Why you should (apparently) stop liking, and start saving peoples posts

Since 2016, we have had an algorithm decide the structure of our Instagram feeds rather than seeing posts on chronological order. The Instagram algorithm has been quietly working behind the scenes analysing everything we are interacting with whilst scrolling away. Only recently has it become a trending issue as it becomes ever more difficult to hack with, or even ‘defeat’ the algorithm.

So, what is the algorithm and why do we need to know how it works?

The algorithm is meant to enhance our Instagram experience by trying to show us only the posts of accounts Instagram deems us to care about. They decide this through how much we engage with the account, this ranges from reacting to their stories, to sending DMs and saving their posts.

People you follow but do not engage with's content are less likely to pop up on your feed, whether or not they are posting regularly. We need to know how it works in order for our posts to be shown not just to our biggest fans (thanks mum) but to the biggest audience we can possibly reach. Without understanding how to use it, you could be wasting a lot of time and effort.

Instagram keeps the details of the algorithm close to their chest, but some observers are reporting that there are new surefire ways of guaranteeing success on your posts

So here are the rumoured rules to follow when it comes to hacking the Instagram algorithm...

Saves are the new Likes

The most surprising part of Instagram’s rumoured changes to the algorithm is that a 'like' is now one of the least important action that you can take on somebody’s post. Likes are not considered as engaging enough to show that you really want to see this creator’s content on a regular basis.

Saves are the new ‘super likes’. They show you love this creator’s post that you want to use it for future reference and see it more than just once when you’re on a mindless scroll. The more saves a post has, the more likely it is likely to be shown on other people’s feeds too.

Sends are more important than ever

Sends are now the second most important action you can take on Instagram. A send of a post to another account shows the post you’ve seen is worth showing other people. It boosts engagement and helps this account get discovered by more people.

What about comments?

Comments are still important of course, and actually saying what you love about a post is still necessary. Although there are some new rumours about this action too. Instagram is supposedly rewarding content creators with comments that are 4 words or longer. Three fire emojis under your friend’s new selfie aren’t cutting it anymore, Instagram is looking for its users to be as engaging as possible.

Last but not least, Instagram ranks likes as the least important action. That might be true in terms of how the algorithm works, but they still make us feel good. Actually, when someone likes an Instagram post, or any content that you share, it’s a little bit like taking a drug. As far as your brain is concerned, it’s a very similar experience.’ (Alter, 2017) So keep liking, it will motivate your favourite creators and send some love their way.

Rules for posting

Instagram, whether we like it or not is also trying to maximise the monetary actions we take on the app. If it wasn’t obvious before, it is now with a whole tab for Instagram Shopping being added to the bottom of our screens. By making reaches of posts lower than ever, budget spent on promoting posts has skyrocketed. People cannot deal with their content not being seen, therefore are paying Instagram to help boost their posts on a regular basis.

From trial and error of many content creators, it seems that Instagram has been more favourable to people who post on a daily basis and at the same time every day. Apps such as ‘Later’ have been launched to support just this and make sure that you are coming up on everybody’s feeds, no matter what you are doing. By knowing you are only able to succeed on the app by being on it more regularly, Instagram can monetise from our actions of clicking on their ads and promoted posts and keeping us away from their rival, Tiktok.

There have been many alleged Instagram hacks posted all over the internet, from content creators and social media managers vouching for the 1 to 10 ratio, one post and 10 stories is bound to give you that reach you want. To others saying you need to post at least one reel as well as a post and stories everyday to become relevant on Instagram. It is all very confusing and restricting.


From August 2020, there has been a flood of 15 second videos taking over your feed and explore page. Instagram introduced reels after Tiktok started dominating the social media scene. The posting of reels, without the Tiktok watermark (Instagram does not want you recycling your Tiktok content) has apparently made small accounts go from a couple hundred followers to thousands within weeks. Instagram is working hard at promoting reels as the whole new way of posting and engaging your audience.

In conclusion, save and share your favourite posts, post regularly and at the same time, but also do not forget the power of reels. Basically, the more active you are, the more likely Instagram is to like you and boost your posts.

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