7 Kick-Ass Tips for Surviving Instagram’s Algorithm Update
On March 15, 2016 Instagram released a statement about upcoming changes to its feed algorithm. The reason, they stated, for the change was to show “moments you care about first.” According to Instagram, users miss approximately 70% of the posts on their feeds, so an algorithmic update was the solution. Once these changes are implemented, the order of photos on your feed will no longer be chronological, but instead based on “the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.”
Instagram’s announcement has not been welcomed with open arms. Brands, celebrities, bloggers and other Instagram users are not happy to see their chronological feeds disappear. People were so upset by this news that a petition was created to “Keep Instagram Chronological,” which now has over 300,000 signatures. Instagram has historically been a social platform where good content was rewarded—end of story. But with these changes, good content may not be enough. And whether we like it or not, the ch-ch-change is coming. (Yes, that was a subtle reference to the late great David Bowie. We’ll never let go.) So what steps can we take to save ourselves from this Instagram apocalypse?
Create Quality Content
Great visuals and quality content are the basis of any successful Instagram account. So while it may not be enough anymore, it will still play a huge role. In fact, it will probably play an ever bigger role than before because the next six steps are useless without killer content.
Because the amount of engagement you receive on each post will have a huge impact on how often your post is shown to users, it is incredibly important to place quality over quantity. Posting frequently in a short span of time almost always results in less likes and comments, so over-posting after the algorithm update rolls out will negatively affect you.
Increase Activity + Engage in Conversations
Interact with like-minded brands, followers and potential followers. People have always talked about keeping the “social” in social media, and now it is no longer a luxury. Liking, commenting and responding to Instagram users will create a more dedicated following—and the more dedicated the follower, the more likely they are to see your content on a regular basis.
Hashtags are and always will be important. They allow your content to be linked to other similar content. Plus, they allow your posts to be found by people who are interested in a specific topic. Without the guarantee that your posts will be seen by your followers, researching and utilizing relevant hashtags will allow your content to be seen by the appropriate users.
Analyze, Analyze, Analyze
Did one of your posts perform incredibly well? Did another receive almost no engagement? Take note of each of these posts and try to figure out the “why.” Analyzing your content, mimicking what worked well and avoiding what did not will be instrumental to keeping your engagement rate high.
Work with Influencers
Influencer marketing will be more important than ever. Influencers tend to have high engagement rates across the board—hence the reason they are considered influencers! Since your content may get buried in your users’ feeds, collaborating with relevant influencers to amplify your content will be a growing trend in the upcoming months.
Pay to Play
And of course: good old paid advertising. There’s no denying the fact that Instagram is attempting to take a page from its parent company’s book (Thanks, Facebook). This update will result in a ton of advertising dollars being spent in a social platform that seemed to do pretty well without sponsored posts. But with the algorithm update possibly burying certain posts, the only way to guarantee your content is seen by your target audience is through advertising.
Instagram still has not released exactly when this update will occur, but in a recent statement said, “We still have weeks, or even months, of testing to go. Currently the test groups are very small. When we roll it out broadly, we will definitely let the community know.” So start implementing these tips today to protect your Instagram accounts. Better safe than sorry.