How Brands Can Thrive in Instagram’s Algorithm Era

If you’ve been on social media this week, you’ve seen pleas from D-list celebrities to turn on notifications for their content on Instagram. It’s no surprise, as many of them use Instagram to earn a paycheck by promoting products to their millions of followers, and their influencer marketing income is threatened as Instagram begins the process of implementing an algorithm on the once chronological social platform.

If your organization uses Instagram, it’s likely someone on your team has asked if you should post a cute graphic asking users to turn on notifications for your content, lest it get buried in users’ feeds once the algorithm is in place.

What’s a brand to do? Here are a few steps:

Do not ask users to turn on notifications for your content: If users want to get a push notification when your organization shares new content, you’re doing Instagram incredibly well. But your followers shouldn’t be cajoled into it because you’re afraid you’ll drop off of their radar.

We all saw the algorithm coming: As digital marketer Jon Loomer pointed out on his blog last week, follower growth and organic reach has been dropping precipitously on Instagram for about a year. Users are tuning out because they’re not seeing quality content on their feed. Of course Instagram’s owner, Facebook, wants to feature the best content to keep users on the platform and engaging.

Remember social media is not about your organization: Social media is about your audience. Brands can often lose sight of this when they dedicate significant resources to a social media strategy and want to prove ROI quickly, but social media isn’t as simple as putting up a billboard and walking away. You need to create content that drives a conversation to be successful over the long term.

Create great content: Want your organization’s content to rise to the top of your followers’ Instagram feed? You need great content. That’s the best advice. Look back at your feed and see what users have responded well to. Was it an informative video? Motivational quote? Your employees at work? Invest more resources in creating the content that your audience double-taps or comments on, and you’ll rank high in the algorithm.

Support with ads: At Solomon McCown, we urge our clients to create great content—then support that content with social media advertising. Instagram ads are available to all users now, allowing organizations to reach new audiences with their best content. As you launch social campaigns or find a particular post is doing especially well, consider putting a little ad spend behind it to maximize your results.

The changes to Instagram should not threaten brands that have a sound social media strategy and an engaged audience on the platform. What is your brand doing to prepare for the algorithm? Let us know on Twitter at @solomonmccown, or tag us in a video on Instagram at @solomonmccownpr.

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