It is a constant challenge for social media professionals to stay up-to-date on the latest changes on social platforms. We know this is a struggle for you and your business, as well. So, what’s new in this ever-evolving landscape? Instagram recently rolled out changes to its algorithm which prioritizes engagement over likes, altering what appears in users’ feeds. Let’s take a look at what this change means for you and how you can adjust your social strategy to keep your content in front of your customers.
Instagram is currently testing the removal of likes from posts on their platform. They are shifting the focus toward engagement over likes. In other words, you will get rewarded by encouraging interaction between your brand and your followers. However, if your content does not gain a lot of engagement when it is first posted, Instagram’s algorithm will lower its priority. The most important engagements for feed rankings are comments, reshares, and views (for video posts).
How Can You Increase Engagement?
To prioritize engagement on your content (and use this new algorithm to your benefit), shift the focus of your content strategy to posts that will draw in your followers and build meaningful connections with them. Here are some ways to make this happen:
- Find the Right Time of Day
Take a look at the stats on when your followers spend more time on Instagram, and make a habit of consistently monitoring those days and times. Schedule your posts to roll out when your community is scrolling through their newsfeeds! This will not only increase your chances with the algorithm, but it also helps your followers to set expectations about when to look for new content from you.
With that in mind, establish a consistent posting schedule. The more frequently and consistently you post, the more likely your followers are to see (and engage with) your content.
- Supplement with Stories
The Stories feature makes it easy to highlight your recent posts. In addition, your followers will be reminded that you are actively posting new content because of the top-of-the-feed position of Stories.
- Create Content They Want to See
Currently, Instagram’s algorithm shows users the posts with which they are most likely to interact, based on their past behavior. As a result, these users won’t see posts that Instagram believes they will not find interesting.
How do you know what they want to see? Keep close tabs on your best performing content through Instagram’s insights feature and other tools like Hootsuite and Dashthis. Adjust your strategy when you discover winning content. Also, keep up with popular trends on Instagram. What types of content are making people excited and keeping them engaged?
- Encourage Sharing
A great way to amp up engagement and connect more with your fans is to share user-generated content, tagging and crediting the original source. This encourages more shares of your content and more shoutouts to your business and its products/services, which ultimately gets your content in front of more people.
- Treat Comments Like a Conversation
It’s great to always “like” comments on your content to show that you read and appreciate what your followers have to say. However, if you are always replying to and engaging with the comments on your feed, it alerts Instagram’s algorithm that you have a “relationship” with your follower. This increases the likelihood that your future content will show up in that user’s feed. In addition, that particular follower will love your brand even more… and continue to engage with you!
To Sum It Up…
To succeed on Instagram, your focus should be on engaging with your followers and discovering ways to get them more engaged with you. Keep track of the stats! When are your followers scrolling through their feeds? What content of yours do they seem to prefer? What content do they share? Which posts garnered tons of comments? Adjust your strategy to match your discoveries, and keep an eye on what’s trending.