5 ways to master the new instagram update and increase engagement
Over the past week, we noticed a strange drop in our Instagram engagement. We were posting the same type of content - one to two times a day and religiously using our 30 relevant hashtags per post. Golda had even started pushing us to beef up our Instagram Stories with fun, behind the scenes moments from our lives and our business. But suddenly our content was only garnering about 10 likes per post. That was waaaaay down from our average of 50 likes. So, we figured, what gives?
A few minutes of Googling later, and I came to the realization that Instagram had unleashed another hellish algorithm to throw off everyone's game. But, I am convinced that this new update is the worst to date. Why, you ask? Because, apparently if you do not post your content correctly, engage with purpose and limit your hashtags, only 10% of your followers will actually see your messages! Yes, you read that right - your latest posts will only get 10% visibility when you post them. This means that if you have a hundred followers, only ten people will see your new content. Which means that 90% of your loyal followers will never, ever even see your posts unless you actually take the time to nurture your Instagram account in a more thoughtful, more "social" way. Yup, it seems that the folks over at IG actually want to encourage users to be more intentionally social, which leaves us branded businesses in the lurch. Now, now, don't despair because we have done a little bit of the grunt work for you and have pulled together a list of five tips (according to The Digital Branding Institute) to help you master this new algorithm. So, pull up your bootstraps...it's time to get to work and unlock that other 90%!
1 | Respond Quickly Say goodbye to "set it and forget it!" Which is kind of upsetting since auto-posting has just been gives the green light, but I digress. Instagram may give you decreased visibility if you don’t respond to people who have commented on your post within one hour of publishing. Essentially, the more engagement you have, the more relevant your post will be on the platform. And as engagement increases, so do the visibility of your post. So, be sure to get on your phone or your laptop to answer all of those questions and respond to comments.
2 | Quality AND Quantity With the new update, any old response will not do. In the old algorithm anything you said back to people counted as engagement, this is not the case anymore. If your response is less than three words than it doesn’t count as engagement. So, now emojis and simple comments, like "L-O-V-E" will not count as engagement. Your followers will have to write four words or more to ensure that you don’t have decreased visibility for your comment, post, or photo. The only silver lining we can see here is that maybe this will decrease the use of "like bots" and bizarre comments that are not relevant to your content or message.
3 | Go Light On the Hashtags The idea of incorporating no less than 30 hashtags per post has been engrained into our brains for years now. So, much so, that we have all come up with creative ways to include them in our content without cluttering up our copy. Alas, the new update looks at these big blocks of hashtags as spam which will cause decreased visibility and even ghost spamming. You will now have to have a refined and defined hashtag system, using only about five hashtags in your posts. Your hashtags must be very focused and specific to your post, so make sure that they accurately deal with your content before using them.
3a | Oh, and, Don't Repeat Your Hashtags Using the same hashtag in consecutive posts, multiple posts, or even within the same post may be labeled by Instagram as spam. So if you have a lot of different posts, you’ll need to start mixing up your tags and avoid using generic tags. You’ll have to find something more unique to your posts. When finding your new tags, take a look at what is trending and still relevant to your brand. This will make you more competitive within your hashtags.
4 | Avoid Making Edits If you make a mistake in any parts of your post, whether in your image or your body, it is better to just delete your post - do not make any edits. The new algorithm will see any edits as a bad thing which will lead them to give your post decreased visibility. Republish new content to your page as opposed to editing or posting a comment with edits in it.
5 | Invest in Your Stories Using Instagram Stories - a lot - will give you a better chance at visibility. Instagram sees the use of Instagram Stories as being real people looking for organic growth. The goal of this social platform is to, well, be social. So, the like people who are continually trying to connect with people, and Instagram has determined that if you’re using Instagram Stories, this is your primary objective.
So, at this point, you might be ripping your hair out - thinking that all of the hard work you have done to build a beautiful brand and strategy has just been flushed down the toilet, but we believe it's just time to switch gears. If you only remember one thing from this post, as per The Digital Branding Institute, it should be that "Being human will increase your organic reach. If you find yourself continuously doing things that resemble an automation tool (i.e., scheduling posts with the same group of hashtags, using the same comments, having a low-level of engagement), you will decrease the amount of reach you have on Instagram. Bottomline, if you want to be successful on the platform: engagement is key."
While all this talk about engagement is great, we're sure that there are still plenty of you who are experiencing and Instagram identity crisis! If this sounds like you and you are still struggling to get noticed in this vast network of pretty feeds and inspiring quotes, then we are here to help.
Seriously, look no further than our Instagram Identity & Strategy Questionnaire. Take the time to fill it out and we promise, it will be worth it. Our strategic questions, will force you to dig deep and to get to the heart of your brand - giving us the tools we need to help you start planning and designing your Instagram strategy. Once received, we will go over your answers and will reach out to you to talk next steps and some serious strategy. Access the questionnaire here.