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For many of you, Instagram may be one of the most used, important and fun social media channels for business, but the playing field is set to change. Instagram is set to introduce a new algorithm to feeds, so users are more likely to see relevant content that is of interest to them, rather than pretty much everything posted by those that they follow.

The algorithm will order content seen, using factors such as relationship with the person or business that posted it, how new the content is and how likely it is that the reader will be interested in it. It is likely that interactions with other posts will have an impact on this.

The Risk

Many businesses and people have found that posting on Instagram results in a high engagement rate compared to other social networks, meaning many new relationships have developed through the image-based network. Potentially, the new algorithm change could limit the amount of content that is regularly seen by followers, resulting on a drop in reach and therefore a drop in engagement.

What are Publishers Doing?

Many publishers are taking steps to diversify their accounts, so they can offer far more targeted content. For example, if you are a sports retailer, you may want to create separate accounts for each individual sport, and you may wish to segment even more by creating different accounts for customers of different genders, age or location. Of course, this means that you have more accounts to maintain and could risk having a number of poor accounts rather than one strong one.

If the algorithm change is going in the same direction as the Facebook algorithm has gone over the last few years, it is likely that quality will be the most important factor, and publishers should think about ‘wasting’ opportunities. Rather than posting anything and everything, content publishers will need to think more about editing out the content that will get a low amount of engagement, as content with a low amount of engagement could be damaging in terms of content reach in future. For example, if a garden tools retailer has 1000 followers posts 1000 product photos that each get no interactions, then each time they post, it is likely that the reach of that post will drop as Instagram will believe that each user who doesn’t interact, is not interested in what the retailer has to say.

What Should You Do?

Measure, measure, measure. Each time you post something, measure how much engagement it generates. If a certain type of post generates no engagement, then stop posting it. Instagram, much like other social media sites, wants to keep its users returning and the best way to do this is by improving the customer experience, so it will in future favour content that users want to see, over content that users do not want to see. The way to keep winning at Instagram will be to avoid posting things that won’t drive engagement, and to post as much relevant content as possible.

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