30 Mar 2016

Reasons We Don’t Like the Instagram Algorithm Change & Tips on Staying Relevant

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Remember when social media was a glorious free for all? When you could log in and see whatever content was recently posted? Well, that is no more. We know that Facebook and Twitter have done away with this free floating model years ago, but now Instagram is changing over to the algorithmic method too. So what’s the deal? Is this bad or good? Instagram used to be the place where you could go to DISCOVER things you liked. Things you didn’t know you had interest in. Now Instagram, and to a greater extent, Facebook, gets to decide what you are and are not interested in. Here are our thoughts on the recent changes:

Goodbye Authenticity

Instagram used to be the most authentic social media experience you could get. When you opened the app on your phone you didn’t know what you would find. Perhaps you forgot about someone you followed and suddenly one day their post popped up. Perhaps you went to explore new content and found someone you never would have expected to follow. It was a great and ever changing experience. Now, due to algorithm changes you will be delivered carefully selected content based on your “interests” and “needs”. Although this is an attempt to provide a more user friendly experience, it strips the platform of it’s one differentiator: authenticity.

It’s Not Personal

Going along with authenticity, lets talk about trust too. Trusting the user to make their own choices. Trusting the user to find the things they like. Trusting the user to create their own personal experience. Handing over the reigns to Instagram and their algorithm makes for a much less personal experience.

You Have to Pay to Play

Just like when Facebook migrated to a pay to play model, it is now going to be difficult for brands without social advertising budgets to be seen. Smaller brands will suffer, and Instagram will become more and more commercialized as the algorithm shifts and adjusts to the growing market.

While this algorithm strips away some of our favorite things about Instagram, at the end of the day, it’s still one of our favorite social medias. We’re still excited to log on every day, and you should be too! It will be a tough learning curve, but not impossible. We have done some research, and based on our experience with Facebook & Twitter algorithms we have some tips to stay relevant:

Tips:

#1. Publish High Quality Content
This goes without saying, but Instagram is all about high quality content. Make sure your photos are well thought out, beautifully crafted and relevant for your users. Find what engages your consumers the most, and post images that correlate with those topics.

#2 Advertise
In the end, advertising will always boost your engagement and followers. Luckily, Facebook & Instagram ads are run through the same platform and any brand, on any budget can see great results by running ads. In addition, advertising can be highly targeted – which means you can reach the people YOU want to see your content.

Although change is hard, we are use to it in the social media world. We are excited for the opportunity to test out this new algorithm change, even if it means getting a little creative (which we love)!

#3 Be Patient
Changes don’t happen overnight, and the same goes for this change. Don’t panic, don’t make rash decisions. Social media is a living, breathing entity. Keep doing what you’re doing, keep producing high quality, engaging content – but make sure you’re taking note. When we work with our social media clients we are constantly optimizing our content and strategy. In this game it pays to be patient, precise and consistent.