3 Tips for Keeping Up With Instagram Updates

Jun 21, 2018

Social media platforms are in a constant state of evolution as they compete with each other for the most active users. Instagram (owned by Facebook) has transformed significantly over the past two years.

One of its most dramatic changes was the addition of “Stories” in 2016, and ever since the platform is rapidly adding new features. These changes are exciting for marketers (and present plenty of new opportunities for exposure and growth), but staying on top of the updates can be overwhelming.

We’ve written quite a bit about social media marketing in the past, and Instagram seems to be a frequent recurring focus. Considering that Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networks, it needs to a part of your digital marketing strategy in the most effective way possible.

We want to point out 3 tips for your social media marketing team to remember as they devise a plan for making the most of Instagram.

 Pay Attention to the Algorithm

The switch to an algorithm-based feed instead of a chronological feed is nothing new (Instagram initially rolled it out in 2016) but businesses are still trying to figure out the best ways to maximize exposure and engagement.

It’s no longer as easy as figuring out what times of day have the highest engagement. You don’t know the exact time your post will appear in your ideal follower/potential customer’s feed. Although timing does still matter to a certain extent, you have to rely on much more solid factors.

In the same way that Google doesn’t officially announce every algorithm change, Instagram doesn’t make its algorithm changes public either. Since you’ll never be 100% sure about the algorithm or how to outsmart it, it’s better to focus more on your audience than the algorithm.

As we mentioned, there are many factors, but here are 3 things to keep in mind to stay on the algorithm’s good side.

1) Consider the amount of engagement your posts are getting.

When you post stories and post video content, you’re increasing your chances for user engagement (and inevitably increasing your algorithm ranking). The amount of engagement your post has is a determining factor of how much the algorithm favors you.

2) Keep track of which posts are being viewed for the longest periods of time.

And as the new algorithm rewards content that is viewed for a long period of time, more video content can also help you rise above competitors.

3) Note who engages with your posts the most.

Track who engages with your posts the most. This is another important consideration of the algorithm. Who searches for your account and how often comes into play when Instagram’s algorithm is deciding what to show first.

Knowing demographics and user personas is important not just for general marketing purposes, but also to ensure that you mold your content to fit your prime audience’s needs.

The algorithm can push you to the top for your loyal audience members who want to see your content the most (and ideally want your product or service the most, too).

Be Aware of How Certain Updates Could Negatively Affect You

Unfortunately, not every update that Instagram rolls out will have the potential to help your business. For those updates that might be less than favorable for your company, knowing which key performance metrics (KPIs) to track is more important than ever.

If you don’t have a clear idea of the impact of an update, whether it’s positive or negative, it’s difficult to know how to adjust your posting schedule/engagement strategy to be the most impactful.

In the worst cases, businesses are losing effectiveness on Instagram without realizing it because they are relying on vanity metrics and simply reporting numbers and statistics to appease the executives.

Example: The “Mute” Update

Simply put, the new “mute” feature lets you hide posts in feed from certain accounts, without unfollowing them. The ability of your followers to mute (hide) your posts could affect your business more seriously than you think.

Fans of the update claim it’s a lifesaver for people who want more control over the content they see. In the words of Instagram itself, “With this change, you can make your feed even more personalized to what matters to you.”

Avoid getting your business account muted by not over-posting and being self-aware social media account. The worst thing about muted Instagram post notifications for businesses is that it could give a company a false sense of accomplishment by inflating the number of followers and decreasing exposure/engagement.

Keeping close track of your analytics (ideally with the help of marketing professionals to help interpret the data) is essential.

Embrace the Changes Right Away Instead of Wasting Time Commenting/Criticizing

It’s wise to be one of the first ones to embrace whatever updates/features Instagram rolls out. No matter how reluctant you might be, we can almost guarantee that the general public will jump on board with whatever it is eventually (and why wouldn’t you want to be one of the original ones to take advantage of it.

Example: IGTV

IGTV is a new video section of Instagram (now IGTV is its own app, too), that allows any user to publish long-form content up to an hour in length. Anyone can set up his/her own IGTV channel as easily as they could set up a YouTube channel (IGTV naturally wants to rival YouTube).

Some brands are already experimenting with the channel, like Chipotle, Nike, and Everlane.

The exciting part about diving into taking advantage of a new update right away is that your company can possibly become a pioneer of a new type of content that becomes unique to that channel. Full-screen mobile real estate appears to consistently be more expensive and advertisers are already preparing to create paid content for brands on IGTV.

Since consumers can already buy products straight from Instagram posts, it’s natural to consider that Instagram will eventually make it possible to buy products directly from IGTV video content.

Also, the fact that people are already watching long-form recorded Instagram Video Stories, it makes the transition to IGTV more seamless.

To Wrap It Up…

According to We Are Social’s 2018 Global Digital Report (in collaboration with Hootsuite) there are currently 230 million active social media users in the US alone. Investing in your social media strategy is a necessity. With Instagram steadily on the rise, you’ll need a respectable presence if you want your business to be successful online, no matter your niche or industry.

As data geeks and experienced social media marketers, our team here at Chainlink is all about helping your business become an industry leader by increasing your organic website traffic and online presence.

We are a technology-focused agency who can provide valuable insights into your customer behavior using our proprietary platform, the Chainlink Marketing Platform.

Reach out to us below to learn more about how we can help your business grow online. We’d love to chat and give you a free consultation.

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