June 2, 2016
As we’ve talked about before, Instagram’s change to their algorithm may be having a huge impact on how many of your followers actually see your pictures. If Instragram is a large part of your social media and marketing strategy, this is cause for concern. So what can you do about?
- Make sure that you have a diversified marketing strategy to begin with. Relying too heavily on social media as the core of your marketing can be dangerous. Remember, we are ‘playing’ on someone else’s platform for free so we don’t really have a lot to complain about when they make changes. If this algorithm change has left you scrambling, now is a good time to start thinking about how else you can market your company in addition to social media. Creating a maintaining an email database is a great first step as this ensures that you can always reach out to your customers. Remember that the law states that before sending out regular emails to customers they must have ‘opted in’ to receive news and updates from you.
- As with all marketing strategy, think about what goals you’re trying to achieve first and foremost via Instagram. By keeping your goals in mind, you can better brainstorm ways to use the tool even with the new algorithm changes.
- When it comes to Instagram specifically, what can you do to drive more engagement from your fans. Start by looking at your historical record on Instagram and see what types of posts have driven a lot of engagement in the past. Also look at your competitors and see what they’re doing on Instagram that is garnering attention. While you should always be willing to experiment with new ideas, it doesn’t hurt to start with what you know already works.
- If you’re already using hashtags – keep doing it. If you’re not using hashtags then you need to start. Hashtags are how users find new content and new accounts to follow. This will help get your material seen. Ideally you want about a dozen or so hashtags that are relevant to your business and something that people search for. Once again, look at your historical pictures and see if your most popular pictures have any hashtags in common. Take a look at what your competitors are using that is drawing attention. And you can also see what’s popular by searching Instagram itself. Keep in mind though that just because a hashtag is popular it may not be the best one for your business (see point #2 above about goals first).
- When someone comments, comment back. Part of what is driving this algorithm is the number of comments a particular picture gets. So if something you posts generates comments, be sure to comment back. This not only adds to the tally of comments, which helps your post get seen by more of your followers, but it’s also a great way to show users that you are interested in what they have to say and are trying to engage with them person to person. When commenting back, be sure to include the users name (@name) in your comment so that they’re notified of your response.
- Invite followers to always see your posts via Instagram’s notification feature. Just like with Facebook, users can make sure they always see what someone/some company posts regardless of the engagement by using Instagram’s ‘Turn On Notifications’ feature. To do this, all users need to do is click on the three dots to the right of your company name on any given picture and then tap the ‘Turn On Post Notifications’ button.
- Are Instagram users sharing their own photographs of your products? Perhaps they’re showcasing your bread next to their bowl of homemade soup or your spice mix on their BBQ ribs. Ask them if you can repost this picture on your business Instagram account. Sharing and reposting user-generated content is a great way to start to build an engaged audience and is can help show off new and different ways your products can be enjoyed or used. To find these photos in the first place, try searching your company name in Instagram’s hashtags as well as other relevant hashtags to see what comes up. (If nothing come from this search then you can always invite your followers to post pictures and attach a special hashtag so that you can follow and ‘regram’ those photos to your account).