What the 2018 Instagram Algorithm Changes Mean for Your Business

May 30, 2018

Instagram Algorithm Update

Just as you think you’ve grasped the concept of Instagram’s mysterious algorithm, a new update comes along and changes everything. Instagram recently announced that they will be introducing a ‘New Posts’ button to give users to the ability to refresh their feeds whenever they want. They hope that this will make your feed more ‘fresh’, which means that you won’t miss any important moments. But what does this mean for your business account on Instagram? Here are some changes you should consider making to get the best out of the 2018 Instagram Algorithm:

Consider when to post

While this new algorithm will still focus heavily on a relevancy-sorted feed, it will be giving more weight based on the timing of your post. This means that newer posts will more likely appear on your feed. To make the most out of this, be aware of when your audience is most active – are they online as they’re commuting to and from work? Do they like your posts during their lunch break, or right before bed? Let this guide you as to when you should be posting your content to get the best reach and engagement.

Get people to spend a longer time looking at your posts

Instagram considers the length of time a person spends interacting with your posts to determine how popular it is. This means you’re going to have to stop your followers from scrolling past, and to engage with a post for as long as possible. To do so, you’ll have to create eye-catching content. Consider using a high-quality camera and editing them with Photoshop and Lightroom, rather than relying solely on your phone and editing them on Instagram. This will make your photos stand out far above the rest.

Think of more ways to increase engagement

The new Instagram algorithm will also be looking at how much engagement a post gets, especially in the first few hours from when it is posted. But just getting basic bot comments like “Love this!” or a few emoji’s is not enough. Encourage your audience to comment with 4 words or more to make their engagement count, and to create authenticity. One way to help this is by asking them questions, or ensuring that you have a clear call to action in your caption. Once they’ve engaged, continue the conversation and they’ll hopefully engage with you again in the future. You should even go a step further by building a loyal following through consistent community management on social media to create a group of happy, engaged followers.

Optimise your Instagram hashtag strategy

The recent changes to Instagram have seen the introduction of banned tags. This means that hashtags that violate the platform’s community guidelines and those from spam-filled accounts will be banned. If you use a banned hashtag, your content won’t appear in your audience’s feeds, rendering it useless. Instead, use hashtags that are specific and relevant to your brand. This could inspire your audience to follow Instagram hashtags. You should also link brand-specific hashtags to your profile, as they now can be used as a live link.

Use all of Instagram’s new features

Instagram is constantly rolling out new features, and creating more ways to interact with your audience. By testing them, Instagram will reward you for it and those posts will more likely be seen. One thing that you can experiment with is Instagram stories. You could use features like:

  • Polls and the Emoji Slider to create engagement with your audience and gain insight into their preferences and needs.
  • Stickers and GIFs to show that your business is on top of current trends.
  • The swipe-up feature to help move your audience beyond Instagram and onto your website for e-commerce purchases.
  • The Stories Highlights to show your audience that you are active with this feature and allow them to catch up if they have missed a story in the past.

If you need help getting a grasp on the crazy changing world of Instagram and algorithms, get in contact with the Milkbar team and let us be your guide.

Written by Ilsa Harun, who is completing an internship at Milkbar Digital.

Milkbar Digital is a Melbourne social media and digital marketing agency here to help business small and large. If you need help with your social media, or don’t know where to begin, get in touch.

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