Does Instagram’s algorithm have you worried?
Are you looking for proven tactics to increase your visibility in the Instagram news feed?
In this article, you’ll discover how four of the most successful companies on Instagram are responding to the algorithm change, and how your business can do the same.
#1: Create Campaign-specific Instagram Links
Ben & Jerry’s Instagram account is colorful, fun, and often hilarious. They’re one of the most creative and courageous companies out there, so it’s no surprise their Instagram account reflects that.
Their response to the algorithm change was to double down on what’s been working for them all along: passion for their product and a healthy dose of cross-platform promotion.
The fact is that Instagram is not a great platform for selling. Posts with too much promotional language do poorly. But if you can get people off of the platform and onto your website, you have far more control of how and what they see.
Ben & Jerry’s does this in every single post with a call to action (CTA) to “Click the link in our profile to see ____.”
The link in their bio drives Instagram fans to a place far more likely to generate sales: their website.
#2: Tap Into User-Generated Content and Storytelling
REI’s Instagram profile is an example of a brand focusing on high-quality images and individual stories of the outdoors.
Members of their target market (outdoorsy-types) are often amateur photographers. By tapping into their audience’s desire to have their photos recognized has driven REI’s Instagram profile to over 1.1 million followers.
Since the new Instagram algorithm update though, they’ve added a new component to their Instagram content: user-generated stories.
Stories are incredibly valuable when used to engage with social media followers. Even more valuable, though, are stories written by your customers and followers because those stories create a feeling of community. They break down the wall between company and consumer.
Not only does REI feature user-generated content from other people on Instagram, they also include quotes from those users to create a personal touch.
To get started using REI’s tactics in your own Instagram marketing, begin by searching for hashtags related to your product and market. When you find Instagrammers who consistently provide content related to your business, reach out and ask fans if you can feature their photos on your brand’s account.
Consider asking for a quote or explanation for each photo that you can use in the post. Remember to @mention the original poster and add a CTA asking people to submit their own photos by using a designated brand hashtag.
#3: Incorporate Trending Topics In Your Posts
The Seattle Seahawks’ Instagram profile is an example of huge-budget social media marketing done well.
They personalize their interaction by spotlighting individual players’, fans’, and coaches’ stories. They thank donors and fans to show their gratitude and create a positive persona. And they feature behind-the-scenes looks into the people who make the Seahawks so successful (both on and off the field).
Recently, they’ve taken it up a notch and started to incorporate trending topics. For example, to get fans excited for the upcoming football season, they’re showcasing their #SeahawksDraft rookie players by pasting new players’ faces onto the bodies of Star Wars characters.
You don’t need the budget of a professional football team to tap into trending topics. Often the simplest things will drive the greatest results.
Try to incorporate holidays (sometimes the most little-known are the most intriguing), seasons, popular films, weather, traffic, days of the week, and so on.
Note: To maximize success and avoid alienating any part of your Instagram audience, avoid political statements; controversial news stories; or divisive statements about sports, religion, nationality, or race.
#4: Include Video Content and Campaign-specific Hashtags
The NBA is recognized more than any other sport for delivering short highlights: LeBron James’ insane alley-oop slam dunk in game 3 against Golden State, or Steph Curry lining up for a “nothin’ but net” from beyond the arc, for example.
So it’s no surprise that video is a crucial component of their content. In fact, their Instagram account is more than half populated with video.
The NBA Instagram account features about 50% video. They also tap into campaign-specific hashtags, like #NBASummer, to increase awareness.
There are many ways you can post video that stands out and reaps engagement on Instagram.
For example, you can use Instagram’s Boomerang mobile app (on iTunes and Android) to create a short, looping GIF to share humorous snippets of your business lifestyle. Or you can give people a behind-the-scenes peek at your company by giving a tour of your warehouse.
Record short interviews with colleagues, your boss, customers, or your mascot. Or feature your summer company barbecue, Christmas party, or Friday afternoon beers. Get creative!
Remember to keep your videos short, not longer than 30 seconds. When you post them, add as many relevant hashtags as you can to spread the reach of your video. If you have a seasonal campaign, clothing line, new drink at your café, or new piece of software, use that campaign’s hashtag consistently in your promotions.
Whether you’re an Etsy store just starting out, or a Fortune 500 multi-national, we’re all vulnerable to social media algorithm changes. But that’s what’s great about social media: your creativity and knowledge can drive success no matter your budget.
These strategies are simply inspiration. Try putting them into action to get them working for your business.