Over the past couple of months, a lot of Instagram accounts (especially businesses) have noticed their engagement dropping.. and dropping.. and dropping. They’re getting less likes, less comments, and even fewer people are seeing their posts, no matter how awesome they are.
Back in its hay-day, Instagram was one of the most powerful organic traffic drivers out there. Don’t get me wrong, it still powers over the likes of Twitter and Facebook. However, with the latest algorithm hit once again affecting engagement, will Instagram remain the king of organic traffic?
Should we have seen this coming?
When Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion (USD) in mid-2012, some speculated the impact this would have on Instagram. Facebook, however, didn’t play with Instagram too much, ‘don’t fix something that ain’t broke’. Users loved Instagram, allowing it to grow to the 3rd biggest social media platform in 2017 (behind Facebook and YouTube). With the large user network, Facebook would be crazy not to capitalise on this, especially with the large presence on Businesses on the platform.
What changed, and why?
Think for a minute.. How on earth does Facebook make money? ADVERTISING!
In 2014, Facebook changed their algorithm for Business pages on their own platform, where reach and engagement plummeted. This caused more businesses to pay for advertising. Awesome for Facebook, not as awesome for businesses.
So this is my theory. We all remember Instagram changing their feed, where it was changed to show ‘what you like’. This is the starting point. Later on, Instagram introduced ‘Business Accounts’, and everyone jumped on the opportunity to get some crappy analytics, and some sub-par features. And what else happened, you yelled to Instagram, ‘HEY! I’m a business!’. Over time, guess which accounts began appearing further and further down in the Instagram feed.. business accounts. Why? So they pay for advertising and to be seen!
How to ‘beat’ the algorithm, and increase engagement
Here are a few tips and tricks that I use, and have never really let the world know!
- Don’t change your Instagram account to a business page:
Stay a personal account, that way you can be ‘friends’ with your followers, rather than a business. Additionally avoid linking Instagram to Facebook, only link Facebook to Instagram (i.e. go onto your Facebook account and connect to Instagram – not vice versa). If you have already switched to the business account, from my experience, it is generally too late.
- Give your followers a reason to turn on post notifications:
The algorithm treats posts that perform well early on. If you can maximise likes within the first few minutes of posting, you have a greater chance of being seen by more people. Don’t be afraid to ask people to turn on post notifications, get creative, provide an incentive, it will help and your account will begin to see improvement (business or not).
- Engage with others outside of your followers:
No, I don’t mean following and unfollowing. An awesome feature that Instagram did introduce is the ability to like comments, you can get away with 50 likes, then you have to wait another few minutes. Literally go and follow your competitors or leaders in your industry who receive a good amount of comments, and go through and like the comments on their recent posts. It takes 30 seconds. They get a notification that you liked their comment, and if they find your content interesting, they’ll follow you.
- Make sure your display picture is awesome:
This is often a potential followers first impression of your account, make it count.
Have you got any tricks that you use to increase engagement on Instagram? Or have a question? Comment below!