Instagram: What do the Changes Mean?

25 April, 2016 | Social Media | 3 min read.

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What’s changed?

Facebook changed its posting system to an algorithmic feed in 2009. This meant that rather than seeing everything posted by everyone you’re friends with in a chronological order, you only see what Facebook thinks is most relevant to you. When Facebook did this back in 2009 people voiced their outrage. So will making the same changes to Instagram cause the same reaction to the platforms 300 million users?

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Why have the changes been made?

Since the launch of the algorithm, some have heralded it as ‘one of the most annoying features’ of Facebook, but Instagram assure us that the change has been made with the best interests of the user in mind – personalising our online experience.

Instagram’s statement clarified that the changes would only affect the ordering of posts, not whether they appeared at all: “All the posts will still be there, just in a different order”.

Kevin Systrom, the co-founder and CEO of Instagram said that “On average, people miss about 70 percent of the posts in their Instagram feed. What this is about is making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible.”

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Is this really what users of Instagram want?

For people who use Instagram to look at friend’s and family’s profiles this change may be beneficial as posts won’t be missed through irregular use of the platform. However, for people who use Instagram more regularly, using it for inspiration, to sell their products and for those who shot to Insta-fame, the changes may mean they are now at a disadvantage.

Drops in engagement including likes and follows have already been reported by many brands. And with no guarantee surrounding the number of people seeing your posts, it could affect how much those who make money from the platform can ask from advertisers.

The change could also be an issue for brands, because although follower numbers will continue to increase, engagement is now no longer a given. Follower count will become less relevant and brands will need to work harder to create more engaging content to keep users clicking, otherwise, the relationship between the two will drop and so will the opportunity to appear at the top of user’s feeds.

The way smaller companies and brands are attempting to combat this and to ensure their posts are still seen, is by asking all their current followers to turn on their notifications so that they will be notified each time they have posted something new, this spiked the campaign #turnmeon which many celebrities even joined in on.

How can you keep your audience engaged?

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Use quality images

Quality Images

Instagram is a visual platform and if you’re not up to the standards, you are not even in the engagement race.

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Post regularly

Post regularly

Providing content on a regular basis is key to keeping your Instagram engagement rates high. You need to keep your followers looking forward to something new.

It is recommended you post every day or at least 5 or 6 times per week. That’s a bare minimum.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t post too much. Somewhere between 3 and 5 times per day is the maximum.

According to study from CoShedule, the best times to post on Instagram are:

  • Monday and Thursday at any time other than 3–4 p.m.
  • Videos any day at 9 p.m.–8 a.m.
  • Experiment with 2 a.m., 5 p.m., and Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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Use hashtags that are relevant to you

hashtags

You only have one chance to get your image noticed in the grid before it quickly gets lost.

Your hashtags should be specific and related to your business. Don’t choose the hashtags that have millions of posts related to them.

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Interact

Interact

When someone comments on your post, always respond. Always write back.

Responding is showing how much you value your followers and your community.

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Promote your account on your other platforms

Promote on other accounts

If you have Twitter, Facebook, YouTube aswell as Instagram, make sure you connect all of these to spread your content.

Mention your Instagram account on your website, in your blog posts, and even on your printed materials.

Give your followers on other networks a sample of the great content they will only find on your Instagram account.

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Only time will tell if this new way of feeding information to Instagram users will work as it has for Facebook.

But what is the bigger picture? Instagram is now home to a lot of brands. So, are we now seeing the beginning of a move towards monetizing Instagram where organic reach will be limited and posts will need to be boosted to ensure they reach larger audiences? Or, will we be able to pay to get our content posted on specific audience’s feeds like on Twitter?. Let us know what you think, tweet us @EDGE_Creative.

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