Oh No, Instagram!

You’ve heard it recently, Instagram is going the same way Facebook has…they are introducing a new algorithm that will push posts that you, the user, will want to see!

How dare another social media platform make it more challenging for marketers to publish content! We all love to play the victim here, since we get upset when a platform that has the potential to allow us to do marketing for *free wants to make it’s users happy and make more money.

Nobody wants to see the re-purposed newspaper ad you created on Instagram. (if you’re actually doing this, and I know some people do, STOP IT!) You don’t even want to see it on your feed, why would anyone else?

So what’s the solution?

1-Get a good understanding of how Instagram works. 
Instagram is not a community bulletin board filled with blurry copies of flyers. It’s a place where people want to see behind the scenes of your workplace, they want the “inside scoop” on your products, what you do in the community and they want it too look pretty and cool (after all, that’s why it has filters!)

2-Know who’s on Instagram.
400 Million Users
(according to Social Media Today)
That’s a LOT of people! 
It’s likely though, that grandma isn’t on there. If she is though, that’s awesome! In fact, more than half of all 12–24 year olds have an account on Instagram. So before you post for some of those double taps…remember your audience. They want posts they can relate to, which may or may not include selfies, ‘grams of your lunch, and that wild turkey outside the office.

3-Publishing more frequently won’t push you to the top.
Facebook’s introduction of a similar algorithm a few years ago made a lot of companies do this. We always want to “trick” the system. But don’t be that guy and post 15 photos in a row. You will find yourself losing followers really quickly and your posts won’t go to the top the more you post. If you have a great post and people engage, you’ll see it rise to the top.

4-It’s not all about cat pictures.
You’d be surprised how many companies literally just post cat pictures! If they are a cat rescue, that’s fitting. When the cats have NOTHING to do with the business though, it doesn’t make any sense at any time, unless it’s #NationalCatDay. The same thing goes for babies, dogs or any animals. Cute, yes. Do customers identify with them? Yes. Do they make a purchase decision based on your cute picture of Fido? No.

5-Stocky Stock Photos.
Another no-no. Stock photos are a necessary evil, I get it. I even use them from time to time. At the very least, try not to have the stockiest stock photo out there. There are lots of great photos that look realistic and connects with your audience. I live in New England, so I’m not going to use photos with palm trees. I also try not to over use the New England-y “autumn leaves” photos.

Side note: PLEASE use photos with permission. Typing in an image search on Google does NOT give you the right to take these photos and use them.

Make things fun and take some of your own stock photos!

One of my recent favorites. Courtesy of @BankSmartCarrie.

6-Sponsor your content, but not all of it.
I have seen so many companies abuse this. If you have a piece or two of INCREDIBLE content, so good you want EVERYONE to see it, then pay for views. Again, no one wants to see your crummy post or ALL of your crummy posts (even the cat ones), they will be annoyed and un-follow. So, if you have an amazing photo, or a giveaway promotion that rocks, then don’t you think it’s worth it to set up a paid ad for it?

7-But…but…but…I have no content!
That’s too bad. Just kidding. There’s so much great content around you! No, you don’t have to play photographer every moment of everyday or share your selfies constantly (unless you want to). There’s help available to you! Use your best resources, your employees! Here’s a few ideas:

  • Try hosting an Instagram Takeover with employees
    Have them submit photos (make sure they are approved for your industry and in good taste) of their day to day lives at work. Have some good prizes for the most engaged follower and you’ll have plenty of good content! No, this doesn’t mean they will be taking selfies all day and not getting work done. Ask them to take photos over a period of time, maybe a few months. Have them share what their work space looks like, sneak peeks of projects they are working on, what their meetings look like, favorite lunch spots, etc.
  • Have a contest!
    An Instagram Takeover is a LOT of work. (I should know, I’m running one for Avidia Bank every week!) Another way to get employees to submit content is to have a contest. Who doesn’t love a good contest and if you have a great incentive, they will certainly participate! Have them submit a photo and either hold voting for it or pick your favorite one to post. What’s nice though, is that your employees submitted a bunch so you’ll have content!
  • Gather some community content
    Your business is likely involved in some form of community. Share some of that community on Instagram! Maybe it’s downtown businesses, business partnerships, community outreach efforts, etc. Don’t forget to also share your employees involvement in the community! These tend to be the most engaged posts for us.

On Instagram, brand audiences are growing at twice the rate of other platforms and that means, for marketers, it’s going to be an important place to be. If you’re not already there, you should consider it. If you are there, make sure you post relevant content and do it well. No matter what the algorithm is, or which marketing vehicle you’re using, good content is important!

*Free doesn’t always mean $0. Social media platforms are free because of advertising dollars.

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