You might have noticed that your posts aren’t getting as much love as they used to. You’re not alone. Instagram’s new algorithm change in 2018 has drastically changed post visibility to the point where businesses and entrepreneurs who heavily rely on the platform for sales are suffering.
Seriously, you’ve been scheduling days to meticulously design your Instagram graphics/posts, writing all the captions and scheduling them out. OR you just took a bomb selfie and want to post it right away. Your followers will see it in their feed and give you a bunch of Likes, right? According to Instagram’s new algorithm, not necessarily.
Instead of showing posts in chronological order, Instagram said they made changes based on users’ previous behaviors or reactions to posts as a way to “improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.” Yep, because they are in your brain after all.
Instagram also explained in their blog that the order of photos and videos in our feeds will be based on the likelihood we’ll be interested in the content, our relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.
It’s All About Engagement
Engagement is what Instagram wants. So all those silly comments under your picture with the raised hands, three hearts, or that ridiculous “Nice pic. You should check out my page,” is all methods of engaging. But here’s where it gets good: Instagram will also be tracking how quickly you respond to those comments or your post visibility could change.
Dang, that’s rough. How will can we adhere to these new rules and still win?
Instagram Stories: Your New BFF
Instagram Stories (IG Stories, because I’m not going to keep writing it out) along with WhatsApp have 300 million users each. Yep, you read it right– 300 MILLION. So if you’re trying to be seen, make use of that bad boy. Here are some ways to use IG Stories to draw people to your post:
- Take a screenshot of your profile feed and cover up your latest post with a sticker and tell people to check your latest post.
- Post the same image as the post, but only a portion of it. Tell your audience to go to your post to see the whole thing. This would work well if the photo is compelling or entertaining.
- Use IG Stories to entertain or show your real life…because people appreciate that your a human being. Then, they will naturally click to your profile to view your posts.
I also want to add that IG Stories not have the same color demands as your profile feed. Just be real and/or entertaining to get your audience interacting. And the more a user interacts with your Story, the more visibility your posts will be in their feed.
Post Quality Content
Yea….your posts are going to have to take a little more effort these days. It not only has to be eye-catching and relevant to your profile, BUT it also has to look good as a whole in your entire feed. “Why,” you ask. Well, Instagram is also measuring how quickly your audience engages (Likes or comments) on your post as well as how long they spend on it. So a semi-decent photo that gets a Like here and there throughout the week won’t cut it if you want Instagram to increase your visibility. We’ve got to be more intentional about what we post now people!
And with that being said, I’m suggesting that you keep a color scheme in place while using the same 2 or 3 filters to have a profile feed that’s pleasing to the eye. It shouldn’t be monotonous, but it should users should sense a theme throughout. Here’s a few examples of good profiles.
She empowers Home Stagers to leverage social media. She sure knows how to do it!
Making life a party. Doesn’t their feed give you happy vibes?
Respond to Comments in a Timely Manner
Now, I’ve read on some sources that Instagram not only wants to see users engage quickly to posts but they also want YOU to respond to the comments you receive asap. Um….yea….Instagram we have news for you: We. Have. LIVES.
So here’s my suggestion: Schedule 30 minutes to an hour of your day maybe twice per day to respond to comments. Do NOT and I repeat, DO NOT stop your daily activities and respond all day long. We have jobs and families relying on us. Ain’t nobody got time for Instagram’s games. Handle the requirement in a way that keeps you sane.
Bonus suggestion: If you have the funds, you can use the Pro Version of social media management apps out there like Buffer, Social Bee, Later, Preview App, and Hootsuite. The good thing with these apps is that you can also organize your posts so you see exactly what it looks like in your feed before you post as well as view all your comments in one place.
Use Those Hashtags Wisely
Making up hashtags is fun, isn’t it? Well you don’t have to stop necessarily, but if you are a business trying to target a specific audience, you might want to be more mindful of how you are using those hashtags. You want to make sure you hashtag the category of users who will benefit from seeing your post. For example, if you sell baby clothes, your hashtags would not only be #babywear or #babyclothes, but #newmom #momlife #mommy. If you sell a swaddler that keeps the baby asleep longer, you will want to hashtag #tiredmom or #tiredmommy.
You will want to avoid overly used hashtags that are tied to millions of posts because then your post will get lost in the search feed. Use ones that are used by smaller crowds so that you’ll stand out, and if you want to use many one of the popular ones you can. Mix it up.
Steer Clear of Banned Hashtags
Yes, you’d probably guess by now that there are just some hashtags that Instagram is totally over. “Babe,” “Curvy,” and even “Beyonce” are currently banned from being used. Using them won’t get you any additional visibility. In fact, you can be “shadow banned,” which is a term meaning that your posts are blocked from appearing in certain places on a platform, and you won’t even know it.
Here’s how to find out if a hashtag is banned:
- Go to the Search or Magnifying glass
- At the top under the search bar, you will see “Top, People, Tags, Places…” Click TAGS.
- Type the hashtag you intend you use. If it’s a common one that isn’t showing up, it’s banned. Obviously, this doesn’t apply if you are making up your own hashtag. Just ones that you’d think would be there.
Do the Best You Can
Now that you have this information, simply do the best you can. Even though I manage social media accounts, I am not about letting it give you massive anxiety. Post your best images, work your hustle, redirect your audience to your website, build your lists, and make some sales.
Let’s Talk: What’s going to be the biggest obstacle for you to overcome with these new Instagram requirements?