(Number 5 Will Shock You)
If you’re reading this, you have probably started to see a drop in your own follower engagement and organic reach. That’s because you’ve earned yourself a low Instagram Trust Score. So, how did this happen? Instagram tracks every action you perform through your account. This means that they’re tracking the follows, unfollows, comments, DM’s, likes, everything.
While it can be extremely frustrating to feel like you have to comply with the rules-all-algorithm, there are steps you can take to protect and even improve your Instagram Trust Score. It all comes down to learning what actions are deemed by Instagram to be automated or fake as well as what other bot-like entities may be harming your account and how to adapt your behaviors on Instagram to improve your organic reach.
What is Instagram's Trust Score and Why Should You Care?
Behind the Scenes of Instagram’s Trust Score: Does Instagram algorithm have a love/hate relationship with your organic posts lately? Nobody is seeing your content anymore? Much like your credit score, Instagram is taking into account all the actions you are performing while on their platform. Anything that is deemed “bot-like” will lower your trust score, until (kind of like my dog when I throw an invisible ball) Instagram doesn’t trust you anymore. Actions such as liking all of the photos on your timeline will reduce your trust score. Commenting in all emojis or one-word comments like “pretty” or “cute” or “awesome” will also trigger bot-like behavior.
Your reach will be lowered. Impressions will be reduced. Engagement will drop. Remember all that hard work you spent building up your account, getting genuine followers, maybe even pouring money into ads? Well, that all goes to waste when you have lowered your trust score enough that Instagram simply stops showing your content to real people.
1. Automated Engagement Will Hurt Your Trust Score
Buying fake likes used to seem like a great idea. A salesperson would suddenly send 1,000 bots to like your content and follow up with a message telling you that you could receive that every time you made a new post. But in reality, all that did was damage your account even further.
Instagrams algorithm shows your content based on the audience engaging with your posts. So if your post receives its first batch of likes from bots and another batch from “like for like” engagement groups, Instagram isn’t going to have a real audience on who to show your content to. When it finally does show your content, it is showing your posts to the wrong audience, resulting in low engagement and low reach. The same thing goes for outbound engagement from comment pods or leaving repetitive comments.
2. "Niche" Isn't Just A Popular Instagram Marketing Buzzword
Instagrams new algorithm has now placed all accounts in various “niche” categories. This can be absolutely incredible for your organic reach or terrible if not done correctly. All actions performed through your account, are not only taken into your Instagram Trust Score but your niche score as well.
The hashtags you’re using, the content you’re engaging with, the type of content you’re posting, and the accounts you follow all contribute to your niche factors. Having a high niche score can get your content shown to thousands of new users on a daily basis.
However, having a low niche score and a low trust score can dramatically reduce the reach among your audience.
3. Low-Quality Follow/Unfollow Strategy
I am not against the follow/unfollow strategy on Instagram as it is a part of the organic growth we utilize in our Instagram Marketing Services. However, it’s important to note that if you want to be seen by users in your niche then it is important to engage with users within your niche.
When you’re following users, make sure it’s influencers, popular accounts, or users that fall within your niche. This will not only tell Instagram what category your account should be grouped in but will place you in recommendations as well.
4. Inactivity Or Lack Of Engagement (Dead Account)
Inactivity is going to get you nowhere. No, like… Literally, your account is just going to become dormant. Your followers are out there, engaging with your competitors or other accounts just like you, except the difference is, those false-you accounts are active and you are not.
Remember when we mentioned that the algorithm will punish you for automated actions? Well, it will also punish you for no action. Doesn’t really seem like a fair world out there against Captain Algorithm, does it? Luckily, there is a single action we know of that can turn that around. (psst, get back on the gram!)
5. Inactive, Bot And Ghost Followers
When you share a new post, Instagram is going to show it to 10% of your audience first to determine how your audience engages with it before showing it to the rest of your audience. Depending on that first 10%, your content will either be shown to more people or less. If the first 10% of accounts that your post is shown to are inactive followers, ghost followers, foreign followers or straight up BOTS, then it’s very unlikely that you’re going to get engagement and thus; reach. Yes, these factors continue to contribute to a lower Instagram trust score.
By now, you’re probably stressed, thinking “my god, so far, I’ve fallen victim to all of these”. Don’t worry, continue on and we’ll tell you how you can turn this around and improve your trust score and your confidence level.
6. Low-Quality Content (Hello, Android Users)
This should go without saying, Instagram is a visual platform. If you’re posting content that looks like it was taken with a disposable camera or even an Android (oooooh snap, busted as an iPhone user), then you’re automatically going to get less engagement.
What we find works best for both businesses and personal brands is finding that perfect mix between amateur photography and professional photography. If your content looks TOO professional, it can come off as very stock photo. If it is too amateur, then the only engagement you’re going to see is from that great aunt Susie who wished you happy birthday on the wrong day again.
7. Use Relevant Hashtags In Your Hashtag Strategy
The type of activity that happens to be most at risk by being interpreted as automated by bots, aside from fake-likes, over-following, or generic commenting, is using repetitive or irrelevant hashtags. Surprising, I know.
But the use of repetitive hashtags can trigger Instagrams’ algorithm to view your page as automated, which from what I hope we’ve learned so far will continue to lower your Instagram trust score.
Reviving And Improving Your Instagram Trust Score
Instagram is constantly evolving and its algorithm is changed and updated on a daily basis, which can make it challenging to know how to revive your Instagram Trust Score. There are some simple steps you can learn from successful accounts that have revived their trust score, in order to improve your trustworthiness and revive it from a low trust score.
Post regulalry, but within the limits of 1-2 posts per day. Establish a regular posting pattern.
Reply with genuine comments, making sure that you are not partaking in risky behavior by only leaving thumbs up emoji’s on everyone’s post. Do not leave repetitive comments either. And yes, great aunt Susie, that also means you probably need to leave your comment pods as well.
Remove any fake followers, ghost, or bot followers. This is one of the more simple, yet daunting tasks. All you need to do is go to your Followers, tap on the three dots to the right of a user and simply remove them from your list. They won’t be notified that you have removed them, so you don’t need to worry about your ex getting that notification.
Post higher quality content.
Use a hashtag strategy that’s relevant to your niche. We recommend using Flick. This tool can allow you to create a hashtag strategy to grow your account, track hashtags that may be shadow banned, and help you be seen by relevant people.
Stop following everyone on the planet. Ease up a bit. Learn the daily social media daily action limits and try to stay 20% under the limit. Pushing your account to the daily and hourly limit each day will do more harm than good.
Engage with your real followers. Yes, the people who are engaging with you should be your top priority as they are your top audience. Make them feel good about following you.
Delete certain apps that require your login information as Instagram doesn’t like you being logged into anything except their platform.
Final Easy Strategy To Improve Your Trust Score
We are constantly monitoring the performance of the IG Trust Score and with the help of constructive feedback from our community and experts at Social Influenc, we are confident that as the trust score continues to evolve into a more robust ranking algorithm, we will continue to report on it. So what we can absolutely take away from this article, is please, for the love of all things social, be more human.