In case you missed it, Instagram recently announced a change in its algorithm. It has followed Facebook and Pinterest along the path of non-linear timelines; now your Instagram feed will be ordered based on what Instagram thinks you will be more interested in. If you've previously liked lots of photos from a particular user, that user's new photos will be pushed to the top of your feed. Sounds great at first, right? You won't have to scroll through hundreds of photos to find ones you actually like. But what does it mean for the smaller Instagram accounts? And more importantly, what will it mean for your blog? 📷
Timing won't necessarily matter anymore
If Instagram is prioritising user's favourite accounts in the order of their feed, that means the most recent posts might not be at the top. So, you can pretty much forget all those articles and blog posts telling you 'the best time to post on Instagram' because posting at the time your followers are on the app might not mean that they actually see your new snap. I'm not sure how much we can help this until the algorithm launches but we can definitely overcome this by focusing more efforts on hashtags and quality snaps instead of fussing over when to post.
Hashtags are ridiculously important
If the timing doesn't matter, the hashtags definitely will. Hashtags, I believe, are the most important tool to getting your photo seen by the right audience. They put your photos in the hands of the people you want to see your photos - not some random Insta-users. Instagram hasn't yet mentioned if hashtag feeds will be prioritised further than they are already - the coveted 'top posts' section of any hashtag is probably enough for now. Your audience may be following you, but they might not necessarily see your photos on their daily scroll anymore. This is where hashtags step in.
Action: Do a mini-audit of your regular hashtags. Is it where your 'peeps' are hanging out? What hashtags are your target audience using? Are you using these tags too?
Engagement matters now more than ever
Instagram haven't started to initiate the algorithm change yet so engagement on your posts matter now more than ever. If you can get frequent likes and comments from your target audience now, you may start to pop up at the top of their feed when the update kicks in. This means uploading quality photographs, posting well thought out and relevant captions, and using the right hashtags.
Action: Take a look at your last 3 photos - do they scream what your blog/brand is all about? Do the captions speak to your ideal follower? Did you use the right tags?
Instagram's update will roll out gradually over the next three months. Fingers crossed that smaller blog + biz owners won't fall under celebrity and big brand shadows. But we'll cross that bridge if we come to it.