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Why Small Businesses are Struggling with the Instagram Algorithm

If you have an Instagram account, you are most likely familiar with the Instagram algorithm. Instagram shifted from a chronological timeline to a complex algorithm, which has been hurting small businesses. Due to the complications of the app, businesspeople are struggling to fully understand how to gain likes and attraction without the guarantee that they will show up on their follower’s feed. Instead, Instagram is focusing on highest engagement, videos, ads, and unfollowed accounts.

So what exactly does this mean for Instagram users? This means that people will primarily view past accounts that they have engaged with, resulting in people interacting with the same group of accounts every week. Instagram is also prioritizing videos, or Reels, on the main feed rather than the Reels page. Unsurprisingly, the app has increased the amount of advertisements shown on the home page. This has been bothersome for Instagrammers, especially when almost half of the feed showcases accounts from influencers that are not even followed by the user. When speaking to people about these changes, they seem disheartened that they are either viewing the same group of followed accounts, or irrelevant accounts they have limited interest in. Users are even spending an extensive amount of time on TikTok rather than Instagram.

The algorithm shift has been inconvenient to users, and detrimental to businesses. Without experienced teams to dissect the changes and create content to stand out on the app, small businesses are struggling. Without the complex algorithm, many businesses could never pay for an advertisement, and still receive new followers and engagement everyday. Now, Instagram has created a system that forces businesses to pay to be relevant. This originally inexpensive way to promote products has become increasingly unaffordable.

When Instagram started out in 2010, posting a photo of a product, adding a catchy caption, and relevant hashtags were enough to engage and find an audience. But when Meta purchased Instagram and introduced Reels (short videos) to the algorithm, the app decided to move the businesses that regularly posted Reels to the top of the home page. This response in TikTok’s success means that businesses must spend more time and money creating content than ever before, while still receiving less likes. Unfortunately, not every small business consists of video editing skills.

As the app has grown more complex, the use of freelancers has grown more popular. Businesses are deciding, majorly out of frustration and the lack of time, to hand off understanding the new algorithm to young, remote workers. These social media freelancers will create relevant content at a low cost, allowing for businesses to stay relevant on an ever-changing application. Additionally, simply moving apps has been a trend in the marketing world. Instead of Instagram, many businesses are posting on TikTok to gain followers and engagement. The TikTok algorithm is also very complex, but there is more trust that a video can possibly go viral and gain millions of views. Both users and businesses are hoping that the Instagram algorithm will change back to chronological order, with limited irrelevant content.


Daniel James Consulting is a Full-Service Business Consulting Firm based in New York that designs solutions tailored specifically to the needs of your business in order to ensure you achieve continued success by designing, developing and implementing plans, metrics and platforms, be it a one-man operation, non-profit, startup or large organization. Our packaged solutions or a la carte selections include Website Design, Marketing & Advertising, Search Engine Positioning, and Graphic Design. Business Management Solutions are also available for companies of all sizes. For more information please


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