Instagram has changed, and the world's gone wild. Switching from it's straight time-based feed- where images are shown in the order which they are posted by the people you follow, Instagram is introducing an algorithm that prioritizes posts that Instagram "wants you to see". Another Instagram change is in "notifications". If you turn on notifications for an Instagrammer, you'll be notified when they post, therefore surpassing the dreaded "algorithm shift". Many are calling this the "death of Instagram".
That's just silly.
You know who has an algorithm, with notifications for content from brands you love? Vine. You know who else? YouTube. And best of all, take a look at who pioneered the concept of an algorithm, and a brilliant, effective ad platform. Facebook. Here's their earnings report from last year to give you an idea of how brands have responded to their platform.
By the way, you know who is not algorithmic? Just a stream of thoughts from everyone you follow? Twitter. Here's a look at how they're doing. Here's a hint- it's not great.
The reality: Facebook has perfected the art of serving users the content that they want to see, and they've also learned how to cut out the noise.
At what point did advertisers decide that free advertising was okay? That's what organic reach is if you're a business. If you're a business, and you create great content, that content will get likes, comments and shares. It will show up in an algorithm. If they start declining organic reach, your business will need to propel that great content with great advertising and let it travel from there. And that is a business decision from Instagram that is smart. And it's one that you, as a business owner, should understand.
Here's what to do...
First, consider investing in Instagram. The noise will be reduced, and there's an opportunity to cut through the clutter, especially when the masses are busy whining and jumping to the next network (likely Snapchat) because it still feels "free" (which it will be for about five minutes, by the way). Look at the ad platform and see what it can do. Perfect your efficiency there. Play with it, and see how efficiently you can advertise there.
Second, stop panicking. You can ask people to turn notifications on WITHOUT creating silly imagery that begs them to. If you go through your feed right now, you'll see every brand you know creating imagery begging people to turn on notifications. It's funny, time moves so quickly with social media we forget that just a couple of years ago, we were BEGGING for "likes" on social media. Do you remember ads on Facebook that read "Like this if".....in fact, I remember that LIKE used to perform better for people if you put it in all caps. Don't do that. It's not necessary, and it's treating your audience like they're dumb. You can ask if they've turned on notifications yet, but unless you're a social media thought leader whose job it is to teach people to turn on notifications, this is an irrelevant thing for your brand to be talking about.
Third, get perspective. This Instagram change is one of many changes that will take place over the next six months. And in about 18 months, the world will look ENTIRELY different than it did at the time that I wrote this post. Get used to change, get on new networks that feel totally counterintuitive to you- because today's uncomfortable changes are tomorrow's normal activities.
Are you troubled by Instagram's new algorithm and notifications update? Why or why not?