There's A Way Around Instagram's New Algorithm
March 22, 2016
Perhaps you have read Instagram's latest blog by now. They have joined the ranks of Facebook and Twitter in "content control."
Here's how Instagram puts it:
"You may be surprised to learn that people miss on average 70 percent of [content in their feeds]. As Instagram has grown, it's become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share. This means you often don't see the posts you might care about the most.
To improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about."
Translation: an algorithm will begin to decide your feed.
Algorithm is basically the rules set in place that dictate which content we see in our News Feeds - or for brands - what posts your fans see in their News Feeds.
What triggers the algorithm to keep us in the News Feed is when people touch our content, meaning 'like,' comment, click or share.
And algorithms are important. Here's why:
One of the biggest mistakes brands make when using social is rushing in as if it's a free mass distribution platform, pushing out agendas ("let's blast this on social media") then expecting immediate returns.
But in order to create any impact socially - we need to understand why people enjoy their preferred platforms and come at content from their point of view.
With Instagram, Facebook commissioned Crowd DNA to do their own study on the role the photo/video sharing app plays in the everyday lives of their core users, persons 18-34.
First - Instagram is highly visual.
They describe it as a space where it "captures the immediacy of the moment," and where they document their lives. (Similar to Snapchat.)
They describe Instagram in these six words:
And beyond why people love Instagram - it's equally important to consider where they are and what they're doing while scrolling.
The study also found 7 in 10 Instagram users said they are home when they are spending time with the app. (Which means: probably not getting off the couch for that bar appearance you're promoting.)
Other main areas where they open the app from:
47% while watching TV
39% just before they fall asleep
And a third, 33%, access the app when they wake up.
They are set somewhere and not moving around.
So when radio stations show up with photos of their prize wheels and remote setups, you can understand why the audience is left unimpressed and underwhelmed by us.
But there are ways to still reach this audience and get certain messages out.
Consider the following fundamentals:
Embody A Certain Honesty
You can certainly use Instagram to spread the word of where you are. But remember, they are likely not to join in. So help them live vicariously through you:
Fans loved this group selfie from 98ROCK/Baltimore. And they still managed to get the word out of where they were.
Show them what it feels like to be there.
Emulate Fan Use
The best way to stand out on any platform is by blending in.
KDWB/Minneapolis has tapped into a fun way to recycle the morning show on Instagram.
You often see meme type content (like above) on Instagram. So KDWB creates familiar looking content but it's about them in a not so direct way. This is a smart way to weave the brand in the News Feed.
Be generous; make people feel good.
There's an emotional currency to "likes" - especially when notable type people or brands acknowledge their photos.
People are flattered when a radio station or talent "likes" or comments on their posts.
Now that we have a little more insight into Instagram, think about your latest posts.
Do they follow suit and fit in to the 'why' people enjoy the app?
Do they respect the moments that people are in when they're scrolling?
The best thing about social is that at any time we can do a reset and refine our approach. There's a way around algorithms - just respect and be real.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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