If you are looking to boost engagement on your social media channels, algorithms can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Different platforms take different approaches to how and when users and followers see content on their feed.
Instagram’s algorithm changes have been a headache for many users and businesses on the image-sharing platform over the past few years, but promising changes have been announced. A more chronological feed is coming your way and will influence the way businesses approach Instagram marketing.
On March 22, Instagram shared the changes to how users will see new Instagram posts. The app said in a press release that they were “making changes to ensure that newer posts are more likely to appear first in feed.” Rather than relying solely on an algorithm to deliver posts that users may be interested in viewing, more recent posts will be a higher priority and appear closer to the top of a user’s feed.
Instagram also announced that it was testing out a “New Posts” button that allows users to choose when their feed refreshed instead of the app refreshing automatically. Users can browse their feeds without any disturbances; previously, if the app refreshed while the user was viewing an image, they would have to search on their feed (or the user’s Instagram) in order to finish engaging with that post.
The changes to Instagram’s algorithm comes primarily from user feedback. When Instagram switched from a chronological feed to an algorithm-based feed in March 2016, the reception was far from positive.
Businesses begged users to turn on post notifications so their posts would be seen by followers, and influencers joined groups that would promote engagement and attempt to outsmart the algorithm. Weeks after the algorithm was implemented, Instagram assured users that they were listening to feedback but refused to make any changes. Now that changes are finally coming to the feed, users and brands are rejoicing.
The app said that additional changes might also come in the next few months.
If you have spent the past year trying to work around Instagram’s algorithm, your work is not in vain. Instagram isn’t moving back to chronological posts completely.
Ecommerce brands should continue to regularly post engaging content on their feed and stories to reach potential customers. Engaging with users and expanding your audience takes knowledge of what is available for businesses and how your customers interact with the app.
If you haven’t already switched over to a business account, you may be missing out on crucial feedback and data that will boost engagement. Instagram Insights allows business accounts to track the number of impressions, reach, and views on posts, stories, and promotions.
Demographic information on followers, including age and location, are also available to business accounts. Businesses can see when followers are active on the app, which is more important now that Instagram is switching back to a more chronological feed.
Your account is more likely to be seen by users if multiple accounts are promoting your products. Good Instagram influencers have a loyal following and build trust for the products that they use and feature on their posts or stories. Enlisting a group of these influencers is a cost-effective way to introduce your brand to potential followers who may buy your product solely on the fact that their favorite influencer encouraged them to do so.
Instagram Stories appear at the top of your follower’s feed and are available to view for 24 hours. Creating an Instagram Story allows you to post more frequently without clogging up a follower’s feed or distracting new users from your most important posts. Instagram Stories can help to reach more followers by using hashtags and location tags to target a specific audience.
Live videos will also appear on your Instagram Story; followers are directly notified when your account goes live. Businesses can use live videos to make announcements, answer questions from customers, and further promote their products in real-time.
The work you put into optimizing your website can be used to boost engagement and reach within the Instagram platform. Consider using similar techniques like discovering recent hashtags and consulting buyer personas to learn how customers engage with Instagram.
Be clear with your username and your description so followers can easily find you. A friendly user experience is important for your website and all of your social media channels.
About the author: Megan Okonsky is a content marketing specialist at Digital Squad. Originally from Philadelphia but currently based in Melbourne, she has combined her experience in public relations, social media marketing, and strategic communications into her work. With branches in Auckland, Melbourne, and Cape Town, Digital Squad is a fast-growing digital marketing agency specializing in SEO services, content marketing and Facebook marketing solutions for clients.