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A couple of weeks there was a bit of an uproar among Instagram users, when the Facebook owned social network announced a change in their current algorithm. As from yesterday Instagram are showing images in your feed depending on your interests and relationships to the accounts posting in your feed. Gone* is the chronological feed we have come to love from Instagram and in its place is this curated feed. (*this is being rolled out so you might still have a chronological feed).
Users responded to the announcement that this was on the way by posting images announcing their displeasure; some people (myself included!) even signed a petition. Why were people that upset? Personally, I don’t like the thought of missing something; of someone else deciding (as they do on Facebook) what I should see.
I have since thought a lot about these changes and have started to believe that it might not be that bad after all. One thing is certain, we can’t change it so we need to learn to roll with it. This early on no-one can predict exactly how it will impact them, in the meantime I think we need to figure out how we can make it work for us.
Kevin Systrom, Instagram co-founder stated in a recent interview with the New York Times that “on average, people miss about 70 percent of the posts in their Instagram feed.” He explained that the new algorithm “is about making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible.”
Why the change? It is suspected that the change is to increase engagement. If you see more of your favourite accounts, you are more likely to interact and engage with those posts. There is the possibility that the algorithm feed will actually increase engagement for the majority of Instagram users.
- You will see what matters most to you. It will cut out the noise from all the images from the people you follow and shows you the best images (by best they mean the ones you have more chance of liking based on past behaviour). Would you rather see the most current images from everyone or the ones you are most likely to love?
- Imagine following lots of people, how would you ever see images from your favourite ten users? It would be very hard. You might even start unfollowing people in order to see the images you like best. So engagement/followers numbers would decrease.
“All the posts will still be there, just in a different order.” Instagram
This reordering has happened to 150 photos in your newsfeed. We have only ever been able to see the most current 150 images in our feed, so depending on how many people we follow and how often they post we miss some of our feed every day.
What can you do to make sure you are still seen?
Turn on post notifications
Ask your followers to turn on post notifications, so they always know when you post an image.
Give and you shall (hopefully) receive
Until my feed got a little larger I used to regularly go down and heart all images in my feed. I would always show the people I follow Instagram love. I still try to do the same, but do miss people. Give as many likes and comments as you can, for no other reason than it is a nice thing to do. People will return the favour, but that should be a secondary bonus.
- If you have time when you post an image see who likes/comments and return the favour to an image of theirs.
- Respond to comments. IG is a lovely community so engage with your followers.
- Ask a question or for peoples opinion within your comment.
- If you have a hashtag, like all the images, commenting where you can.
- Repost images or feature other users on your feed, always tagging and directing people to the other persons feed.
Run a giveaway
Tell people you are going to host a giveaway and suggest they turn notifications on so they don’t miss it when you post the details.
Host a daily challenge
Daily challenges are a useful way to increase engagement. You can set your following a challenge to improve any aspect of their life. Add value by giving a tip and then set the challenge. For example, if you post about blogging tips, your tips could be about how to brainstorm blog topic ideas, then you could challenge them to think of 5 new ideas. Again asking them to turn on notifications and giving them a reason to do so.
Interaction is the best way to ensure you see what you want to see the most and also to ensure you’re seen in other people’s feeds too. Turning on notifications will also help people to remember you. Although I think people might turn the notifications on for accounts that maybe they won’t remember off the top of their heads; but that they want to be reminded about. That is how I use notifications anyway. I know off by heart the IG handles of my favourite accounts; if all else fails and I miss them in my feed, I can search for them to make sure I have given their pictures likes and comments. I might have notifications set up for these people, but what I find they are most useful for are new people I follow and I love their feed, but they aren’t yet ingrained in my consciousness. I find a few reminders popping up, helps me to remember them. Then, hopefully they will move into my favourites list and be remembered without the prompts.
Have you noticed the difference in your feed yet? I hope you get to grips with the algorithm and make it work for you.
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