I see a lot of DM groups being created by users of the forum, and I’d like to impart some advice to those running DM groups in order to get them the best results possible.
These tips will work no matter what industry you’re in, and no matter the size of your group.
Tips for Direct Message Groups on Instagram
I’ll start with the basics and move onto more advanced notes as the thread progresses.
I. The Engagement Illusion | Instagram Engagement
This may be the most basic point, but I can’t stress this one enough. The comment itself is not what is going to improve your post’s chance of ranking or being seen. Likes, comments, saves etc. have very little effect one whether your post ranks in a hashtag or explore. This may sound insane to some people, but it’s simple. Instagram can very, very easily determine whether engagement is genuine or not. It truly surprises me that they don’t have banning mechanisms for buying fake engagement. How do I know this is true? It’s simple. If you buy fake engagement (even high quality fake traffic from websites) it will actually destroy all chances you have of trending. Your post will be dead in the water after the point at which that engagement has been delivered (unless you’re truly smart about it of course: there is always a way around, but I recommend going fully organic where possible at this point).
II. What Really Counts When Trying to Trend
You can read it for yourself in Instagram’s guidelines, T&Cs & Data Policy. They measure tapping and scrolling. They measure view time. They even record micro-expression data through the camera. If you don’t seem genuinely interested in what you’re looking at in the way you behave while viewing the post, it’s most likely going to REDUCE the post’s hidden value ratings.
Quality over Quantity
This is why I recommend having less people in your DM groups, but having them spend more time on each post. It’s obviously nice to have larger groups because then you’re most likely to have someone engage within the first 15 minutes of posting, but this isn’t even the most important factor to consider. If you get an influx of low quality traffic to your post, i.e. two or even five word comments that are rushed, and no time is spent looking at and enjoying the post, you may as well opt out. The majority of your engagement is going to come organically if you get the other important factors of posting right anyway. The DM group has a legitimate function of its own. It is not going to be what makes your post go viral. It is however going to aid in the process if you do it properly. If you don’t do it properly, you are going to do more damage than good. Here’s why:
IV. Instagram is Smarter Than They Appear to Be
Their algorithm is designed to show your posts to people who are going to be most interested in your posts. I’ve heard speculation that Instagram chooses the 24 people that you engage with the most, and that engage with you the most, and show your posts to them, and their posts to you. At this point the alarm bells should be ringing. Think about it: If you engage with 24 people in your DM group, and they engage back with you the whole time, then Instagram is just going to show you each other’s posts in the feed. And this really does happen. Every slot in a DM group is a wasted opportunity for your post to be shown to someone new or different, so make it count with as few people as you can.
Start Conversations on a Post
Your DM group doesn’t have to love and leave you with a single comment. You can have full on conversations in the comments section thanks to the reply button, and it only increases the value of your post. Have fewer people in your group, but have them engage for longer. The length of engagement is much more important than the number of engagements. This brings me to my next point:
V. The Prestige Illusion | The Real Function of DM Groups
Ultimately, what you want to achieve is the illusion that your post is popular. In my view, a thousand likes on a post isn’t nearly as impressive as 50 comments, and I’m not the only person who has these subconscious reservations. People are going to be far more likely to engage with your post if there are already others engaged. It’s simple human nature. We want to be a part of the discussion, so make sure that your post is appealing and there is something to talk about. Thereafter, converse with your DM group on each other’s posts. Make comments longer and more meaningful and you’ll have others engaging in no time! What’s more, when they read the conversations happening in the comments, they will be spending more time on your posts, and improving its rating!
VI. Look Now. Look Later | The Truth About Saving Posts
Instagram is utterly devious. They’re so idiotic in so many ways, so they convince us that they truly have no idea what they’re doing… but the complete opposite is true. The things that do work work incredibly well. They have destroyed DM groups from the inside out, and nobody seems to even have blinked an eye or noticed. In addition to some of the above points, they also have a very interesting mechanism regarding the save feature of a post:
Saving Posts on Instagram | Be Vigilant
If you save a post from a DM group, it is going to add value, but only if you approach it correctly. Here’s the thing: Instagram will show you the post again after you’ve saved it at a random time at the top of your news feed. If you skim over it when you see it again, it’s game over! It’s a tasteful mechanism if you ask me (my sincerest condolences to those buying fake saves on their posts by the way. It’s a total waste of money). Why on earth would you save something if you aren’t going to look at it again later? It’s probably good practice to have a look over your most recent saves regularly anyway, just to make sure that those in your DM group are actually properly enjoying it.
VII. Don’t Pressure People to Comment Early | Make It Organic
Rather follow the steps above and have people comment naturally, at their leisure. It’s more likely to look organic to Instagram, especially if there are long running conversations. Have people re-watch videos, or re-scroll through albums each time they post a new comment in a very organic way. This will have the greatest effect on your rating.
VIII. Posting Too Frequently Destroys You
To be blunt, nobody on Instagram actually cares about what you’re doing unless you’re a very well respected international or local figure. Don’t make your entire DM group’s lives difficult by posting every day. It’s proven that posting more than once in a 24 hour time frame has devastating affects on impressions and reach. Don’t be that person in the DM group that is posting loads of low quality content. Prioritize the quality of your posts. People are going to find you more interesting and memorable if you post less frequently, but have higher quality, meaningful content. In truth, they’re going to forget that you exist the moment they leave your account. You want to make a lasting impression that is imprinted on the back of their minds, so that when they see another post of yours, they get that same feeling each time, and feel inclined to engage. Nothing will ever beat high quality content. There are a billion users and billions of posts. People are looking for the unique accounts which are entertaining and make lasting impressions. You will NEVER make a lasting impression by posting daily unless you have a content creation team pouring their lives into your content. Use the story feature, that’s what it’s for. And for heaven’s sake: Don’t send 80 stories to your DM group. Nobody wants to watch them.
Notes & Thanks
Please feel free to add any additional advice that you have in the comment section below, and as always; thanks for reading.