Instagram Changes their Algorithm and What That Means for your Business

How small business owners and entrepreneurs can prepare for Instagram's latest change

(Image: Instagram)
(Image: Instagram)

Algorithms, algorithms, algorithms. Word on the street is that Instagram is shifting its content feed to ensure that viewers see the content they’re really interested in. Other social media networks have made this switch (namely Facebook back in 2009) and last month Twitter changed its timeline to show tweets out of order instead of the reverse chronological (newest tweets on top). It seems now Instagram has ventured into this area.

[Related: Social Media Gurus: You Can Now Switch Between Instagram Accounts]

Testing this new algorithm means instead of seeing posts in reverse chronological order, Instagram will place priority on the photos and videos it thinks you most want to view from the people you follow at the top of your feed. It doesn’t matter what time the post was originally shared. For entrepreneurs and small businesses currently leveraging social media to showcase their products and services, news of an algorithm change should not come as a shock. Instagram currently has more than 400 million users and is available to download on iOS, Android, and Windows.

So, what does this move by Instagram mean for you, your business and your brand and how do you prepare for these changes? I’m glad you asked.

  1. Analyze your best and worst performing content. Check out Union Metric’s free Instagram tool and determine your most popular post, best performing hashtags, and your top fans.

  1. Create branded social media templates so that when people are scrolling through their timelines your post automatically catches the eye.

  1. Create engaging content with every picture or video post and be sure to use a CTA  (call to action)—ask your followers to tag their friends, repost your post, and to double tap to show some love.

  1. Pay to Play – It might be time to fork over the cash to get right in front of your target audience with Instagram ads. You can choose from a variety of advertisement types, including video and carousel ads.

The bottom line for small business owners and entrepreneurs is to get not only creative, but also become more meaningful with the types of content you’re sharing. Being overtly sales-y isn’t going to cut it anymore. The content you share via social media should be relatable, engaging, and less obtrusive than ever before.