What Instagram’s Latest Changes Mean for Social Marketers
Instagram has made some changes in March 2018. First, Instagram introduced hashtag and profile links in Instagram bios.
Next, Instagram introduced algorithm changes to “give you more control over your feed and ensure the posts you see are timely,” responding to user feedback/complaints.
These changes may seem small, but they could have a big impact on your social strategy—if you optimize for them. Here’s what you can do today.
1. Have a Crisp and Measured Hashtag Strategy
With the new update, this is more vital than ever. We’ve been harping on the importance of a designated, structured hashtag strategy for awhile now. Your Instagram hashtags shouldn’t just be appendages you tack on to the end of your caption copy whenever you happen to remember. Think of them more like little boxes. Here’s what you need to do:
- Be intentional about the hashtags you use in your profile. The hashtags you include in your profile are clickable now. Make sure those conversations are ones you want to own/be a part of, and consider these hashtags your curated content galleries. Keep tabs on them and participate in them/use them regularly.
- Choose a brand-specific hashtag, and stick with it. In addition to more generic hashtags, be sure to include a permanent brand-specific one that you can leverage as a “content hub” on Instagram for your brand.
- Make friends with the data geek inside you. Begin to measure how your brand-specific hashtags are performing since this update, and how big your part of the conversation is for non-brand-specific hashtags. Do it with Simply Measured Listening.
2. Enhance Brand & Influencer Partnerships
Now you are able to tag other Instagram users in your profile. This means you can really throw some weight behind your brand and influencer partnerships, putting these partnerships front and center in your Instagram profile and increasing the likelihood that your partners, influencers, or even other brand handles will get some love.
Use this feature to:
- Increase awareness around a new product or offering. Create an Instagram handle for that product or offering and include it in your profile, along with a link to a blog post or piece of web content about that product or offering.
- Increase awareness around a new influencer partnership. Link to that influencer’s handle in your bio with some context about the partnership, and ask that influencer to do the same on their bio.
- Use this as a test. Start tracking follower growth on ancillary Instagram handles that you mention in your bio. This will be one signal to show you which partnerships are resonating most with your audience on Instagram.
3. Double Down on Your Instagram Content Strategy
Instagram is ensuring that newer posts are more likely to appear first in user feeds. In their press release, Instagram noted:
With these changes, your feed will feel more fresh, and you won’t miss the moments you care about. So if your best friend shares a selfie from her vacation in Australia, it will be waiting for you when you wake up.
So what does this mean to you, the social marketer?
- Increase your posting cadence on Instagram. The more frequently you post, the more likely your content is to be featured. Of course, keep an eye on the data to test different posting cadences and content types (and make sure you aren’t sacrificing quality for quantity).
- Your engagement is more important than ever. The more people engage with your content, the more likely it is to be featured in other user feeds. Run a content audit to make sure you are on the right track with your Instagram strategy.
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I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.