Along with a new look and logo Instagram has introduced an algorithm that will take your feed from reverse chronological to something similar to how your Facebook feed works. According to Instagram you will now “see the moments you care about first”.
So what does this mean for brands? It’s too early to know for sure since the algorithm hasn’t been active very long but us digital marketing pros can guess it will be similar to what happened on Facebook — tanking organic reach.
For those who have invested a considerable amount of time growing a following now is the time to start perfecting new ways to make sure your posts will continue to be seen. With Facebook we know that the more engaged someone is with your content the more likely they are to see it in their newsfeed. I imagine this will hold true for Instagram. Here are some things to work on:
Video is insanely popular in general, especially on Instagram. Obviously this is more true for some industries than others but in general it’s a good idea to start working on some short videos, and when I say short I mean short. Instagram videos max out at 15 seconds. For that reason you will find a lot of time lapse videos which you can do in the native iPhone photo app or with a free app like Hyperlapse. You don’t need to make every post a video, just be sure to begin incorporating them into your feed.
Research Your Hashtags
With Instagram hashtags are king. Unlike Facebook where too many hashtags in a post hurt engagement, Instagram posts thrive when there are a collection of well thought out hashtags. Each industry has hashtags that are regularly searched where your content will be found. For example in retail #OOTD (outfit of the day) is used among style icons and retailers around the globe. What’s great about Instagram is that when you type in a hashtag it will populate a list of hashtags and let you know how many posts contain it. The other way to make the most of hashtags is to jump on trending hashtags. These are hashtags that are usually related to an event or holiday.
Finding other users and brands that fit well with your own brand is always helpful, but will be even more helpful in the months to come. Create a small network of users where you can all cross promote each other will help new users discover you and hopefully help boost your own engagement. For example, working with bloggers who use your products and can tag you in posts has always been a great tool to reach new customers but in this case it can also help users find and engage with your instagram posts. You can also simply “regram” posts from other users and encourage your following to visit them and in exchange they do the same for you. This pared with effective hashtags is a great way to be seen.
I get it, not everyone is a photographer or has a talented visual communicator on staff but that is no excuse for poor quality photos. Photos taken with a smart phone are just fine, what is more important than the camera is the LIGHTING and the STYLING of your shots. I should be able to look at a brand’s Instagram and immediately get their aesthetic and vibe. An easy trick for photographing products or small scenes is to shoot the photo by a window with the window to the left or the right and invest in a piece of white foam core to put on the other side of the scene. This will bounce the natural light and help fill in the shadows which makes for a brighter image.
Don’t go crazy with filters either. Ideally you should have two or three filters that work well with your brand and use them consistently. It will help your feed look more professional and help create that branded aesthetic that you’re after. You can also remind your followers that they can “Opt Into Your Feed”. Don’t go crazy with this though, it can become annoying and people will do the opposite, unfollow!
I hope you find this helpful, I am looking forward to seeing how we can collectively work together as marketing and business professionals to continue to reach our followers without needing to spend as much as we now all do on Facebook!