Instagram is making some big changes, and we’re all freaking out about it.
Few days a go, Instagram announced that it’s about to make a change- probably the biggest one since the app launched back in 2010. Turns out, Instagram won’t be too “instant” for much longer. You will no longer be able to judge what’s important to you, an algorithm will do that for you by first displaying posts from accounts it *thinks* you like most, rather than displaying them in a chronological order, like it does now. This means that a lot of content will get buried and remain undiscovered.
For some of us, Instagram is just an app that lets us connect with our friends, see what our bestie had for lunch, maybe enter a giveaway, keep up with new product releases, offers and sales; but there are also those of us who are small business owners, artists, designers, creators who use Instagram as a platform to not only showcase a talent, but to also grow an audience, make sales and, essentially, make a living. This is why I’m a little concerned about this change and it’s also why I’m sharing a few tips that will help keep your audience engaged.
POST QUALITY CONTENT
This means no dark, sloppy images, lots of good lighting and no over-filtering. Take your shots in places with lots of natural lighting, and remember to keep your hand steady to avoid blurry images. If you want to know how to take better Instagram pictures, you can find some of my tips here and here.
POST NEW CONTENT ON REGULAR BASIS
This is something that will help you keep your audience engaged. Give them something new and fresh to look at, to talk about. With these changes coming to Instagram, it seems like small blogs/businesses will have to work extra hard at *earning* that engagement from their followers/friends, if they want to be seen. At the same time, keep in mind that you shouldn’t overpost, either.
This whole algorithm change is another reason why you should be using hashtags when promoting your content- it’ll help your account get discovered. Remember that you can use up 30 hashtags per post/comment. I actually keep some of my favorite hashtags stored as a note in my phone, so that when I post a picture, I can just easily copy and paste it. Saves a lot of time, too! You can also create you own hashtag and encourage others to use it- this is a great way of connecting with your audience.
DO A LITTLE RESEARCH
Pay attention to which of your posts get more interaction (likes, comments, questions, etc.) figure out what your audience likes the most and try to give them more of…. what they like! :)
As an audience, we’ll have to make sure to *like* and engage with our favorite brands, artists, bloggers if we want to stay connected. So, if you’re a “lurker” make sure to start *liking* all the posts from all of your favorite accounts and turn on posts notifications- this is a feature I didn’t even know about until G from Nouveau Cheap mentioned it on her IG. And, as bloggers, we need to make sure to engage with our audience. Start a conversation, answer their questions and don’t be afraid to ask them questions- like how their day is going or ask for their opinion about something. Respond to all comments- to the best of your ability, I know that sometimes it’s hard to notice every single comment. Your audience will always appreciate you taking time to connect with them.
CONNECT WITH OTHERS IN YOUR NICHE
One of the reasons why I love Instagram so much, is that I get to connect with so many beautiful and genuine people who share my interests (like photography, makeup or blogging). The Instagram community is pretty awesome and if you support others, chances are they’ll do the same for you.
… a few final thoughts
The truth is, we won’t really know how, and if at all (although I’m suspecting that it will) this change will affect bloggers, small businesses, artists and other creatives, until this change actually happens.
As a blogger, I’m a little concerned. Sure, sometimes I get busy during the day and I feel like I have to scroll *forever* to make sure that I didn’t miss any posts from my favorite bloggers/people (not that bloggers aren’t people, but you get my point), but I don’t want an algorithm to decide what I want to see first. I don’t need an algorithm to decide which accounts are more important to me or what I like, because this changes daily. I go through phases when one day I’m obsessed with lip art, next day it’s wildlife photography. I have so many interests, so many things that I love and there’s a reason why I follow over 400 people/brands/artists/friends on Instagram, and it’s because I want to connect with them. All of them. If I didn’t want to see their “instagrams” I wouldn’t follow them- it’s as simple as that.
Instagram says that in order to “improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.” …….. let that simmer for a bit..
…….”your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most”
……”the moments we believe you will care about the most”
Also, this kinda takes the “Insta” away from the “gram” don’t ya think? Taking the chronological order out of the equation just doesn’t make sense to me. One thing’s for sure- this change won’t happen overnight and Instagram assures that they’ll take it slow and that “It’s not like people will wake up tomorrow and have a different Instagram.” My only hope would be that this change will be optional, but I highly doubt that.
What are your thoughts about these changes that Instagram is planning to make?