6 steps to survive the new Instagram changes

IG algorithm

I love Instagram. It’s one of my favourite platforms. I love that I get to see posts chronologically, just like twitter. But alas, change is as good as a holiday, or so they say?!

On March 28th 2016, Instagram announced some changes that might alter the way we use Instagram for business moving forward. As you know Instagram was purchased by Facebook in 2012 and just like the algorithm changes introduced on Facebook, they’re currently in the testing phase of the same idea for an Instagram algorithm. Instagram states that we already miss up to 70% of our newsfeed anyway, they’ll just be tailoring it to your tastes.

In layman’s terms, it means that Instagram will start to decide what you see based on what you’ve been interacting with so your news feeds won’t be chronological.

There’s quite a bit of anxiety surrounding the move based on user’s previous experience with Facebook. Will brands who have worked hard to gain followers over the years have to pay-to-play like we now have to for Facebook?

1) Post better content
The idea behind this is better content will increase engagement. Increased engagement with audience is what you should be aiming for anyway but it’s two-fold because increased engagement means your page might actually be shown to your audience.

2) Use Instagram to grow your email list
Try putting your link in your bio or prompting to subscribe via a competition or discount. Your email list is one of the only lists that you have control of so make the most of it!

3) Stop the Scroll! 
Get creative! Start thinking of new and innovative ways to showcase your brand. Video is a GREAT way to do this. Things other than the boring inspirational quotes. Another way is to start getting down and dirty with your analytics. Unfortunately there ain’t any apps out there that don’t require payment for this service. Once you pay however it can open your eyes to a whole new world. This includes allowing you to post when your audience is going to be online (If you know of an app that you don’t have to pay for please let us know!) These three have caught our attention:

4) Collaborate
Here’s where brands can really start to take advantage of Instagram influencers. Jules Lund, founder of the startup Tribe, states that “traditionally brand accounts on the platform attract lower engagement than influencers, therefore now brands will appear less in feeds.” The partnership between brands and both social and citizen influencers makes sense.

How do you go about doing that? Organically it’s about engagement via your brand (which you should be doing anyway). This means commenting, liking and engaging with your audience on a  daily basis.

5) Video, Video, Video
Instagram will be increasing video allowance from 15 seconds to 60 seconds as reported on their website in March. More people are watching video. Video catches people’s attention.

6) Hashtags
You’re probably already doing this (right?) but including hashtags on your posts is vital. It’s like putting a pin on a world-wide map of internet spaghetti. Instagram allows up to 30 of them. Use them wisely. See what’s trending for your industry. Tagboard is a handy tool to test hashtags.

In summary? It’s not too late to get on board for your existing brand/business Instagram account (although those who haven’t already got their business on Instagram may find it hard to get the ball rolling with engagement and followers once the algorithm is introduced), get your A into G and get creating some rad content. Coming soon: Brands and businesses will most likely have to add Instagram to their digital advertising budget. This will most likely happen on most free social media platforms. We’ll just have to get over it.

 

Delilah Walsh, Do Re Media Consultant and Creative

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