Wednesday, 16 March 2016
Instagram are changing the order that you see posts. Up until today your home feed was strictly chronological, with some search options giving you the choice of Top Posts or Recent Posts.
Now Instagram have announced that they are going the route that Facebook and Twitter have gone recently. Instead of seeing images that have just been posted at the top of your feed you will see the posts that Instagram's algorithm thinks you want to see first.
This hasn't been rolled out in full yet so now is the time to start making adjustments to your posts to take maximum advantage of these changes. There's a risk for the little guy - with a lack of likes and interaction, the average user's images are going to fall to the bottom of the pile.
Here are four tips you can start implementing NOW to prepare for the changes.
1. Use Popular Tags
It sounds like a really basic suggestion, but you'd be surprised the amount of people that I work with who aren't getting any 'likes' and can't understand why - yet when I look at their account the only hashtag they have used is #omgiwasreallycoldinthispic - nobody is searching for that and nobody ever will.
Do your research and create a list of ten hashtags, perfectly formatted, in a notepad file on your phone, ready to copy and paste into every image you share. I like this website for it's up to date information on popular hashtags, but a quick Google search should give you all you need.
Supplement your copy and paste hashtags with relevant event or product tags aswell. Most events have their own hashtags and you'll find these are great for pulling in the hearts - especially ongoing events like festivals and competitions. Keep an eye out for opportunities to use popular hashtags.
2. Start A Mutual Liking Club
Enlist everyone you know in real life on Instagram to like everything you put up. I 'like' the photos of every single one of my clients whenever I see them, of the bands I work with and my real life friends. When I'm logged into a client account, I go back and like everything again with that too. This interaction between your personal network is essential to gaining Instagram followers and increasing the popularity of your posts. If you know you are getting five hearts from your real-life friends whenever you put an image up, you are automatically ahead of the person who hasn't got that behind them.
Be an excessive liker. You'll find that people who are most interactive will also be gaining lots of followers and likes themselves. People notice you when you are active on a social network - how can they notice you otherwise? Take it one step further by setting yourself a challenge to comment on three, or five, or ten pictures a day. Comments draw people to your profile to see what you are all about.
3. Post Decent Pictures
Clear, interesting, regularly updated content is the key to success across all the social networks you can think of. Keep an eye out for interesting photos to take - take as many as you can. Buy a bigger SD card for your phone so that you never have to worry about running out of memory. Take photos everywhere you go and especially when they are relevant to your personal brand, product or image. Don't miss an opportunity! Collect images wherever you go and then look over them later. A collection of content ready to rock at your fingertips will see you through dull days and keep your account fresh and interesting. People lose interest very quickly - keep them interested by sharing a flow of content that's relevant to your style.
The start of managing your online community is all about learning what your audience want. If you get 20 hearts for a picture of your neighbour's dog and 2 for a photo of your breakfast, it's obvious what your audience wants. You can then look for opportunities to show the dog again...or eat more interesting breakfasts.
4. Be Real
I often find when talking to someone about Instagram that I'm going into specific detail about what to post and when. I always like to reiterate that there's no point in trying to be anyone other than who you are. It's much more relatable to the vast majority of Instagram's audience (150 million+) if you show who you really are. It's easier, and it means content will naturally be available to you. You can't have an instagram feed of beautiful views if you never climb any buildings. I am a strong believer that the most interesting content on Instagram offers achievable aspirations, so make your life look as interesting as you can, but make sure it's actually your life. It's way too easy to see through overly posed shots, forced revelry and cleverly angled, over-filtered selfies.
I hope some of these tips have been useful to you! It will be an interesting few weeks as the changes roll out to all users. I will be keeping a close eye on which posts the algorithm picks as most interesting to me - social media is a constant learning curve, everything can change from one day to the next, it's pretty fun to try and keep up :)