A picture is worth a thousand words. These statements are very true when it comes to Instagram. Instagram is perhaps the social media network of the minute. Instagram currently has more than 400 million active monthly users, with more than 75 million people visiting the site daily.
As the audiences we are marketing to become more focused on the images we are creating, every brand needs to invest time and effort into Instagram, especially now that Instagram is changing its algorithm.
Facebook purchased Instagram back in 2010. For the past six years, we have wondered when Facebook would finally start making algorithm updates to our favorite photo social network.
Traditionally, on Instagram content has been shown in reverse chronological order based on who you follow. Newest content appears first. This can result in missing some posts,if you follow thousands of people.
With the new changes, algorithms will control the content a user sees. This algorithm will highlight posts that it thinks you want to see at the top of your feed.
How does a small business adapt to make sure their posts are still popping up in feeds?
Quality and Quantity
When examining the accounts we manage, Instagram receives more engagement than Facebook and Twitter, hands down. With the new algorithm, quality is going to trump quantity, which means you might want to limit how often you post to the network. The change in algorithm might mean that if your post is great, it will stay at the top of feeds for a longer period of time.
Creating engaging content
Unique. Original. Content. Often, as social media managers we are limited to the number of quality photos we have on hand. Look through your company’s Instagram account, have you posted certain photos more than once? More than three times? This needs to stop. In order to get users to engage more with your brand you need to provide them with a new original image each time you post. This will create a higher rate of engagement with your already established users. Think of each of these users as an ambassador for your brand. Give them something new to talk about each time they engage with you. Make them want to comment and repost your photo. And don’t forget to add in some videos. When it comes to videos, you can now see how many times a video has been watched as opposed to the number of likes.
Promote via other social networks
How are you driving traffic to your Instagram account? Make sure your company’s Instagram account is connected to your company’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Do you post images related to your company’s blog or podcast to your Instagram? Cross-promoting Instagram on your other sites and in reverse can only help ensure that your content is viewed. After all, don’t you want to increase the number of readers on your blog? Listeners on your podcast? Connect all of the dots and drive traffic to the places where your customers can organically hear your brand’s message and vision.
Get yourself some Instagram influencers. Influencers are your online brand ambassadors. Who are your regulars? Do they post to Instagram every time they attend an event or visit your restaurant? How can you make their experience even better and beneficial to your ROI? If you are launching a new product or dish, ask them to try it first and share their thoughts. This can help create a buzz about what your company has going on next.
Just like Facebook, sponsored content will be huge on Instagram this year. Already, Instagram ads have generated $595 million in revenue in 2016. Instagram advertising is part of the trifecta of creating success on Instagram — user engagement, influencers and paid advertising. Ads will increase the number of eyes seen on your posts, but they can also help promote your brand to new customers as well. One of the best features about Instagram ads is action-driving ads and the ability to click offsite from Instagram. Traditionally, links do not work in Instagram posts. Instagram has introduced an image overlay that can drive a users offsite, ensuring high-quality traffic to a specific landing page of your choice. Trying to sell tickets for an event? Create website conversions that take users to a specific page on your website.
Instagram will continue to be great for small businesses. A few tweaks here and there is all that this algorithm really needs to work in your favor.