How to use Instagram’s algorithm to do proper outreach?

Answer also available in: Español

How to use Instagram’s algorithm to do proper outreach?

Writing: Raz Smolsky; Editing: Hagar Rabat; Translation: Eli Klaiman 

The social networks are one of the most influential arenas of global public opinion and are also the only place where anyone can contribute to the information war – whether you are a network host with tens and hundreds of thousands of followers or you have a small and anonymous account.

To do this wisely, there are a number of rules of thumb that should be applied: harness the algorithm to increase exposure and distribution of pro-Israel content, do proper outreach, and use the tools offered on the web to report offensive content.

The algorithm is a sort of “set of rules” unique to each social network that dictates what its users are exposed to, what is promoted and what disappears, and to which audiences the material is exposed. Your goal as supporters of pro-Israel advocacy or influencers is to promote positive content mainly abroad, where public opinion in recent weeks has become more and more critical of Israel. We have collected here all the useful rules and tips to do the best promotion on Instagram:

  1. You should generate as much engagement as possible with pro-Israel posts and stories: like, comment, save the video (you can create a dedicated folder for informational videos) and very importantly – watch the video in its entirety until the end. These actions signal to the algorithm that it is high-quality and interesting content, and this increases its exposure. 
  2. Share content to your feed or story, preferably with a call to action such as enter the video and like it, share so the whole world knows, etc. 
  3. Discussions and comments should only be made on pro-Israel posts. Not to create any involvement with pro-Palestinian posts and when you are exposed to such a video, stop watching it as soon as possible. This is because the algorithm does not recognize whether it is a positive or negative engagement: every engagement is interpreted by it as popularity and to reduce the exposure of the content you need to reduce the engagement with it. 
  4. To reach audiences abroad, videos should be distributed in English (or any other foreign language), and don’t use videos with signs in Hebrew, not even subtitles, in the titles, translation or description of the post (captions). Accordingly, responses to a post or story should also be in English (or the relevant language). An unfamiliar language alienates audiences quickly. A quick scroll through the video signals to the algorithm that the content is not interesting and it will lower its exposure. In addition, the Hebrew signals to the algorithm that the video should be distributed in Israel and not abroad. 
  5. You should tag a location that is not Israel, maybe the United States or France, depending on the content and the desired and appropriate target audience for the video. Tagging a location in Gaza also helps because today there is a demand for content from Gaza. Place tagging is our way of telling the algorithm which audience we are targeting and the higher the match between the content and the location and what people want to see, the higher its exposure. If, for example, there is explanatory content about Harvard University, it can be tagged. 
  6. Report anti-Israeli posts – the more reports there are, the more likely the algorithm will decide that this is problematic content and reduce its exposure and that of the account it came from. As part of the war, several tools were built that distribute the reports to Instagram automatically and quickly.
  7. If you want to share offensive content with your followers for the purpose of reporting, you should do it by taking a screenshot and publishing a link to the account or the content and not sharing the offensive content so as not to increase its exposure.

“The algorithm was created to simulate emotions and interests through a circle of friends, likes, comments and shares. And the higher the intensity of engagement and the stronger the dialogue in the post, the greater the chance that the algorithm will expose it to wider audiences,” explains Gal Lavi, an expert in social networks and owner of a company for brand management in the digital world and training for content and digital professionals.