How to Stay on Top of Your Instagram Game in 2018
Every time Instagram announces new changes to their algorithm or application program interface (API), the first thing people want to do is freak out.
Aaahhh, what does it all mean?
Is my account going to get shut down?
How on earth will I grow my following?
Great. Now I’m never going to increase engagement.
I’m here to calm your booty down and let you know that everything’s going to be alright, boo. I’m going to go over some of the changes Instagram is rolling out, and provide you bosses with strategy tips that should put your sweet minds at ease.
Let’s start with the changes.
You can now schedule Instagram posts to go out automatically. Yippie!
To be fair, I’ve been scheduling Instagram posts to go out 100% automatically for almost two years using Grum, but this is still exciting news. It technically went against Instagram’s terms of service to use third-party apps that do anything automatically on your behalf, whether it was liking, commenting, following, or posting. But hey, I’m a rebel so I was all about that Grum life. Post from my phone twice a day? Ain’t nobody got time for that!
But now, Instagram has opened up their API so users can now schedule posts to go out automatically with peace of mind. What’s important to know is that Instagram prefers you use one of their partners for your scheduling needs. Some of those partners include Planoly, Iconosquare, and Hootsuite.
As of February 1, you’re now able to create carousel ads within your Instagram stories. Previously you were only able to schedule on photo or video story per ad, but you can now use up to three pieces of media per ad.
Decline in Exposure
Other social media experts have said that users will now see a decline in exposure. It’s said that when you post something new, Instagram will show that post to only 10% of your audience. If that posts sees a lot of engagement right away, it will then be released to the remaining 90%.
I haven’t been able to find concrete information on this change in Instagram’s business or help centre, but there some things Instagram chooses not to make public. If you’ve come across concrete information on this change, feel free to drop a link down below.
Okay. Now that we’ve talked about some of the changes and updates, let’s talk about what you need to do to stay on top of the Instagram game.
I highly recommend you pop into your Instagram stories a few times a day. Stories is a candid tool so there’s no need to stress yourself out about creating outstanding graphics, putting on a full face of makeup, or having a speech prepared. I mean, of course you can do those things, but not doing them doesn’t mean you can’t get the most out of this feature.
Your audience wants to see the face behind the business, and that’s you! Pop in regularly to give them updates as it relates to your industry or niche, give them a behind-the-scenes look and what you’re working on, or show them snippets of your day-to-day life so they can relate to you on a personal level.
To get your stories seen in front of more people, add in a location tag where applicable for added exposure. On average I would say about 60 people watch my Instagram stories per day. But when I add Winnipeg as a location tag, those stories typically get anywhere from 150-300 views! Now don’t just throw location tags in there willy nilly – you’ll annoy people. Add them in as they relate to what your story is about.
Aim to go live once per week. Instagram tends to favour accounts that utilize their special features, so hop on live to get your message in front of more people.
To further increase your attendance to your live videos, plan them in advance and let people know when you’re going live next and what you’ll be speaking about. Sure people can always catch the replay if you choose to leave it up, but having people tune in live will help with your overall exposure.
Going live can be nerve wracking, especially if you’ve never done it before. If you’re too shy to go live on your own, invite your biz bestie to join you to talk about a topic that relates to both of your audiences.
As of right now you can use a maximum of 30 hashtags per post, and I’ve always recommended you use all 30. There are rumours floating around that you might see higher engagement if you use less hashtags, but that’s all they are – rumours. You can test this notion by experimenting with using a small amount of hashtags one week, and the full 30 the next week and see how your engagement differs. But even if you see a difference in engagement, who knows if that’s because the quality of your content is different, you’re posting at different times of the day, etc. A difference in engagement can be the cause of a million different things, yo. Personally my plan is to stick with using all 30 tags until Instagram suggests otherwise.
Another rumour swirling around the interwebs is that hashtags can only be searchable if placed in your caption. As it stands now, that’s false! If you search hashtags in Instagram’s help centre, even they say you can place your hashtags in the caption OR comment section of your post. So again, until they tell me otherwise, I’m keeping my hashtags in the comments to free my caption of clutter.
When you’re searching for hashtags to include in your posts, don’t even bother using hashtags that have been used millions of times unless you already have a massive following and tons of post engagement. Aim to use hashtags that have only been used 100,000 – 700,000 times. That’s going to be your sweet spot and will help get your content seen by people searching those hashtags.
I wrote a whole blog post on 10 Tips on Using Hashtags on Instagram so be sure to give it a read for more info!
Engage. Engage. ENGAGE!!!
Sorry I had to yell, but I couldn’t help it.
People often complain they don’t see enough likes and comments on their posts, or that they don’t receive a lot of DMs. In order to get those things, YOU have to be willing to do the same! Spend some time seeking out your target audience or ideal client, like some of their posts, leave quality comments on the ones that stand out to you, follow accounts of the people you want to connect with on a regular basis, and turn on post notifications so you know exactly when they’ve put up a new post.
Don’t claim the fame if you can’t be bothered with the fans, boo boo!
No matter what changes Instagram makes, all you need to do to stay on top of your game is create quality content, utilize special features like stories and live video, and engage consistently not only on your platform, but of the platforms of your target audience.
If you’re still feeling stuck on creating a strategy that’s going to be right for you and the online community you’re trying to entice, you and I need to work together! Click HERE to comb through my list of available social media services and let’s get to work. Don’t see exactly what you need? You’re in luck! I create custom packages too so I’ll be more than happy to whip up something tailored to your business needs.