Instagram: you’ve heard of it, I’ve heard of it, even your grandma’s probably heard of it. In this modern age, it’s unavoidable, because everybody uses it, and lots of companies utilize it for marketing, so your business will have to keep up and get with the times in order to take advantage.
However, it’s not as simple as it seems. Setting up a business account on Instagram and posting sponsored content is all well and good, but it won’t actually mean anything unless you learn and understand Instagram’s finicky algorithm, since, without understanding this vital bit of coding, you’ll never get your posts noticed by anyone, decreasing your reach. So, how can you get viewers to see your posts?
How Does It Work?
In essence, this algorithm has good intentions. It wants users to only see what they care about and want to see – not your company’s basic marketing posts, basically. The posts reach users’ timelines are either from accounts that they’ve commented on and interacted with recently, or very similar accounts to the ones they engage with regularly. If your business contains something which a user has never even heard of, then it’s very unlikely that they’ll ever see your content, making marketing unique ideas and businesses very difficult.
When Was It Introduced?
Although the issue of the new algorithm has only been officially spoken about by Instagram in January of 2019, rumoгrs have been circling since around 2016. “We all knew that it was happening, but we didn’t get an official response for years,” Michelle Fort, a tech writer at Researchpapersuk and Writinity, says, “posts were getting less and less noticed, and it wasn’t just on a case-by-case basis. Everyone was losing ‘interest’, it seemed, until we all came together and realised that it wasn’t just bad luck or marketing. Since 2016, the system has been turned against us.”
In Instagram’s own words, better content should get more views, so there’s a simple first response: step up your game, in regards to the content. Make sure all photos and videos are HD, and make the colours bright and vibrant, with bold edges and objects. Viewers should know what they’re looking at, but the content should also pop out from the rest of the posts on their timeline as if you’re forcing them to like it. This will increase engagement, and make sure that even more viewers can enjoy your posts.
Leading on from that last point, your absolute best bet for getting noticed in users’ timelines is posting videos. “The amazing thing about videos is that they get noticed instantly, due to Instagram’s amazing auto-play feature,” Lisette Hughes, a tech blogger at Last Minute Writing and Draft Beyond, states, “so despite what position your post is in (within the Instagram timeline) due to Instagram’s new algorithm, you’ll be certain that a user will stop to notice your video, since it’ll be moving and catching their eye much more than any of the still image posts in their timeline. Since video posts are still statistically rarer than image posts, you’ll also be in the minority, helping you to stand out from the crowd of marketing businesses on Instagram.”
If we’re being honest, Instagram’s algorithm does make sense. If you care enough about an account to constantly post comments on their posts, then you are most likely wanting to see more of their content. So, what better way to make sure people engage with your posts than with unique captions? ‘Questions Of The Day’ or ‘QOTD’ are popular since people are likely to want to comment on their individual responses and see what other people think about the question. Simply asking people’s opinions on what you have posted is another good tip, since many people can be very opinionated, and securing their interest with a caption which gives them a chance to spread their views raises engagement and views on your content.
Don’t be a downer! Although Instagram’s ‘new’ algorithm means that you’ll have to work a bit harder for the statistics which you want out of its platform, it can be a good training opportunity for your business, and especially your marketing team. They will learn their audience, and new, modern techniques to create piquing interest in your content online, no matter what they’re advertising, from tattoos to windows!