I am currently at a social media conference in San Francisco (post about my trip coming soon) and I was sitting through this Instagram session because I am always down to learn new tips and tricks and the guy who was running the session was giving old advice. Like legitimately old advice that isn’t going to help anyone anymore! Instagram has gone and changed their algorithm and while I hear about it all the time from other bloggers and have personally felt the burn of the changes, I started to wonder if maybe business owners aren’t in the know yet. And that kind of worried me.
Here was this guy that was probably getting paid for this speaking session and the info he was giving us all honestly sucked. Yeah, it was relevant about a month and a half ago, but now it was just old news. I couldn’t understand how I was attending his session to learn more about the platform and I seemed to already know more than him. Now, I know this is coming off as cocky and as if I am better or more experienced than him and I don’t mean to say that at all.
I just want to bring awareness to the fact that these social media platforms that we as users or businesses pour money and time and all of our resources into… change. Sometimes those changes are small as in a little update or tiny facelift. But sometimes, those changes aren’t necessarily something we see when we log on, but we feel them because they are HUGE.
I have seen plenty of bloggers tell people to stop whining about the algorithm changes because we can’t help it, but clearly bloggers aren’t whining loud enough for others to know that changes have actually taken place!!!
So, here is what you (and the guy giving that presentation) actually need to know…
Instagram has an algorithm that determines what content you as a user see. Which would mean that the algorithm determines who sees your content as well. We all have probably had a 19 hour old picture from our best friend pop up on our timeline and thought, “how am I just now seeing this??” That would all be thanks to the algorithm! I can’t completely tell you exactly how it works, but it is working to make sure that you are seeing content that Instagram thinks you would like.
I’ll give you an example—
Let’s say your favorite brand is Cats-R-Us or something like that. You follow that brand on Instagram and you like a lot of their pics. Let’s say that they decide to do 3 or 4 giveaways in a row and you enter every single one. You comment on their pics, tag friends, like the pics, and constantly check their page to see if you won. By spending so much time and activity on their page, Instagram is gonna get smart and say, “Oh, they must really love Cats-R-Us content, we should make sure they never miss another post.” And now, you will always see Cats-R-Us on your timeline.
Other people you follow (like real people you actually know in real life) might fall off your feed then. If you aren’t engaging with their content, Instagram is going to show you less of them.
Make sense? Sure it does, it is super simple and it sounds almost helpful! That is, unless you are a blogger or a business or someone who is now getting like noooo likes. You might be wondering, what gives?????
It’s the algorithm my friend, and it could be killing your interactions. Now, when you post Instagram sees how much interaction your photo gets and uses that to decide if it should go ahead and hide the content and show your followers someone else, or keep allowing you to appear on your followers feed.
So, say you post at 2am and no one is on Instagram, but you figure your content will be seen by your followers first thing when they wake up. Well, you’d be wrong because since no one liked your post or interacted with it in any way within the first hour or so of it being posted, the algorithm is going to say “meh, this post must suck and no one cares so we are going to show them better content.” And your post will stop being shown on your followers’ feeds.
All of this means, that your posts need to get interaction like within the first hour or so they are posted.
To make sure that happens you can:
+Post at optimal times
+Use hashtags (more on that in a minute)
+Use captions that call for a response or interaction from your followers
Now, on to hashtags. With the new algorithm, comes some new hashtag changes. No longer do your hashtags in your comments section do you ANY GOOD. I will repeat that for everyone in the back… YOUR HASHTAGS DON’T DO ANY GOOD IN THE COMMENTS OF YOUR PICTURE. The new algorithm doesn’t allow them to be searchable. The speaker at the conference I was just in was telling everyone how they should add 30 hashtags to their comments under their pics to help optimize their photos, but I am here to tell you that sadly, that won’t do anything but make you look like a heavy handed hashtag fool.
While this information is relevant RIGHT NOW, it might not still be that way in a month or two. So, if you are trying to hit the tip top of your insta game, I suggest you always stay updated and don’t just trust one source of information, because as was the case today… It can be very wrong. If you are interested in this topic and how else the new algorithm could be affecting your feed/followers, please dig deeper into the issue and don’t just take my word as fact.
Always Classy & Confused,