What Instagram's Algorithm Change Mean for Your Business
Companies had a brief heyday when the popular social networking site Instagram offered organic content to followers which allowed businesses to have a dramatic free reach, but now businesses will be coughing up part of their advertising funds in order to reach the same audiences. While this is a smart business move on the part of Instagram's leadership, it's a painful new reality for businesses who must now become advertisers instead of simply content creators. We've pulled together a few ways for your business to stay relevant and keep (or expand!) your reach, without spending a dime.
Stay Relevant and Interesting
Instagram started as a small community of passionate photographers who wanted to share their imagery with the world. The content that people actively engage with still tends towards stunning imagery and a compelling storyline so you're not off the hook when it comes to preparing great content to share. The main change that the algorithm introduces is that posting more often will not necessarily cause your reach to increase--in fact, the opposite may be true. Focus more on putting out valuable content on a regular basis instead of trying to push out as much ordinary content as possible.
Just as you need to keep your content relevant to increase your reach, you also need to look for ways to actively engage your readers and followers. Simply posting a beautiful picture with an emoji isn't enough anymore. Instead, you'll need to add a compelling comment with details on your state of mind when the image was taken, how it made you or others feel and asking readers to share their thoughts or similar experiences. Likes and comments matters significantly, as the Instagram algorithms are constantly looking for ways to provide readers with the content that is most relevant to them--and likes and comments are the best ways to judge relevance by the numbers
Yes, an overabundance of hashtags can make your posts seem busy, difficult to read, and like you're trying too hard. Fortunately, you can also hide the hashtags in the first comment on your article--upping your discoverability while not making you seem quite as desperate. Just like on Twitter, hashtags offer a way for users to find content that is grouped around a specific keyword quickly and easily but you have to be sure you're using tags that are relevant to the conversation or you will be quickly unfollowed.
Just Add Video
"How to" videos are all the rage on Instagram, with businesses from salons to businesses associated with cooking and cookware really enjoying great engagement rates. Consider a compelling short video or series of pictures to help tell your story, and your audience will be engaged and waiting for your next clever piece of content. Using user-generated content can also help you increase reach as you're pulling in followers of your followers.
Instagram is a rapidly shifting platform, and if you want to keep your business relevant you'll need to modify your strategies to stay in front of your audience--especially if you don't want to spend a fortune on advertising. One final thought on advertising--even if you do go in the direction of adding Instagram to your ad spend, content should still be compelling. Users are accustomed to an ad-free experience, and are unlikely to be pleased with content that is thrown in their face--and are likely to hide the ad and unfollow your business quickly if they get frustrated. Happy posting!
For more information on creating a compelling Instagram campaign, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
by MICHELLE HART/CMO & CSO/web301