Instagram has always been my favorite social media platform. Between the beautiful visuals, user experience and chronological newsfeed, I enjoy Instagram more than I do any other social platform. But, the only constant in the social media world is change, and the last few months saw an extensive array of Instagram changes that flipped everything we knew and loved about this social outlet on its head.
Now that the summer is coming to an end and I’ve had a chance to play with some of the new features, I have a better grasp on how they work and how they can be used effectively, and am actually pretty excited about what these changes mean for brands.
Here are the top 3 changes you should be familiar with to keep your brand’s Instagram strategy up-to-date:
1. The Updated Algorithm
Let’s get the big one out of the way first. Instagram’s algorithm change has marked one of the most significant changes we’ve seen to the platform since its launch. From day one, Instagram has ordered content chronologically – most recent content on top of the feed, and older content below. But, after finding that the average user missed about 70% of their feed due to chronological ordering, Instagram overhauled the feed to order content by a number of other factors – timeliness of the post, likelihood of user to interact with the post, and relationship of the user with the poster, to name a few.
Truthfully, we should have seen this change coming. Since Facebook purchased Instagram and began to roll out accessible advertising options for all brands, we should have realized it was only a matter of time before the algorithm began to match Facebook’s, as well. Even so, Instagram users and brands alike were surprised and unhappy with this major change, and it has taken some time for the public to adjust.
Insider Marketing Tip: Keep in mind that your followers may no longer see your content, unless they make it entirely through their feed or interact with you regularly. Make sure every post you share is extremely high-quality, and consider incorporating an Instagram advertising budget to your strategy (even if it’s small!) so that you can continue to appear regularly in users’ newsfeeds.
2. Instagram Stories
Another huge change we saw with Instagram this summer was its attempt to pull in Snapchat-like features with the launch of Instagram Stories. Stories were created to let users share all of the moments of their days, not just the beautifully-crafted “highlights” they share to their profiles. They function much like Snapchat stories – quick photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours – but collect at the top of the newsfeed and show to your already-established Instagram followers.
While personal users, for the most part, seem to be sticking to Snapchat to share their “stories,” Instagram Stories offer a huge opportunity for brands. Without having to build an entirely new audience like on Snapchat, Instagram has incorporated another opportunity for brands to reach their audience more frequently with fun and quality content.
Insider Marketing Tip: Give Instagram Stories a try as soon as you can! If you’re having an event, would like to go behind the scenes, have products to show off, or simply want to share what is going on at your business during the day, this is the perfect opportunity to do so and reach your pre-built Instagram following. And, unlike Snapchat, Instagram Stories will tell you how many people have viewed your content, so you can estimate impressions garnered from your efforts.
3. Comment Filtering
The most recent major change we’ve seen roll out on Instagram is its new comment filtering feature. This feature allows Instagram users to automatically filter out abusive or offensive words from comments on their photos. Following Instagram’s discovery of the issues they tend to have with “trolls” – social media users who post upsetting, rude, argumentative and sometimes offensive comments online – they’ve developed this filter as the solution.
While this new feature was announced earlier this summer and began to roll out for some select celebrities (who are usually at highest risk for trolls), Instagram announced this week that it will be available to everyone. Social media managers, rejoice! No longer will you have to obsessively track your Instagram comments checking for and deleting hateful comments – you can now automate the app to take that over.
Insider Marketing Tip: These filters are now available to all users, so set them up as soon as you can. To access this feature, visit your “settings” by clicking the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner. Be thoughtful of which words you’d like to eliminate from your commenters’ options, or consider removing comments altogether (if you have a major trolling problem).
How have you been using Instagram’s new features to your brand’s advantage? Share in the comments below, or tweet your thoughts to me @allegradem.
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