4 Ways to Tackle the Instagram Algorithm Change

In the last two years, Instagram has become a standout for brands looking to engage with their consumers. But in March, Instagram announced that its platform would stop using the reverse chronological timeline, and move to an algorithmic timeline, similar to our good friends at Facebook. So basically, you used to see content from the users you follow as it was posted, but now, Instagram is paying much closer attention to your actions on the content, and deciding what it thinks you want to see more of when determining how the content is displayed. Many people are quoting this change as the end of Instagram, even setting the hashtag #RIPInstagram. (Which is now trending worldwide.) Say it ain’t so! Can it really be over?

Instagram may change its timeline, but it’s not the end of the world. I promise. There are plenty of things you can do to make sure you’re grammin’ stays in front of your key followers. Here are 5 ways to tackle the algorithm change to keep your brand relevant and front of mind on Instagram:

Great Content is Key –

Interesting photos have always been a cornerstone to perfecting your Instagram strategy and the introduction of the new algorithm does not change this. Afterall, great photo content is what makes Instagram stand out among the other social networks. A great photo with a valuable message that relates to your demographic should always resonate with your audience. Think about it. If you’ve built your following based on the demographics of your core customer, and you are providing something of value to these consumers while creating great content around it, why wouldn’t they find your messages valuable?

So think, who are your followers, and what message can you put in front of them that will make them take further action? This might mean posting anything from behind-the-scenes photos, videos, industry insights, or even highlighting some great user-generated content provided by your loyal followers themselves! Focus on developing a visual style for your brand, including filters, color, and icons.

Next, you need to pay close attention to what content does elicit the most engagement, and continuously use this information when creating new content. Great content will always allow you to stay on top of any algorithm changes that Instagram may throw your way!

Get A LIttle Money In The Mix | Drive Social Media

Get a Little Money in the Mix –

Instagram opened up advertising for the masses last September, and if you’re familiar with Facebook ads, Instagram ads are an easy way to up the ante on your content. Maybe you haven’t grown a large follower base yet, or you don’t know much about the followers you do have. These ads let you place your content in front of targeted audiences that may not be following you, which helps grow your followers, and overall brand awareness among a very specific demographic of users. The increased reach and engagement of Instagram ads also give you valuable data on what your customers are looking for. Take the things that you learn from a paid campaign, such as what images do the best, or what copy gets your audience to interact, and incorporate them into your organic strategy. Advertising on Instagram also gives you the option to place a call-to-action on your posts, an option that organic posts simply do not have. That’s right, no more “see link in bio!” [FINALLY] You can then send these users to your website, capturing valuable data, and ideally, convert more of your casual followers into customers!(BONUS POINTS if you are integrating a website retargeting strategy into your targeted ad campaign!)

Get a little money in the online marketing mix, and your posts will surely stay in front of interested eyes.

Be Creative, Use Video –

If we’ve learned anything from the effectiveness of video on Facebook, it’s also likely to translate to Instagram. According to International Business Times, “Instagram reports that time spent watching videos on the app has increased more than 40% in the last six months. Facebook says its more than 1.59 billion monthly active users watch more than 100 million hours of video per day.” This increase in video views on Instagram will be rewarded favorably in Instagram’s new algorithm. So get creative! Instagram videos are only 15 seconds long, which leaves lots of room for simple and fun ideas. Film a short stop-motion of your product being created, a timelapse of your office, or anything that will resonate with your target audience. As video support is continues to increase on Instagram, incorporating video is a huge advantage in your pocket moving forward.

 

Don | Drive Social Media  't Be Afraid of #Hashtags

Don’t Be #Afraid of #Hashtags –

Along with Twitter, Instagram helped pioneer the effectiveness of the hashtag. People on Instagram regularly check and follow hashtags, and the change of algorithm will not revise how hashtags function. So have fun with it! Include creative hashtags in your posts. Decide on your brand voice, then think of three hashtags: one that defines your brand, one that describes your content, and one that represents your company. For example, if you’re Instagramming a photo of tea, you might use the specific brand of tea like “#teavana” or “#greentea”. Or follow popular brands for creative examples of how to create a great company hashtag, such as KitKat’s #HaveaBreak or Coke’s #ShareACoke. Incorporating hashtags into your strategy on Instagram is a great way to work around Instagram’s selective algorithm.

So Where Does This Leave Us?

Yes, Instagram has changed its timeline algorithm, but no, it is not the end of the world for businesses. Create great content that’s valuable, throw some money in the mix to create additional brand awareness and grow followers using all the amazing targeting options available, change up your content with video, and get on the #hashtag #bandwagon.

So yes, if you’re a brand that does not care about your followers, or if you don’t care if your followers find value in your content, Instagram may be dead for you. But, if you are like most business owners, you do care about your customers and want to provide value to them. After all, if there is not value in your brand, your product, your service, and ultimately your content marketing strategy, why would anyone care anyway?

In conclusion, fear not business owners. Instagram is definitely not dead. In fact, this is an opportunity for you to fine-tune your content strategy when it matters most.

 

The recent introduction of paid ads for small businesses on Instagram is a great opportunity that brands need to make a space for in their marketing strategy. A mix of both paid and organic posting on Instagram will support growth. Short form video is also rapidly growing on Instagram’s platform and it’s important to introduce relevant and engaging videos to get your brand views on your content. As always, there is no replacement for interacting with your fans on the platform and using hashtags to strategically get in front of target consumers. Follow these tips and you’re sure to be the new master of the Instagram world.

 

-A. Fred, out!