We found out last week that Instagram’s new algorithm means content will be displayed in your feed in a different way. This is big news because whenever an algorithm of this nature (hello, Facebook) is introduced it brings unsettling change with new winners and losers! It’s easy to get unnecessarily sucked into all the doom and gloom, so it’s important to stay calm while you work out what this will mean for your brand.
So what does it mean? Basically, Instagram will now play mind reader and predict and reorder what images your see, based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, the relationship you have with the people posting and the timelines of the post.
This raises concerns that we will begin to see more Instagram advertisers (sponsored post) in our feeds but it also means that if your brand account doesn’t gain much engagement with posts compared to the big “sexy” brands and celebrities with huge amounts of followers, you could start to be squeezed out of the picture.
As of yesterday, a lot of brand profiles started asking their followers to turn on notifications to receive their updates. If you can get your followers to do this, it certainly is one way of improving your chances of more engagement but the problem is, feeds are now flooded with brands asking followers to do the same for them.
Being bombarded with notifications could lead to people getting annoyed and unintentionally prompt them to unfollow you — even if you’re not the brand which did all the posting!
Instead, offer your followers a gentle reminder that instead of ‘turning on notifications’ which they definitely can do, they can just make sure to pop by your page and like and comment on any posts that interest them. Because the more they engage with your page, the more they’ll see your posts.
These changes have started to roll out today, and it’s highly likely that your future social media strategy will need to include an Instagram advertising budget if you want more reach. But certainly for now, keep investing in the creation of awesome, engaging content for your social media!
Here are our three tips to improve your chances of being more visible on Instagram right now:
1. Quality over quantity
From here on in, it will be really important to share good quality content that gets people interacting with your posts. Great visual content with strong imagery and video will always win out over simply posting more content which Instagram may think is irrelevant and spammy.
2. Be memorable
Develop a style or look that gets you remembered or recognised easier. Make sure your posts are consistent with how you want the world to see you. What filters you use, your colour palette and of course what you take photos of help people identify your character and style and make it easier to standout when it matters.
3. Tag it up and understand the science of Instagram
Don’t be afraid to experiment with hashtags. Hashtags = likes. A lot of brands are afraid to experiment because of what it might attract but this is the nature of social media and if you are serious about being seen in the world you need to use tags that are relevant to your posts and that people regularly follow.
There is also quite a science behind what makes your posts more likeable. This is great reading from Dan Zarella who offers cold hard data on what actually works for Instagram posts. Just be careful to not start thinking too clinical about your posts. Trying to follow a recipe or equation can take the attractiveness out of your marketing.
My 2 cents
For now, let’s just see how this plays out. I hate being told what to look at and I’m sure most of you will to. I remember when this happened on Facebook, it seemed to suck the soul out of the whole experience for me; it just wasn’t as fun anymore. I’m left wondering every time I’m on the app, if I like or comment on this post will it seal my fate about what appears in my feed for the rest of my life? For me part of the fun of Instagram is discovering something new, inspiring and out of the box.
I like John Mayer’s thoughts on the subject which he delivered through his own account.