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June 15, 2016

Instagram’s new algorithm and how you can survive the changes

Since its launch in 2010, social networking giant and celebrity favourite, Instagram, has mostly stayed true to its original format. Despite being bought by Facebook for a hefty $1 billion dollars way back in 2012, the original concept of taking a picture, adding a pretty filter and sharing to your loyal followers (with the addition of a hashtag or two), has stayed the same – even after increasing its users to an incredible 400 million monthly active users and 75 million daily users over the past six years.

However, in early 2016, Instagram shocked fans of the networking site by announcing a change to its algorithm, making the timeline appear more like Facebook by removing the chronological news feed and replacing top posts with what they believed the user would be interested in. Not so scary for businesses rolling in the big bucks – but what about the smaller, independent organisations who were now at risk of losing their content visibility, in favour of more popular pages?

If this sounds like something that may be affecting your own page, check out our handy advice to help you survive the newest algorithm change, while increasing the exposure and engagement of your page.

Is your content good enough?

The key to a successful Instagram page is a high level of engagement. With millions of businesses vying for attention, it is important to have an insight into how you can make your page stand out from the crowd. Just posting a nice photograph and a quirky caption isn’t enough these days to keep your followers interested. With new ideas and supporting apps coming out quicker than you can say ‘Boomerang’, now is the time to look into which of these new applications can benefit your page.

Read on to find out some of our ideas on how you can turn your page from a visual nightmare to a brand’s most favourite dream…

Lights, camera, action!

With 80 million images being shared daily and 8.9% of these being videos, one of the ways to create more engagement on your page is to download a great video app. Videos on Instagram need to be short, cool and fun – a snapshot into your brand’s personality – and there are plenty of different ways you can show this:

boomerang

Boomerang – The most popular app at the moment is Boomerang where you can make one second clips capturing a moment and replaying it backwards and forwards (hence its namesake!). This app is particularly great for quirky fashion brands and is favoured by make-up artists, celebrities and leading high street stores like Topshop.

Flipagram

Flipagram – Remember creating fun flip books with your friends at school? Well now you can create interesting and unusual content using the Flipagram app. Designed to help you create short movies from your photographs, this app can really get your creative juices flowing if you use it wisely. We particularly like Flipagram’s celebratory Star Wars Day post which is great inspiration for organisations who may want to showcase their products with a fun a quirky message.

YAKIT – We love this hilarious app in which you can make funny and creative edits on your existing photographs and videos. Although we wouldn’t recommend this app for more “mature” brands, we think that this app is perfect for children’s brands, the hospitality industry and your own enjoyment!

Grab onto your partners

Another way to boost engagement and increase brand awareness is to partner up with affiliated brands, bloggers/vloggers and experts. Competitions are a great way to do this, perhaps by using a fellow brand’s product as the prize and hosting the competition on your own page, while your partner brand drives users to you.

Only recently, Diet Coke UK targeted their predominantly female market by joining forces with nail polish brand Essie UK and Boots to promote their “buy a Diet Coke and get an Essie nail polish for £5.99” deal. Followers of the Diet Coke Diet coke ukInstagram page were drawn to this offer with aspirational lifestyle images, the hashtag #DietCokeBeautyBreak and the participating brands tagged into the copy used. What perfect way to while away half an hour than by sipping Diet Coke and giving yourself a manicure at a bargain price?

You can also alert Instagram users to your own page by simply commenting and engaging with fellow brands through interacting on their posts, liking pages and making your presence well known. Their support can be invaluable as can yours to their business. It’s supposed to be one big happy online community after all – why not spread the love!

Hashtag Hashtag Hashtag

Yes, hashtagging may seem a bit uncool on some social sites (thanks #bae) but the fact of the matter is, hashtagging is the perfect way to boost awareness amongst the high volume of photos and videos that are posted every minute.

According to Webstagram the top hashtags used in 2016 so far include:

  • #love
  • #Instagood
  • #tbt
  • #photooftheday
  • #cute

You’ll notice that a lot of leading brands sneak these hashtags into their posts, boosting their chances of being seen. However, you need to make sure that your hashtags are relevant to your target audience, alternating between five to fifteen tags as well as keeping your eye out for trending hashtags that you could jump on and join in on any online conversations. Just be careful that you don’t end up hijacking a hashtag that has no relevance to your post, product or brand (an issue that left a few large organisations red-faced after pop icon Prince’s recent passing!)

Have you found a change in engagement on your Instagram since the new changes? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear your experiences.

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