Get the Most from Instagram’s Algorithm Change

April 18, 2016

8:00 pm

When algorithms change, everyone scrambles.

Google has had quite a few, with each one sending content marketers into panic. But that doesn’t have to be the only reaction – in fact, a major site’s algorithm change can prove to be helpful for rebuilding your social media strategy and keeping you on your toes. The key to dealing with an algorithm change is to take a breath, think about the change being made, and then proceed with a strategy that makes sense.

On March 28, Instagram followers were flooded with posts from businesses telling them to immediately turn on notifications for their accounts. This was a response to the announced algorithm change announced by Instagram that threatens small businesses. This change is similar to one that Facebook initiated some time ago.

With this algorithm change, users’ Instagram feeds will no longer be chronological – they will be based upon the user’s history of engagement, including likes and comments. Because of this, only a users’ most popular posts an account will appear first.

Small businesses responded by contacting all followers with the request to turn on notifications. No one knows when this change will actually occur, but businesses want to get out ahead of it. If your business is present on Instagram, here are some steps to take to get the most of this newest algorithm change:

Take That Breath

Asking followers to complete a task so that you can remain prominent in their feeds is not the right approach. It is your job to remain popular with them, not vice versa. Try these three strategies instead.

Beef Up Your Email List

We all get lazy about this, because we are busy reading our analytics reports about how active our Instagram account is and engaging with the comments of followers. But your email list is the one thing you can control, and you can use it to keep subscribers engaged.

Spend time now getting those subscribers through your Instagram account, and it won’t matter whether you are prominent in their feeds. You will have direct contact. Get a good automated email tool like Fyte Social, and you can control your communication.

Boost Engagement Now Before the New Algorithm Launches

Of course the best way to increase engagement is to deliver great content. One of the things the new algorithm will do is to separate the low-quality content that is typical of those that have purchased followers from the businesses that continually produce fresh, engaging content.

You have great content. Now do those things that will spread it. Know when to post; ask followers to tag, double tap, like, and share. There are lots of tools that will help you automate your postings for the best times, such as Bettr, which will provide you with both analytics and automatic posting. You can also offer contests, special offers, etc. to increase engagement.

Use Hashtags Like Never Before

The value of hashtags will not change. Identify 10-15 hashtags that you can use regularly in your copy to keep users plugged into your brand, while also monitoring the hashtag trends of your competitors and related niches – if any are really popular, it’s smart to incorporate them in your list. Hashtags are a critical part of spreading your brand, because Instagram users find new content through them.

Now is not the time to panic. Instead, use this time to think about the benefits of this new algorithm for those who follow the “rules.”

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Abdullahi Muhammed is a writer, difference maker and entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Oxygenmat and he writes for Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Huffington Post and a few other sites.

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