If you’re a maker or follow a few makers on Instagram, your feed is probably completely overwhelmed with “TURN ON POST NOTIFICATIONS!” posts that are going viral because Instagram is updating their algorithm and instead of a chronological feed, it’s updated to a curated feed, similar to Facebook’s.
First up, this is not a bad thing. Basically, it means paid posts are shown at the top of the feed. Which is cool, if you or whoever follows you like the content they can click on it. If not, they can do what I do when I see a sponsored post I have no interest in – scroll right past it! Also cool, because when paid posts are available to everyone, you know you will have eyes on your ads!
Then, the most interacted with photos will show up next in your feed – cool! These photos are getting a lot of interaction, which must mean they are interesting! If not? Scroll on past them!
Then, I’m sure they will use image detection and show you the beautiful but less interacted with photos next, because their goal is to create a wonderful curated feed with great content for you – woohoo! (This is a good thing and one you can use to your advantage if you use IG to market, more on that in a moment!) These photos are most likely bright, well lit, clutter free, staged images that IG predicts are worthy of more likes because well, they look awesome, and that’s what a visual based feed relies on!
Below those images I’m sure you will find the least interacted with, darker, grainy cell phone images with no captions. You know the ones – I bet these are the ones that are usually skipped past because the majority of Insta-users are eye-hungry for brightly colored, staged images of flowers spread out like mandalas or some other amazing & beautifully styled image with fun captions that give people something to talk about.
And THAT is why Instagram is using it’s data from MILLIONS of users to curate feeds to show images you are actually more likely to interact with at the top – and pushing less interesting stuff (all those brands you followed for giveaways? People who you followed for a follow back? Caption-less, blurry photos of cats?) to the bottom.
So why I am I not asking people to turn on post notifications?
Because then my account becomes a nuisance. So does the 3286318972101 other accounts asking people to turn on post notifications. Imagine if you were to turn on notifications for 100 Instagram accounts, and they all post once a day. That’s 100 notifications going off on your phone at all hours of the day. Users become inundated with notifications, begin unfollowing the accounts they signed up for notifications from, but mostly – then my posts would just be lost in the mix with hundreds of other Instagram notifications. Not only will they get notifications when someone likes or comments on their photos, or when someone replies to a comment they left on a post, but then they will also get another hundred notifications a day from all the accounts asking them to sign up for post notifications…
So instead of being lost in a curated sea, of photos yours posts become buried in notifications. That doesn’t really help, does it?
So how can you combat this?
There’s a few easy ways to keep your feed lookin’ sexy & interesting!
- Unfollow anyone you don’t actually interact with regularly. Scroll through your list of people you follow, visit their account and scroll through. Does their account still resonate with you? Nope? Then unfollow them. Like what you are seeing? Follow the next step and…..
- Like & comment on posts that catch your eye! The new algorithm is based entirely on curating stuff it thinks you will like so actually like posts you like so you see more of what you actually want to see in your feed! I see this algorithm change from Instagram as a big push to actually make users interact with one another. SOCIAL social media. What a crazy concept! But one I’m totally behind! So instead of just posting your latest products to Instagram, actually take some time to interact with the people you follow, like and comment on their posts. Not only does this keep them in your feed but it organically builds and maintains your audience.
How can you get seen on Instagram with the new algorithm?
Paid posts will eventually be an option for everyone, but for your every day posts to get seen, here is some tips based on what I’ve learned about curated feeds over the years to make sure your posts are seen by your audience:
- Only post beautiful, well lit, clutter free images. As Instagram moves to a curated feed, high quality photos will no longer be an option – they will be a requirement. Stop using your cell phone, break out your real camera. Curate beautiful, relevant photos. Edit them for brightness and to make colors pop. I’m not saying my feed is killer or anything, but since I moved and have access to better lighting, my interaction and followers went way up! The more consistent your growth on social media is plus a consistent amount of interaction (likes, comments) means your posts will appear higher in the new IG algorithm! So focus as much time & energy as you can into creating stunning images.
- Always have some sort of call to action. Give people something to talk about – or they won’t! Post photos with multiple options and ask them what their favorite item is. Ask them for help naming your latest product. Ask them what’s for dinner. Just get people talking! Again: the more people interacting with your photos, the higher they will appear in the algorithm.
- Dedicate a small amount of time daily to interacting with your followers + people you follow as well as new potential audience members! Click the “followers” button you profile – visit several accounts, like photos, leave meaningful comments. Repeat for people you follow. Repeat again by searching a hashtag relevant to your account (make jewelry? Try the #wwiw tag or #ootd. Make toys? Try #momlife or #clickinmoms, etc). This is important because it reinforces your current audience & reminds them to check out your account, it keeps people you follow & enjoy in your feed while introducing yourself to them in case they hadn’t checked out your account because you’ve been a silent follower, and lastly, it drives new interactions & followers!
How can you make sure you don’t lose your audience with all these crazy changes coming to Instagram (or any other platform)?
Social media users freak out when they feel like they are losing control of their audience on social media – but here is the thing: They were never in control of it. You do not own your audience on social media, the platform is solely in control of what is shown to it’s users. Getting mad or worrying about is a waste of time. The best way to prevent loss of audience due to changes in algorithms or sometimes even the loss of a platform entirely is to focus on building an interesting, engaging email list. If you haven’t started yet, do it now! The majority of new clients & 86% of all sales in my shop come from my email list! This is the best way to ensure you have access to your audience at all times. Building an email list is still something I am working on myself, and I’m just feeling like I’ve got a good idea of where I want to go with it. Once I feel confident in my emailing abilities, I’ll have some posts to share on how I grow my mailing list & increase open rates!
Armed with this information, how are you feeling about the changes to Instagram?
Share your thoughts, concerns and game plan to get noticed in the new feed in the comments!