post by Stephanie Nelson
As you’ve probably heard, Facebook is updating its algorithm again. News that’s flown a little more under the radar is that Instagram has also made some algo changes. Let’s take a look at what’s changing and what it means for businesses.
In Mark Zuckerburg’s words, with Facebook’s changes “[y]ou’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.” While we haven’t really seen yet what the true impact is for businesses, most experts agree that it’ll probably bring a significant drop in organic reach. In other words, businesses and brands will likely have to put more into ads and boosted posts to be seen.
BUT, there is a caveat. Zuckerburg mentioned that the posts that will be shown will be those that “encourage meaningful interaction.” This equates to comments. If your posts are getting comments and people are interacting with you and each other, that will help you.
What does this mean for businesses? Stop focusing on promoting yourself and your wares. (This should’ve stopped a long dang time ago, but that’s another topic for another day.) Focus on getting your audience engaged. Ask questions. Throw something out there that may take them aback a bit but will get them talking.
News of Instagram’s changes is a bit more sketchy. Nothing’s been officially released through the IG blog, but IG experts are posting on their blogs changes they’ve noticed.
Unofficial news piece #1 is that IG first shows your posts to just 1/10th of your followers. If those folks react positively (likes, comments, etc), your post will increasingly be shown to the other 90% of your followers.
Unofficial news piece #2 is that YOUR engagement may be affecting your post’s exposure. If you regularly get comments that you don’t like or respond to, Instagram appears to limit how much it shows other posts you put up. From what’s being reported, you should try to interact with any comment within an hour or so.
#3: Instagram stories are the way to go. Rumor has it that the algorithm puts more priority on stories than feed posts and that stories pop up more.
Rumored change #4: Hashtag rules are changing. You’ll still be allowed 30 hashtags per post, but using that many could get your posts labeled as spam. Posts labeled as spam could get your account shadow-banned. So go crazy with the hashtags only at your own risk.
Another shadow-banning risk seems to come from using the same hashtags over and over. This is a bot-like tactic, so IG is taking action.
And if you’re using hashtags to show in search results, make sure those bad boys are in your caption. If you put them in a comment, word on the street is that they will not “count” and your posts will not be included in searches for that hashtag.
Lastly, in an effort to put the kibosh on bots, IG is no longer counting short comments like “love it” and “nice” or silly emojis toward engagement. Accounts that regularly comment that way are being filtered out (if this report is true). If you want your comments to count toward engagement (and you do – see #2), make sure your comments are 4 words or longer.
If you need help navigating these latest algorithm changes – let us know! We’re glad to help!