Instagram is a powerful marketing platform. Around 75% of users take some sort of action after viewing an Instagram post, whether it’s visiting a website, following the brand on the platform, or purchasing something directly.
Despite this potential to connect with customers, it’s getting harder for companies to use Instagram as a cost-effective marketing tool. Whether you’re going it alone or considering using a Social Media Agency to help you navigate these changes, The Good Marketer is certain that it’s important to stay on top of the latest updates.
The Instagram algorithm (much like the Facebook algorithm) is a blend of factors that determine the order of the content that the user sees on their feed. The platform says that its updates — including recent changes to the algorithm and changes to features like Stories and Reels — are about improving user experience.
CEO of Instagram Adam Moressi said in a tell-all blog post that the platform wants “to make the most of your time, and we believe that using technology to personalize your experience is the best way to do that.”
However, these changes are also making it more difficult for businesses to get noticed without paying for ads. To help you navigate these changes, let’s look at how they affect your business’s ability to reach your audience and what you can do about them.
Recent changes in the feed include the option to select a ‘following’ or a ‘favorites’ feed, while there are rumored changes to the dimensions of still image posts. Whilst users now have more options for how they view content in their feed, the vast majority of your audience is probably still viewing the default feed.
Perhaps the biggest recent change announced by Moressi was the turning tides of ranking towards original content. In a public statement, Moressi said “If you create something from scratch, you should get more credit than if you’re re-sharing something you found from someone else. We’re going to do more to try and value original content more, particularly compared to re-posted content.”
This change occurs in the context of a platform that had already started prioritizing more reactive video content in the form of reels. In competition with TikTok for user attention, Instagram has moved towards a less refined, perfected new feed with fewer repeated posts from multiple users.
As if that wasn’t enough to contend with, Instagram is also rumored to be experimenting with changing the dimensions of still image posts to fill the screen in a similar way to reels.
This would be a drastic change for content creators and business owners within the app. While you may still be able to post square images, Instagram is rumored to be adding a blurred border for images that do not fit their new dimensions.
Not only could this border effect ruin your aesthetic, but it is also likely that more portrait images will be prioritized in the news feed by the algorithm.
Growing Your Business Organically
The changes made to the Instagram algorithm over the last couple of years have made it harder for businesses to grow organically.
Consistently posting original content can seem like a big ask. However, it does mean that if you go to the trouble to create an original infographic, for instance, you should be rewarded by getting your post ranked higher than someone who is re-posting the same infographic.
Taking the time to create a variety of content that covers all angles of your business has never been more important. Consumers want to see the real business – from products in the making to reels explaining how to use it; Instagram should provide a 360 view of your business, not just the storefront.
Shifting Your Strategy
The Instagram algorithm update is making it more difficult for businesses to reach their followers. But with some careful marketing, your brand can still expand its audience and increase engagement with the platform’s newest features.
To do this, you’ll first have to focus on creating high-quality content. You can do this by using Reels and Stories to experiment with a variety of original content. Reels are an important factor in getting someone’s attention in their feed; they’re essentially another form of advertising that allows you to feature a series of products.
IGTV has also opened up new opportunities for brands looking at video content creation: if you have the resources available or know someone who does (such as an influencer), consider featuring their videos on your own channel or even collaborating together.
These changes may seem daunting but if you keep posting quality content and engaging with your audience, you should see success on the platform.
Remember, you’re not alone — Instagram wants to give content creators and small businesses the best opportunity to get their content seen.