If you’ve been anywhere on Instagram in the past few days, you’ve probably heard about the impending apocalypse that is Instagram’s new algorithm. The company recently announced it was making a major update to user feeds.
The previous feed displayed posts in reverse chronological order, so users saw every post by every account they followed when scrolling past. Although this could be time consuming for users who follower thousands of accounts, it meant that any post had an equivalent chance of being viewed by a user, dependent only on the time it was posted.
But the new algorithm is shaking things up. Now, Instagram will prioritize posts from accounts that users have engaged heavily with through likes, comments and views and display those first, while relegating less significant accounts further down in the feed, or off it entirely.
Naturally, brands are freaking out about this. While the change might make IG more convenient for viewers, content creators now need to pay closer attention than ever to what they’re putting out. While this is definitely true, this doesn’t mean brand marketing on IG isn’t going to change for the worse.
PAY TO PLAY?
For larger brands that can afford paid advertising, the update won’t make a difference, but smaller brand accounts that rely on organic post reach fear that this change is a step towards Facebook’s “Pay to Play” system. Facebook’s current algorithm gives brand accounts such a low organic post reach that many marketers feel they are essentially being forced to pay to promote their content.
Kurt Wagner at Re/Code writes that Instagram isn’t quite taking this approach. As of now, brand accounts are still treated the same as personal ones, which means that all content is treated equally. This is likely to change, but in the interim, it is still possible for brands to create content that gets seen without paying a fortune.
CREATING CONTENT THAT CLICKS
Although posting striking visual content is still important, you should encourage your followers to do more than just stare. Madeline Popelka, a digital marketing expert, gave Elite Daily some tips for creating killer content.
Encourage them to tag their friends in posts that are relevant to them. Create incentives for followers to use your brand hashtag with giveaways and shout outs.
But boosting your account’s status goes beyond your own posts. If you’re engaging with and promoting your followers’ content, you’re more likely to get a favorable response from them the next time your new post is published.
AVOID THE ARROW
To mitigate the effects of new algorithm, some brands are turning to another method that you may have noticed in the past few days: pleading with their users to turn on post notifications. This will inform users whenever an account has a new IG post, even if it doesn’t show up in their feed.
While this tactic might avoid a short-term drop in views, you still won’t see the results you want if your posts are just something pretty to look at and then scroll past. Brands that can create killer content that encourages action and engagement shouldn’t be afraid of this new algorithm, because their posts will still be seen and furthermore, will actually lead to conversions.
The bottom line is, if your brand is creating content that viewers enjoy seeing and interacting with, you have nothing to worry about – at least yet.