You must expect social media platforms to change as they expand and respond to new technologies. The new Instagram algorithm changes are just following in the footsteps of other successful platforms, including those of its parent company Facebook. You can also look to the recent past with updates to Instagram business profile analytics to see that the guys running the show are not scared of change.
The recent Machine Learning @ Scale event, hosted by Facebook, introduced some of the major changes in the Instagram algorithm. Among other things, executives were trying to respond to the statistic that 70% of the content that is actually matched to people on the Gram doesn’t ever reach them. Let’s take a look at a few of the ways to use these changes to your advantage rather than being victimized by them.
The first way to beat the new Instagram changes, and changes on any platform for that matter, is to solidify your relationship with your current audience. Telling an ongoing story through pictures is a great way to ensure that your audience stays engaged over multiple posts. If people log into Instagram looking for the next installment of your story in particular, there is no algorithm change that can stop that.
Fortunately, Instagram has a feature that gives you exactly this power – Instagram Stories. You can also keep people coming back with a bit of narrative flair in your comment section describing the continuity between pictures in your set.
One thing that no social media platform will ever change much is the connection of its audience to trending topics. This is the platform’s bread and butter. If you can authentically weave trending topics into your own narratives, you effectively elevate your Instagram page away from the local, small budget pages that are most affected by the algorithm changes.
For instance, if there is a blockbuster movie coming out soon, you can incorporate memes that use images from that movie in your posts. You can then legitimately use appropriate hashtags – hashtags that will put you in line to receive new views from casual observers who focus on these trends. This strategy does not require a huge budget. It does require a bit of creativity, but there are many meme creation sites that can help you with trending topics. You can do the same thing with holidays. However, stay away from hot political topics unless you are looking for that audience specifically!
Drive clicks to your page regardless of the algorithm changes through more video, more video, and more video! These videos should be short (30 seconds or less), insightful and relevant to your brand. Instagram has a tool to accelerate your effectiveness here as well – the Instagram Boomerang app. This app plays on the meme of the looping gif, a very popular video format that has the potential to bring you plenty of attention if it is creatively used. The Boomerang app also gives you an inside track with people who are using mobile phones. Looping memes are especially popular there.
Although video on Instagram can now be up to 60 seconds, most popular videos from large pages keep to the 30 second limit. The few exceptions to this unofficial standard may occur when you are trying to give a technical description, but you may be better off leading your audience to YouTube or another full featured video sharing site if that is the case. Your likes to views ratio may also seem less encouraging on videos, but keep in mind that people generally do not “like” videos as much as they do pictures. The engagement, however, is definitely there.
Pay Attention to Thematic Engagement
One of the major changes in the Instagram algorithm will be to the order in which people see posts. Basically, people will receive new content first based on their behavior on past content. What does this mean for Instagram marketers? If you are looking to build and maintain an audience, thematic engagement should now be paramount in your marketing strategy.
In short, give more attention on your pages to the posts that have been proven to work. Use your business analytics to identify the types of posts that bring the most views, likes and engagement. Do not be afraid to post sequels and series to your page. Instagram Stories, as mentioned before, is an easy, convenient tool to help you here. Use it and study what works.
Creating a theme for your Instagram page is good online marketing practice in the first place. The new Instagram algorithm changes are just bringing you more reasons to incorporate themes, macrotagging and branding into your page.
The tips above should improve your performance on Instagram until the next big changes hit. Oh yes, you should expect more changes in the way that Instagram does business in the future. Plan for it now. Technology changes at the speed of light – your main job as an Instagram content creator is to make sure that Scotty has your warp drive working at all times!