While the rest of us were resolving to drink our eight daily glasses of water or finally train for that half marathon in 2018, it feels as though Instagram’s New Year’s resolution was to confuse its users with algorithm changes and new features. You might be #overwhelmed, but no need to worry. We are here to help you turn the Insta-chaos into Insta-bliss.
What’s New on Instagram
Let’s start with the algorithm. Instagram organizes a user’s feed to show the moments it believes that person will “care about the most.” The platform scratched the chronological order over a year ago, and the algorithm it uses is ever-changing.
Here are some suggested workarounds to have your brand stay present in your audience’s feeds without relying on ads:
- Go Business or Go Home: Switching over to a business account allows you to check additional statistics, which will help you determine the best time to post.
- Speed Matters: Responding to comments left on your posts within 60 minutes can keep the visibility of the post from gradually decreasing.
- I, No Robot: Leaving two-word comments supposedly does not count as engagement and might make your account look like a bot. Comment with four words or more to be safe.
- Hashtag Help: Again, to avoid looking like a bot, don’t use the same hashtags over and over. Using five unique hashtags on every post is a good rule of thumb.
- Let It Be: Editing your captions within 24 hours after posting, as well as deleting and reposting your Insta will significantly lower your visibility.
- Expand and Engage: Start posting in another area of the Insta-realm a.k.a. Instagram Stories. The algorithm considers all engagement, including replying to a Story or sending a Story to a user. More engagement = more visibility
- Take It Live: Live stories are another excellent form of engagement, and users will get a notification if they opted in.
- Teacher’s Pet: Consider offering useful information or a hot tip in your caption. According to SproutSocial, “consumer education is one of the slower but more effective ways of building your brand. This could eventually turn your fans into paying customers.”
- Sneak Peek: Showing a behind-the-scenes picture or video of a work in progress is a great way to build a genuine relationship with your followers and will hopefully entice them to want to see the final product. (P.S. We love doing this at @aor_inc!)
Now that you are equipped with algorithm know-how, here are few new rollouts from Instagram in the past few months to be aware of:
- Schedule Master: You can now use third-party scheduling apps like Hootsuite to post directly to Instagram. Thanks to the Instagram Graph API, you can say goodbye to the alerts pushed to your phone, since the software posts directly on your behalf.
- Type Away: Create an Instagram Story with just text with Type Mode. There is no need for an image or video to increase engagement.
- Pinch and Tap: Stories can be any size or format by stretching to fit the screen.
Following these best practices along with continually adapting to Instagram’s rapid changes is integral to your brand’s success in the digital age. If you need help, our digital team is just an email or phone call away—so you can focus more on that half marathon.