Another day, another algorithm edit – this time for Instagram. The Facebook-owned platform announced a major change in the way user experience their feed. Brands now need to find creative solutions to avoid being invisible to their followers without spending promotional budget.
Changing their algorithm has become quite a hobby for Facebook. The good news first: A change per se is not a threat to business accounts. In fact, it saves private users from being molested by brand messages that are thought to be important – but maybe aren’t. We’ll give you an example: You are CMO of a chemical company and you are launching your new logo. Big news for you, no? So you want to spread the word and post it on Facebook or Instagram. Well done, but – honestly – who cares? Facebook (and, from now on, Instagram too) will filter out the spam you unintentionally produce. This way, only people who visit your profile every day and comment on each of your posts will see your new-logo-but-no-news post. But the rest of the social universe will be spared. In a way, we should even be grateful for them to do the hard work.
My posts are invisible – what now?
You might wonder why the above is actually good news for Instragram. We put some thought into this and – despite voices from the industry (e.g. TechCrunch) claiming your presence is dead – we strongly believe it won’t be the sudden death of your carefully curated company account.
First of all, there will always be brands we follow for a reason (because we actually like them or their products) – so your followers won’t disappear to begin with.
Also, ask yourself where the likes of your Instagram posts come from. Many smaller accounts often have more likes of a single post than followers. How can we explain that? Right: by providing great content and by the smart use of hashtags.
What the #hashtag?
Hashtags are the most useful tactic to promote your content and visual on Instagram without budget. By adding the information your images convey through a hashtag, your chances to be seen by people looking for inspiration on certain topics will multiply.
Here’s a rather simplified explanation: You post a great Instagram image, add little or no copy and no hashtags at all. Until now your followers would see your posts no matter if they like it or not. Due to Instagram’s algorithm change, your followers will only see your post if it is relevant enough for them (which is up to Instagram’s new algorithm to decide). By adding hashtags, you instantly expand your potential reach (i.e. before and after the algorithm change). Not only will your followers see your post (if it is relevant enough) – people who browse hashtags will also come across your content, and it won’t be filtered by an algorithm (because it is indexed by the hashtag).
In bold words: If you post an image of the Eiffel Tower without (short) caption and relevant hashtags, the maximum of people who will see it as of now is a reduced share of your followers. If you add a description and hashtags such as #EiffelTower (please make the effort and try browsing this hashtag on Instagram), people on Instagram (and not only your followers) will find it and help you spread the word.
Our 2 vents: do not fear the algorithm change – fear irrelevant content!