Change can be unsettling, so when Instagram announced that it was changing it’s algorithm from showing posts chronologically to favor posts that are considered most relevant to the viewer, business owners everywhere shuddered with fear. Everyone’s first thought was that their posts will be pushed off to the side lines, and it seems as though the free Instagram marketing joy ride has come to a screeching halt.
Instagram has been pretty ambiguous with what this new update will look like but here’s what we know so far:
- The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood of your interest in the content, your relationship with the person posting, and the timeliness of the post.
- All the posts will still be there, just in a different order.
- You can opt-in to receiving push notifications from your favorite accounts to ensure you don’t miss content from them. We did a whole write-up on how to turn these on.
That’s the extent of what we know, the rest is left (purposely) vague. This is likely the first of many changes as we watch Instagram slowly but surely monetize its platform–similarly to what Facebook has already done. So where does this leave your business?
Step one: Take your Instagram game to a new level
We all know we need to create great content, this is not news. However, creating great content is now more important than ever, because not only are you competing with your competition, you’re competing with an algorithm that is trying to weed out subpar content. You can no longer afford to have average content, it will get lost in the mix.
So what makes a stellar post on Instagram?
Visually appealing photos
Visually appealing photos are the bread and butter of Instagram. Ever wonder how some of the most popular accounts on the platform edit their photos? Check out this quick buzzfeed article that covers some of the basics.
View your captions as a mini blog. Then, capture your viewer’s attention through storytelling, offering them a helpful tip, or even a small inspirational quote to give them a boost. Whatever you choose to do with your caption, make sure it adds value, rather than creating noise.
Figure out the hashtags your target audience is using and use them yourself. This will help you plug into those communities and make your account that much more visible.
Step two: Turn fans into raving fans
Implement the like for like system
If someone likes your picture, return the favor and go like their most recent photo. This small gesture builds rapport with your audience and shows them you are as invested in them as they are in you. They will be more likely to check back on your profile and engage with your future content if they see you are engaging with theirs.
Shoutouts and reposts
Maybe once a month you could chose a loyal follower/customer and showcase them in a post. This will encourage your other followers to keep engaging with your content for a possible shot at a shoutout.
Reply to every comment
Yes, this may be time-consuming but it’s worth the effort because it helps establish a connection with those who take the time to engage with your content. Bonus points if you take the time to comment back on their content too.
Step three: Roll with the changes, gracefully
Many people are outraged by these coming changes, but the bottom line is they are going to happen. Instagram is going to do what it wants to do with the platform. The time that your competition is spending complaining about the coming changes is time you should be using to revamp your strategy. Rise above the noise and roll with the current, not against it.
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