The arrival of a brand new year has brought a whole load of algorithm changes for Instagram users to digest and process. If you use an Instagram account to promote a business or sell products or services, it’s highly likely that these alterations will affect you to some degree, and the sooner you master the art of adhering to the Instagram algorithm, the better. Here are the main changes introduced in January 2018.
Getting Your Posts Seen
Adjustments to the algorithm will make it more difficult for you to get your posts seen. The new way of working decreases exposure, so your posts will not be visible to as many users. In most cases, the post will only be available to 10% of followers. The idea behind this is to gauge the level of interest in the post before it becomes more visible. If the post is a success and it garners a lot of attention and facilitates engagement, it may then be opened up to the remaining 90% of the audience. This is why you may suddenly see your likes and comments skyrocket and why one post may perform much better than another.
Rumor has it that if you use your Instagram account for business purposes, switching to a dedicated business account is the best way to increase exposure. Doing this will also give you access to analytic data, which will enable you to see how you’re getting on with the new algorithm.
Engaging With Your Audience
The new Instagram algorithm is heavily focused on increasing engagement and encouraging natural interaction. Instagram is actively urging account holders to be more interactive, and a lack of engagement is likely to result in punishment. If you don’t respond to comments on an image, a post or a story within 1 hour, the visibility of your post will decrease.
If you’re a member of a pod, now is the time to check out and go it alone. Pods are not part of Instagram’s plans, and generic comments left by members of a pod don’t fit with the new code. Instagram is also trying to eliminate feedback from bots in a bid to make the platform more genuine and credible. Try and avoid comments that contain less than 4 words. If you’re used to dropping a ‘love it’ or ‘nice work’, now is the time to put in a little more effort and creativity.
Instagram has grand plans for the stories feature, and using stories is likely to raise your profile, so take advantage of this feature whenever possible.
Getting Your Captions Right
The new Instagram algorithm encourages genuine engagement, and there’s been a clampdown on the quality and use of captions, comments and hashtags. If you overuse hashtags, you run the risk of being accused of spamming, so stick to fewer, more specific hashtags. Vary the hashtags you use and try and be original and unique. When you’re putting an image caption together, include the hashtag. Hashtags will only be included in search results when they are part of a caption.
If you’re not 100% happy with a post, avoid pulling it down and then reposting almost immediately or editing it within the first 24 hours. Both of these actions will reduce your post’s visibility significantly.
Embracing New Features
Instagram has introduced random posts that match your interests and the people you follow to your regular feed. The kinds of posts that used to appear in your explore and news feeds may now pop up on your personal feed, so don’t be alarmed if you see posts from accounts or individuals you’ve never seen before. Another new feature is the option to follow hashtags. Now, instead of just following people or companies, you can also search for specific hashtags and follow them.
It’s a brand new year, and Instagram is ringing the changes. If you use Instagram to promote and sell products or services and you’re keen to make the most of this dynamic platform, hopefully, this guide has provided an insight into how to adjust to the new algorithm. Take care when you’re putting captions together, be interactive and respond to comments and questions as quickly as you can. Make use of Instagram stories, be original with your hashtags and avoid joining pods or replacing or editing posts within 24 hours. The new algorithm is focused on engagement, so prioritize creating captivating content that your audience will love. The reaction your posts receive will have a direct impact on how many people are able to view them.