How to Ensure Your Content is Still Seen After the 2016 Instagram Change
The Internet has blown up in recent weeks regarding the upcoming change that Instagram is making to how it determines what pictures you see in your feed each day.
In case you’ve been living under a rock or in some Insta-free world, to recap: Instagram announced on the 15th March that it will be introducing a new algorithm, not unlike that of Facebook’s, to ensure that you see the pictures you care about most. They claim that currently, users miss 70% of their feeds, and this algorithm will help ensure you don’t miss the moments that count.
Once the change is introduced, your news feed will serve pictures based on “the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting, and the timeliness of the post”.
So why all the fuss? Because previously, Instagram has shown content chronologically, and to an extent, organically. People are getting rather worked up because ultimately this opens the door to far more paid-for advertising, the way Facebook now operates.
How can we get around this?
A LOT of accounts have turned to #turnmeon – basically posting photos encouraging their followers to head to their profile page, click on the icon with the 3 little dots in the top-right hand corner of their screen and “Turn On Post Notifications.”
In my opinion, this is a pretty tacky move. It’s one thing to turn on notifications for your best pal, or a celeb you really like, but a much harder sell for brands. Do you really want to bombard your audience with notifications? Will anyone actually turn on notifications for brands? Ask yourself, would you personally? The answer is most likely no.
So then what?
Our recommendations (and this is early days… pre-Instagram change days!) are to ensure you’re using Instagram in the best, most strategic ways possible.
Consider your content
It sounds so simple, but you’d be surprised how many brands don’t have any kind of strategy or plan when it comes to what they upload to Instagram. Plan ahead with an editorial calendar (using apps like Schedugram can be very helpful for this), and ensure you have identified what your Content Mix (types of posts) looks like. For a restaurant, it may be ensuring you post a balanced mix of:
- Meal pictures
- Chefs at work
- Ingredients & meal planning
- The interior and vibe of the restaurant
- The exterior and it’s surroundings
- Suppliers such as wineries or craftsmen
- Customers enjoying themselves
- Testimonials from happy diners
You get the point. It’s all about ensuring you’re delivering a well balanced, positive mix of all the key messages you want your customer to understand about your brand.
Make it look good
But boy oh boy, it’s super important that you make it look GOOD. Real good. Mouth-wateringly good.
Half-assed photos, blurry pics, low-resolution photos, dark or poorly filtered photos – none of this will do. Flick through any magazine or newspaper and look at the quality of photography. It needs to be sharp, clear and damn good looking.
Likewise for your captioning. Be thoughtful in your approach. Spend time working out how you want to engage with your customer, what your tone of voice is. It may only be a couple of sentences here and there, but it all adds up.
Hashtag like a pro
Hashtags are such an important and vital way for seeding your content out to the big, wide world! Ensure you’re hashtagging relevant and mid-volume to small-volume hashtags on each photo. We also recommend you hashtag in the first comment of your picture, not the actual caption itself.
Research the hashtags that your customers or competitors are using. Seek ones with a mid-range volume. Don’t use ones with millions upon millions of associated images, chances are you will get lost in the noise for hashtags like #beef or #restaurant. Instead, think of #richmondrestaurant or #richmond3121, or #braisedbrisket.
Aim to be “regrammed” by influencers in your industry. Coming back to my restaurant example, they would ideally tag all the major food players in their photos (such as Broadsheet or Zomato) and even some of the big Foodie Instagrammers in their hometown. It’s a great way to get noticed by more eyeballs.
Put in the effort
Engage, engage, engage! Instagram is a platform designed for two-way communication. It’s not there for you to just shout your message and disappear.
Comment on customer profiles, like pictures, pro-actively follow those who you think will be interested in your business.
It’s a lot of manual labour, but at the end of the day, you should be applying Instagram Best Practise to your social media strategy, regardless of the changes Instagram is making to how it serves your photos.
If your small business in Melbourne needs help with boosting its digital and social media presence, then we’re here to help. Get in touch with Milkbar Digital today.