How Brands Should React to Instagram’s New Format

May 16, 2016

 

Instagram as users currently know it is about to change.

 

As you have probably heard, Instagram is changing it’s timeline from chronological order to an algorithm that will show you what it thinks you want to see most.

 

Instagram announced the upcoming change in a recent blog post.  It said, “The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.”

 

For personal accounts, this might mean that posts from your best friends or the accounts you interact with most will be at the top of your timeline. But what do these pivotal changes mean for businesses?

 

Social media strategists work hard to determine the best times to post in order to garner the most engagements. Now, when the timeliness of posting is one of three factors that affect posting order, how do brands use this algorithm to their benefit? Furthermore, how does the algorithm prioritize the categories it uses?

 

Instagram’s algorithm will launch in the near future, and brands need to start preparing now.  Some accounts have encouraged users to turn on post notifications to keep up with them, but users quickly got tired of their feed being filled with these requests. As Instagram makes the switch, brands are left feeling unsure of how it will affect them.

 

Basically, Instagram will function like Facebook currently does. This means two things for brands:

  1. Try applying your same posting methods your organization uses on Facebook, because there is a good chance they are applicable to Instagram’s new format. Communicate with followers so they will remember your account. Create memorable postings that will leave followers looking for more content from you. Engage with your followers and understand the content they seek out. Place less emphasis when you post and more on what you post.

  2. Take cues from Facebook’s previous warnings. Overposting leads to less quality content, and may be marked as spam. Don’t overpost to get more engagements.

Moving forward on Instagram, organizations should be aware that there might be more emphasis placed on ads over the perfectly crafted Instagram posting. With the algorithm, organizations may be more inclined to pay for an ad posting to guarantee views. As more organizations want to advertise, the costs will rise. After the launch, brands need to consider including Instagram advertising in their social media budget. In order to keep followers, craft advertisements that users will find interesting and organic.


Originally, the update was supposed to roll out in late March, but due to backlash from users, the change has been pushed back. A spokesperson from Instagram said, “no feed changes are being implemented right now — we still have weeks, or even months, of testing to go. Currently the test groups are very small. When we roll it out broadly, we will definitely let the community know.”

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