Taming the Beast and the Instagram Algorithm

Everyone is going all-in on Instagram right now as the platform of the future.

Instagram is way cooler than Facebook. Instagram has outplayed Snapchat just enough to keep them at bay. And more and more business is being done through Instagram DM's (direct messages) than ever before thanks to @GaryVee.

In the next 5 years resumes are going to be replaced by Instagram accounts. You will prove yourself by what you've done in social media in the last 5 years. This is 100% serious. Social media is that big.

Instagram could be the golden key of the next decade. Not only does the ability to grow on a social platform prove a lot of skill and talent, but it also reveals your value in terms of reach. Businesses will be biz-deving with their employees who have sizeable social followings.

If this means anything to you then listen up.

Instagram needs to provide it's users the best experience possible. That is priority number one. As soon as the experience slips so do daily active user numbers. User base is everything.

Now that Instagram has matured and the user base is pushing towards 1 billion. The feed was becoming rather busy.

It used to be chronological where you saw everything exactly in order. But as you start to follow 100+ accounts that can be a bit much. It's a fire hose problem – the one Twitter has always struggled with. Too much content that isn't exactly what I want but comes from the people I follow.

Instagram removed organic reach by only showing the most relevant photos to the user's interests. You only see what you actually engage with on a semi-regular basis. If you haven't liked or commented in a few months you might not see it much anymore.

This is really evident in the search and discovery area of Instagram. If you like one type of photo a few times you get a lot more coming at you. But that makes sense. Just recognize our engagement patterns and make predictions based on username and past engagement rates.

So as a content creator its important to see this now. The platform is evolving and you have to adjust. Now is not the time to be posting up content that you might delete. If it isn't a winner it shouldn't go up. It might even be better not to post.

Make sure you aren't alienating a huge portion of your audience that just won't engage on certain photos. Such as brands with global impact but mostly local activity.

Instagram is still the best platform to be discovered on. It is great for developing business relationships. You can tell stories, feature products, connect with customers and more all on one simple platform.

Always keep in mind that Instagram is a place for the eyes not the mind. Make sure your visual content is high-quality so that your written content gets read.

The purpose of an article headline is to get the first word of the article read. A similar principle applies here with the photo as the headline. You can always add words to your photos as well which can be extremely effective for indoctrinate your users with your brand values and language.

Just keep in mind a few things before you post:

  1. Is this hurting me or helping me grow my account?
  2. Is this photo considerate of my majority audience and why they followed me?
  3. Is the photo of high-quality and in line with brand guidelines?
  4. Is this image worthy of being reposted? (Bonus)

And then remind yourself that its just social media and not to take it so seriously ­čśë

It's always about finding a balance between trying your best to broaden your reach and keeping it light and fun. If you are putting real effort and intention into your social media efforts you will always see results. Your ability to understand the market will amplify or negate those results.

For more conscious content marketing and social media insights follow me on Instagram.