You’re scrolling through your Instagram feed one day when you notice that a post from two days ago is at the top. You feel a little confused, maybe even betrayed, and you can’t figure out why change is so inevitable with social media. After all, you were just getting used to the old way.
You discover that in March, Instagram announced its new algorithm dictating how posts appear on the feeds, and you wonder how this will affect your marketing strategies.
Here’s the scoop. The new algorithm was created to show content that it is most relevant to users, not necessarily to help businesses with their advertising or profiles.
When Instagram created the new algorithm, it did so knowing that people miss 70 percent of their feeds when posts are displayed chronologically. Timeliness is still a factor, but now feeds also incorporate another factor: the user’s interaction with content. Instagram’s algorithm uses your activity to determine what types of posts you will value most based on previous likes, comments and shares.
But fear not; this doesn’t mean that businesses can’t leverage this shift as an advantage. In fact, with a few tips, the new Instagram algorithm can help increase your engagement with your target audience.
1) Use this opportunity to target and convert your niche followers. It may be tempting to use Instagram for mass marketing with broad hashtags and giant giveaways, but as Forbes advises, finding and keeping up with your target audience will help improve and maintain your brand. When you use hashtags, posts and giveaways, make them relevant and narrow them down to target your hot leads (those already prone to purchase or “convert” to an action) to maximize visibility.
2) Maximize influencer marketing. Now is the time to leverage strategic influencers to engage with you and promote you to their followers. This could be as simple as having that loyal customer snap a picture in your location and tag it to get a discount. People trust their friends’ opinions, and this is a good way to create genuine interest in your content without having to go the mass giveaway route!
3) Focus on the quality of the content you are posting. While the algorithm still considers timeliness, stop stressing over finding the “golden hour” of posting and spend more time making sure your content is worthwhile. As Instagram pointed out, users don’t have to worry about missing their favorite people’s posts anymore; the post they missed while they were sleeping will be waiting for them if it is something they find interesting.
4) Take advantage of other new Instagram features. If you’re still worried about the new algorithm, remember that Instagram is growing quickly and adding new features you can use, from going “live” to posting multiple photos at a time. Check out these tips from Hootsuite for monthly updates on the new features you can use!
Check out more tips to leverage Instagram Slideshows!
Written by Haley McDougal, rising senior at UNC-Chapel Hill.