The controversial new algorithm was criticized from start itself. It was labeled as ‘The Death of Brands on Instagram’ even before it came into effect. Regular instagrammers, Instagram influencers and brands ate their heart out over the new update. They asked (or literally begged) to their followers to turn on their post notifications. Everyone is fretting about the change in Instagram even though they have no clue what it is all about.
So let’s take a moment to understand it first before we dig deeper about the Instagram’s update.
What is Instagram Algorithm?
According to Kevin Systrom, Co-founder and Chief Executive of Instagram, “On an average people miss about 70 percent of the posts in their Instagram feeds”. He also told The New York Times, “This (algorithm) is about making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible.”
The company writes on its blog, “to improve your experience your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most”.
Which means that (similar to Facebook) feeds won’t show posts in chronological order rather based on popularity of the posts, relevance and likeability of the content to the users. As we have seen before, when Instagram decided to curate the feeds like Facebook and Twitter people started opposing the Instagram algorithm with protests, signing petitions and yes, even boycotts!
And to add to user’s despair, Instagrammers have no choice to opt out of the new algorithm feed. Like one can switch off and on Twitter’s timeline algorithm and toggle between ‘top stories’ and the ‘most recent’ on Facebook news feed.
Though Kevin Systrom reassures the users that this will be a slow and gradual change, “It’s not like be a people will wake up tomorrow and have a different Instagram” he told The New York Times.
How will it affect your brand?
Instagram says the algorithm is prominent as it will improve the experience of the users. But it is also assumed that the company is introducing this algorithm to bring in more revenue to attract advertisers, and off course, grow its user base.
Since Instagram will be controlling what you will be scrolling through in your newsfeed, it may increase companies’ advertisement posts. The revenue from ads is more seemingly the most feasible explanation for introducing the algorithm. We all are aware that when Facebook (one of the top digital advertizing platforms in world) got ahead with filtering feeds, users saw more of ‘Suggested Posts’.
Larry Lac, Director of Social Media Marketing at Havas Worldwide told Adweek, “The moment when an Instagram ad starts looking like a banner, the ‘unfollow’ will come”.
“In an effort to cut through the noise that will come with instagram’s new advertising push, brands need to adopt a more strategic approach to their investment in social media”, said Javier Buron, SocialBro CEO & Co-founder.
Here are few tips brands can use to tackle and survive this algorithm change
1. Optimize the Hashtags
“Hashtags rule! On Instagram more than Facebook or Twitter. I’ve received more followers through best hashtags practices than from any photos”. – Beth Mcshane, Executive Director on Non profit North West Autism Foundation.
Hashtags can be very effective in increasing the visibility of relevant content if used properly. She also says researching for trending hashtags relevant to your brand or product is essential
“Many successful Instagram accounts have a certain theme that carries throughout each of their photos.” – Hannah Clark
Social Media experts Hannah Clark writes that many high-interest Instagram profiles have an overarching theme or point of view that makes them compelling.
3. Take better pictures
Instagram is an image sharing app, which means visuals should be unique and attractive enough. Brands should in hire for professional help to create content or small business owners can learn few basic photographic techniques can be helpful in long run.
4. Focus on the caption, not just image
The image may be the star, the hashtags may offer context but the caption helps to tell a specific story. Telling a story with your captions gives your followers a little bit of insight into you as an expert, and the context of photo.