The Instagram Algorithm! What the Hell Do You Do Now?
You've heard them... hollering across the internet and shouting their dire warnings like a digital Paul Revere (although we like queen bey better):
"The algorithm changes are coming! The algorithm changes are coming!"
Even the word "algorithm" strikes fear in the hearts of Instagram users far and wide.
What does it all mean?
First. Let's clear up a few things. Yes, like counts are going away (or so you might have seen). Yes, the way Instagram evaluates, prioritizes and displays content has changed.
Despite these seemingly huge shifts, Instagram is still ruling and content is still Queen, so let's look at how you can work within these new changes and still create killer content for the 'Gram!
Get on the Stories train.
Are you using Instagram Stories? (Spoiler: The correct answer is "hell yes!") These are posts that vanish with 24 hours, and they are INSANELY popular! Consider this: More than half a billion(!) people use Stories every day, and a third of the most-viewed Stories are posted by businesses. Use hashtags and geo-tagging (the Location sticker) on your stories to get even more reach.
Make your posts fresh, frequent and fabulous!
People love the new and the shiny, and the incredibly brief half-life of content on the internet reflects this. On Instagram, the problem is even more pronounced. That means you need to be posting fresh content daily-ish and when your audience is online.
Your posts need to mean something.
It's not enough for content to be "new," it also has to be "relevant." Instagram measures interest by predicting what’s relevant to users based on their past behavior. While this is similar to Facebook and YouTube, Instagram also uses image recognition software in an effort to guess whether or not your audience will appreciate your posts. Holy tech batman!
It's all about relationships.
Instagram has always been about relationships, but now the connections between people and people, and people and content, are valued more than ever. The Instagram algorithm prioritizes content from accounts that interact with each other. In other words, if you haven't been commenting on posts before, it's time to start again and double down on it! The focus on friends and family actually has an upside for businesses - treating your customers like a community will benefit you in the real world, AND it'll create more reach on Instagram... win-win!
Share your awesomeness with the world!
Fortune favors the bold! Or so the saying goes. It's particularly true on the internet, where playing too safe is a euphemism for "being invisible." You've been given a platform to showcase your unique brilliance - this is no time to play small! Create content that talks about the things that really matter to you and your audience. Be strong and bold and let your brand flag fly!
...And of course, have fun!
Creating social media content is certainly hard work, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be fun! You're sharing beautiful images and talking about subjects you're passionate about, AND you're doing it with an audience of awesome people who are equally passionate about it... it sounds like fun to me!
It's easy to get caught up in the hysteria around Instagram's algorithm changes, but the fact is, the 'Gram remains a powerful and fun way to connect with your audience. If you exchange the panic for a little creativity and follow the guidelines above, you'll have no problem making Instagram work for you.