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Instagram or not-so-instant-spam?

Social Media / Off / July 20, 2016

The rumours are true: Instagram are changing their algorithm.

“To improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.”

In a statement released yesterday, Instagram will soon be flipping the entire premise of their social media platform. Soon, you’ll stop seeing your feed ‘instantly’ in chronological order, and instead see photos “based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.”

It’s an interesting move by Instagram, one that appears to be pushing the world’s fastest growing social media platform toward one almost identical to the world’s largest, Facebook (incidentally, Facebook owns Instagram).

The news appears to have sent predominantly negative shockwaves through the online community, with most of the outrage focused on the possibility that the new algorithm will mean we see only the most popular Instagram posts in our feed – which could mean a feed full of big brands and popular-for-no-reason celebrities.

As the statement was released only yesterday and changes will be slowly introduced over the next few months, it is hard to predict which way this will go, so we’re staying neutral. Instagram stand by the change as one for the better, claiming it will mean we no longer need to miss an average of 70% of our newsfeed and will start seeing only the things we want to.

So, how this will affect your business?

Not sure we could handle losing our favourite sunny wearing furry friends from our newsfeed...

Not sure we could handle losing our favourite sunny wearing furry friends from our newsfeed…

In their statement Instagram claims the new algorithm will mean “when your favourite band posts a photo of last night’s concert, it’ll be waiting for you in your feed the next day. When your best friend posts a photo of her new puppy, you won’t miss it”. Based on this logic we should see our favourite businesses and small brands too, which would be a huge win if you have a strong social media presence. (To be honest, we’re not sure we want to be on Instagram if we can’t get a daily dose of these ever adorable Weiner dogs, stars of local Aussie label Oscar & Frank eyewear!)

As the new feed will be focused on serving up content that the end user wants to see and their relationship with the account that posted it, if you’re able to connect with your target audience and have a strong relationship with them on social media, your Instagram followers will still see your posts, and indeed, see them more often than they used to.

If the algorithm is anything like Facebook (which it appears to be) the move will still most likely involve having to spend some money on targeted, sponsored posts, however, if you can build a strong relationship using good content – the targeted posts won’t be necessary! So it is now more important than ever to build on your social media, posting only engaging, high quality content and increasing the two way conversations you’re having with your followers.

The bottom line?

No matter which way things go though, the underlying priority as a small business or brand marketing on Instagram is going to be the same: get your social media strategy in order NOW!

The only way to beat the algorithm is to be an Instagram feed that people want to see. You’re more than a brand; you’re a friend, an inspiration and a quality source of beautiful photos. A social media strategy is going to set in place a guideline to ensure this is what happens. By carefully identifying and planning your social media posts, you can ensure the consistency of your message, that you’re consistently appealing to your target audience and that every post fits in with your brand image to create one damn fine looking feed.

Ultimately, putting in place a quality social media strategy is also going to make sure you connect with your followers on Instagram, and convert them into more than just a like on your best posts. It’s going to turn them into loyal customers and help you achieve your business goals.

So get snapping and get that Instagram feed up to scratch, the competition to be seen on social media just got a little hotter!

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