Do you freak out when you hear the words “Instagram update” and “algorithm” in the same sentence? You’re not alone. Changes to how people use Instagram often leave brands and marketers a little left in the dark and scrambling to adapt their strategy. So rather than work harder to be seen by the same amount of people, what can you, as a brand or business do to utilise the changes and make them work in your favour?
Replay Privacy Controls
Instagram is hoping to increase the focus on direct with changes to replay privacy controls. Now when you send a photo or video from the Instagram Direct camera, you can decide how long recipients can view it for. Controls include:
- Allowing recipients to only view it once
- Replay it temporarily
- View a permanent thumbnail of it in the chat log
This greater control over viewing can give you new ways to engage with your audience. For example, you could send out one-off coupon codes, or flash sale information for limited viewing to create a sense of urgency. The goal here is to target impulse actions from your audience and turn your viewers into customers!
The ability to now schedule posts is a huge step forward for the recognition of brands and business on Instagram. While most brands and businesses have either used other third-party apps or planners to schedule their content in the past, Instagram has now opened it’s API to partner applications like Hootsuite or SproutSocial. For brands and marketers, this means they can schedule and manage their Instagram presence and reporting from one platform, saving time with a more integrated approach.
TIP: If you haven’t already, start planning your posts to be published at optimum times for engagement! Collate data from Iconosquare and Facebook Insights to determine when you audience is online.
New Features for Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories are now more versatile than ever. Before, users had to post vertical photos, but now there is an option to use landscape photos – no more weird crops and zoom-ins! In addition, text-only Stories mean you don’t have to include a photo at all! This is perfect if you want to create content like polls or send out messages to your audience. Do some A/B testing and monitor the performance of Stories with images vs text-only Stories to figure out which types of content resonates the best with your audience.
Now there are new ways to get creative with Instagram Stories!
While it has been confirmed that Instagram will not be bringing back the chronological feed, the app announced that they will be testing a “New Posts” button. By tapping the button, a user will be taken to the top of their Instagram feed where they will see the most recent posts from their network.
For the most part, Instagram sorts user’s feeds based on the interactions the user has with various accounts. This means the posts that appear on a user’s feed are ordered by levels of interaction (through likes, comments, shares, saves etc). In most cases, posts from business pages are often way down the list, only reaching an estimated 10% of their audience.
So how can you use this knowledge to your advantage?
One thing you can and should be doing is interacting with your audience as much as possible – this includes direct messages, too! Reward users for commenting, liking and tagging their friends in your pictures. Respond immediately to comments with additional questions and create discussion wherever possible!
A/B test different types of content to figure out which content is most popular with your audience. Mix it up with a range of video, static images, galleries and more. Use the copy to ask questions or provide tips—anything that your audience will find helpful and can engage with.
With the Algorithm Causing an Ongoing Stir, is Vero Becoming a Real Contender?
If you’re in the social bubble it’s hard to ignore the ongoing complaints about Instagram’s algorithm and so it’s no surprise that another social media app has emerged. Yes, Vero is still on our horizons.
It has a chronological feed, for starters. You don’t have to pay for ads. Oh, and there’s no algorithm. Win, win, and win. If Instagram doesn’t start taking care of its users Vero and other competitors could see some real growth in their user bases.