Last week Instagram announced that they will be moving away from the chronological feed that we all know and love. They’ll begin to use an algorithm to select the content users will see. Sigh.
With a blog post titled “See the Moments You Care About First,” Instagram explained that people miss on average 70% of their feeds. “The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting, and the timeliness of the post. As we begin, we’re focusing on optimizing the order – all the posts will still be there, just in a different order.”
After I signed a few petitions titled something like “Keep Instagram Chronological,” I decided to accept the inevitable and come up with a list of tips for how to survive this change. So, I present to you, The Instagram Survival Guide.
1. Put The ‘Social’ Back In Social Media
I mentioned above that Instagram will rely more on your relationship with the person posting. We don’t often think too much about who we follow and interact with on Instagram…but we definitely should. Often relevance is correlated with social connections (do you have friends in common?), recency and frequency of previous interactions (when is the last time they engaged with your content?), and the amount of interaction a particular post gets proportional to the amount of time its been live.
Tips to get social:
- Comment on at least ten posts for every one post you share
- Comment on relevant brands, businesses, and people you want to appeal to
- Engage with your commenters and follow them back if you like their feed
2. Encourage Post Notifications
One of the most overlooked features on Instagram is the post notification feature. If you select, “Turn on Post Notifications” for any given account, you will receive push notifications whenever that account shares new content. You can find ways to strategically encourage your followers to “Turn on Post Notifications” whenever you are releasing an upcoming product, announcing a giveaway, or offering a discount. Example: Be sure to turn on post notifications so you don’t miss when we launch our new spring line!
3. Develop A Hashtag Strategy
With the upcoming changes, it WILL be harder for your current followers to see your content. But using hashtags can allow you to connect with other users who are searching for or interested in particular categories of content. Using carefully selected hashtags also begins to identify your content as relevant to specific groups of people. With a current hashtag limit of 30, make sure you are intentional about which ones you are using.
- Use 3-5 hashtags in the caption of your post that you want your followers to see
- Place the remainder of your hashtags in a comment on your post (so when you reach a certain amount of comments, your bundle of hashtags will become “hidden”)
4. Create A Social Media Support Group
According to The Social Times, these new algorithm changes will increase the need for engagement and diminish the relevance of striving for large quantities of followers. So, while we can’t trick Instagram into sharing your content with all of your followers once the algorithm takes effect, we can increase the likelihood of the platform seeing your content as “relevant” through increasing the engagement on your posts.
Start by creating a closed group on Facebook and invite businesses that compliment yours. Every day, post a link to your newest content on Instagram and support one another by liking and leaving thoughtful comments. By spreading the love and intentionally “boosting” other’s posts, you can create a support group that lifts each other up.
Reach out to complimentary companies and plan a giveaway. Your fans are following you for a reason, so if you give them a chance to be introduced to other accounts that appeal to your audience, they’ll be more likely to engage. Think of this as a way to not only “share” followers between accounts, but users will be naturally inclined to comment and like if you are doing them a “favor”. Example: if you sell children’s graphic tees, partner with a children’s book company, children’s accessory line, children’s plush toy line, etc.
Don’t panic about the new algorithm, embrace the change and think of this as a new opportunity to kill it on Instagram!