashtags you put in a post. Now, Instagram allows users to search by keyword, which shows the algorithm is also processing the visuals and captions. Knowing this means there are a few things you can do to optimise your posts for the Instagram SEO:

  • Write captions with relevant, highly-searched keywords

  • Include up to 30 relevant hashtags in your post caption or first comment.

  • Manually write alt text for your Instagram posts. To do this, tap “Advanced Settings” in the publishing flow, and select “Write alt text.” Instagram uses image recognition software to automatically generate a description if you don’t manually input alt text, however, this is often inaccurate or lacking in detail.

Algorithm Hack 3: Improve Your Hashtag Strategy

The hashtag is still an important factor when it comes to categorising your content. If you’re looking to improve your hashtag strategy, these four tips are a good place to start:

  • Make sure your hashtags are relevant to the content of your post

  • Take inspiration from trending posts in your niche

  • Use hashtags with a healthy volume of posts, but avoid overused ones. Anything between 10K and 250K will give your content the best chance of being seen.

  • Avoid banned hashtags, carry out an Instagram search for every hashtag you use.


Algorithm Hack 4: Embrace New Instagram Features

One of the biggest ways to hack the Instagram algorithm is by jumping on the latest features and doing this quickly. Instagram favours new features to encourage people to use them, so getting to grips with them while the competition is still low can be a huge advantage. A great example of this was Instagram Reels. "Since introducing Reels to our Instagram channel last year, we’ve seen our engagement grow by 280%,” shares Later’s Social Media Manager.


Algorithm Hack 5: Share Original Content on Reels (without a TikTok Watermark)

Instagram Reels are still a serious growth hack, but it's not as easy as it once was to go viral on the platform. At first, almost any content would perform reasonably well – even videos shared directly from TikTok. But not anymore. Instagram confirmed that the Reels algorithm actively deprioritises Reels with a TikTok watermark, favouring original Reels instead. Similarly, low-quality or blurry content is deprioritised. With this in mind, the best way to hack the Reels algorithm is to create original, high-quality content, right within the Reels editor.

Ultimately, the best way to gain favour with the algorithm is to keep your audience at the focal point of your strategy.