Yup, Instagram’s Algorithms Might Just Destroy Your Brand’s Presence

But don’t freak out just yet.

Last week, Instagram announced that they would be introducing an algorithm to their feed to help surface content that you would want to see most. Instead of seeing posts in chronological order, posts will be based on the likelihood that you will engage with them.

It’s nothing new. We’ve all experienced the ever tweaking algorithms with Facebook’s newsfeed. It also should not come as a surprise. At some point, a network becomes so saturated with content that the attention shifts away and engagement falls. Follower counts continually increase along with the volume of content from each of those accounts until it just becomes too much to stay tuned in. The answer? Figure out how to surface content users like the most to keep them tuned in. It’s really the most logical way forward. Twitter has pushed against implementing a full out algorithm to surface content, and they’re struggling.

So what about your business? Should you freak out? Yeah, probably. Because Instagram’s algorithms might just destroy your brand’s presence. But it’ll be a healthy destruction. Because you’ll have no choice but get up, dust off, and start implementing practices that you should have been following all along. Look, if Instagram is seeking to surface engaging content that users want to see the most, then all you have to do is create engaging content that your followers want to see the most! Easy peasy. Right?

Let’s dissect Instagram’s own statement to help establish some key strategies:

The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.
  1. “Your feed” — Whose feed? Your followers’ feeds. Who are your followers? Where are they located? What do they like? What is their age range? Gender? Etc. etc. etc.? Knowing who you are creating content for is the first step in understanding how to bring value and foster engagement with it.
  2. “The likelihood you’ll be interested in the content” — Those followers that you know all about now? What type of content do they like? What do they comment the most on? What posts have worked the best in the past? What are other brands in your field doing that is generating high engagement?
  3. “Your relationship with the person posting” — To be honest, I don’t know exactly how Instagram intends to measure this. It could be that it’s based on the number of shared followers. My guess is that it is based on a consistency of engagement with a particular account. Instagram mentions that “When your best friend posts a photo of her new puppy, you won’t miss it.” So, are you best friends with your followers? Great friends? Good? Decent? Eh? What type of content can you create to form that sort of relationship? How do you create content that your followers will comment on? Are you replying back to them when they do? How do you turn more posts into conversations?

So if you’re a bit rattled by this shift, there’s probably good reason. It’s time to step up your game! You now will have no choice but to be smart and really begin to analyze your strategies and the level of quality and value you are bringing with your content. To excel, you‘ll most likely need to be much more data driven.

So what tools can help with all of this? Here’s a list of some of the more common analytics and follower stats apps for Instagram:

Hopefully this helps. The change is coming. Go ahead and freak out for a little bit if you need to, but then have a beer, settle down, go get your data and start crushing it.