The panic alarm has turned on, and everyone in business is feeling it.
As Instagram engagement rates continue to decline and followings are at a standstill, some business owners have asked themselves whether Instagram is worth investing energy, money, and time into.
Just because the rules have changed doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the towel and admit defeat. You’ve put in too many hours to turn back now!
Instagram, even despite its algorithm changes, is still one of the best platforms in terms radical revenue growth potential. But how can you make an impact on Instagram if the rules are different?
It starts with evolving your strategy and quickly as the platform has evolved. Only then can you uplevel your Instagram game!
I know it can feel like once you’ve finally mastered Instagram, it goes ahead and changes everything on you. Luckily, you don’t have to spend your time researching all about the new algorithm from multiple sources just to wrap your head around how it’s evolved.
I’ve already done all the research because I’m a total Instagram nerd who LOVES geeking out on hashtags, engagement, and social media analytics.
It’s probably how I’ve grown my Instagram following to 40,000+ followers despite Instagram’s many algorithm changes. We can’t stop Instagram from changing, but we CAN change our strategy to better connect with our ideal clients and buyers.
Let’s start by breaking down how the Instagram algorithm has changed and my best recommendations for evolving your social media strategy along with it.
Preparing yourself for the 2019 Instagram algorithm changes
Share high quality content
This might seem like a bit of a no-brainer BUT if you want to see your Instagram account grow, you need to be sharing high-quality content.
As Instagram is all about the images, we’ll start there! Make sure that the images you are posting on your feed are great quality, clear and, most importantly, relevant to your business and your audience.
Quality also applies to the captions you’re posting alongside your images too, but more on this later!
Consistency is key
The days of posting once per week or even once per day are over. Whomp, whomp. If you feel your heart start to race at the idea of creating multiple pieces of content per day, don’t panic.
One of the best ways to grow your Instagram with the new algorithm is to post original content with stock photo content. Then you’re able to increase your engagement without adding more photoshoots to your already full calendar.
It’s a huge reason why I created Get Found Stock, a well-stocked (get it?) membership community for creative entrepreneurs who want to grow their Instagram engagement and following with high-quality content they don’t have to spend hours creating. I’ll cheers to that!
Get your first five stock photos for FREE by entering your email below! No, really. Then you’ll be off to the races and growing your Instagram in no time!
Reply back to comments in the first hour
Checking in once a day and replying to all of your comments in bulk no longer works with the new Instagram algorithm. Instead, it’s better to reply back to any comments you get within the first hour.
Naturally, you may not have the time to sit on Instagram for a fully hour after publishing a post. I totally get that. We’ve all got so many other things to do! If only Instagram paid ALL of our bills…
Even though you may not be able to devote a full hour to Instagram each day, you can check in multiple times throughout the first hour while multitasking on other projects. That way you can get more done while still following what the new algorithm likes.
Make sure your comments are quality
While we’re on the subject of comments, it’s important to note that non-descriptive comments like “cool pic!” aren’t going to grow your engagement. If you don’t write a thoughtful comment, you’ll look like a bot, which is what Instagram is trying to cut down on.
Instagram likes comments that are at least 3-4 words and includes an emoji. The more descriptive you can be, the better. That doesn’t mean you have to write a novel, but it’s smart to use your time on Instagram wisely by actually interacting with photos.
Also, if you’re able to use a person’s handle, that’s even better. Try replying to a few of the comments you find on other people’s photos or jump in another conversation that’s happening. After all, Instagram is social!
Longer captions are better
We all love a good cheeky, witty caption, but what’s performing best these days on Instagram are the longer captions. Instagram is a place for storytelling, so it’s not surprising that long captions reign supreme.
If you’re wondering what the heck to write about (which I do nearly every day, lol), we have some content prompts inside Get Found Stock membership to help you get your creativity flowing.
Rethink Instagram pods
Remember last year when everyone was creating Instagram pods (aka private groups within Instagram to post on each other’s photos) to increase their engagement? Instagram now marks those groups as spam.
If you still want to do an Instagram group, it’s best not to share your photos within the group or language like “new post”, which triggers Instagram’s spam alert. You can instead turn on notifications for everyone in the group so you know when they post and when to comment on it.
Don’t forget about Instagram stories
Don’t groan yet! I know Instagram stories might feel like one more thing to create, but to be seen as an active user on Instagram, you need to be updating your stories.
Instagram is updating their platform to make stories even more prominent. It’s not only a great place to regularly engage with your audience, but also one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website and email opt-ins.
To start experimenting with Instagram stories, try creating 4-5 graphics to tell a story or record yourself on video giving a tip that’s relevant to what you teach or do. Yes, it’s really that easy!
Instagram stories are where Instagram is moving in the future as the algorithm makes content harder to find on home feeds. Make your Instagram stories count!
Use the close friends feature in Instagram stories
Instagram has launched a new feature within stories that allows you to share your stories with just your close friends.
You can now create a list of your close friends and choose to share your stories with only them. You can use this in a couple of ways – you can share non-business related stuff with your ‘real life’ friends OR you could use the feature to create a list of clients or leads that you are warming up and share specific, targeted content with them.
Share more videos
Instagram seems to be LOVING video content at the moment. With the launch of IGTV and the ability to share videos on your feed and stories too, there are plenty of ways for you to share video content on Instagram.
In fact, Instagram just announced the IGTV posts will be showing up in people’s main feeds rather than being limited to the IGTV section of the App which is a clear sign of how much value they’re putting on video content.
So, next time you want to share a message with your audience, instead of posting a still image with text overlay, why not hop in front of the camera and share a video of yourself instead?
How is your Instagram strategy changing in 2019?
After reading this post, you may be feeling like a lot needs to change. Don’t worry. I felt the same way when I started doing this research into how the algorithm evolved.
Hopefully reading these quick tips will help you redefine your strategy and pivot in a way that feels good for you, your business, and Instagram. Good luck!
What kinds of Instagram changes have you noticed this year? Let me know in the comment section below so we can chat about it!