Last week Instagram surprised few in marketing circles when they announced the introduction of an algorithm. The social media world sensed an impending shift when Facebook purchased Instagram back in April 2012. Now, almost exactly four years later, a Facebook-esque algorithm has been insta-duced.
Hang on. What’s an algorithm?
Oh you haven’t heard? Algorithms, firstly (and still) hotly used by search engines use complex coding to determine what results they should return when a user types in a search query.
A social media algorithm first introduced by Facebook, then adopted by Twitter and now Instagram determines (among other things) which pieces of content are displayed on individual users’ news feeds. Facebook gives more weighting to personal pages over business pages that are encouraged to ‘break’ the algorithm by paying for ads to get their content in front of their audience.
Back to the Instagram algorithm
Instagram’s move to an “algorithmic timeline” which means you’re more likely to see popular posts from your friends, rather than everything in strict chronological order, has caused mixed reactions.
The hashtag #boycottinstagram quickly started trending on ironically, Instagram, to keep Instagram linear.
Instagram was quick to shut down such talk, by reassuring users that “when your best friend posts a photo of her new puppy, you won’t miss it”. Thank goodness, I couldn’t bare missing my friend’s puppy, baby milestones or painstakingly perfectly photographed hipster brunch because of a pesky algorithm! But in all seriousness, will this impact business the way Facebook’s algorithm has?
The small business algorithm dilemma
Its no secret small businesses across the globe have been leveraging the power of Instagram to connect with their audience. And haven’t we had a ‘free’ ride for a little too long? Perhaps.
But really, what the algorithm does is create a better user experience for users. And isn’t that what social media is all about? If users become bored with the platform; we wont have any audience left to connect with.
The introduction of the algorithm forces brands to either create engaging and high quality content or pay for placement in the feed.
While many deem algorithms evil, remember that (for now), all Instagram pages are essentially the same. Unlike Facebook, there’s currently, no definition between a business and personal page, so Instagram will be treating all pages equal. (Prediction: stay tuned for business pages in 2017).
Want your audience to see your Instagram posts?
Ask your audience to turn on notifications at the top of your posts.
Simply tap the three dots at the top of the post and enable notifications.
Read more: Turn Your Instagram Profile into a QR Code