Instagram’s Recent Algorithm Update – What It Means For Your Small Business

“As soon as I have today figured out, tomorrow comes…”

A friend of mine told me this phrase when she was in the throes of teaching young children in a 4K classroom, parenting two babies, and generally trying to hold on for dear life. It applies to running a business as well, specifically in regard to social media.

Instagram recently announced an update to how they “rank” content.

But before we get into that, what does “ranking” mean, and how does Instagram do it?

Not every post gets seen by your followers. Whatever Instagram deems “better” content gets shown to more people, and “worse” or less valuable content gets shown to fewer users.

Super annoying, yes, and it means we have to work a little harder in order to reach our intended audience.

How can we best play by the new rules?

The good news is this shift towards prioritizing content creators could be a win for small businesses because you’re likely already creating your own original content.

Do you post pictures and stories sometimes? Do you share regularly? Have you created a reel yet? (If not, please start right now!)

Here are six tips on how to get your Instagram content to show up in your audience’s news feeds:

1. Reels are hot!

The IG machine will reward your account with greater reach if you create and post reels. If you’ve never heard of an Instagram reel or haven’t made one yet, no worries.

Reels are simply short videos about 15-60 seconds long. They’re not hard to make, and you can create one from the photos and videos on your phone. The beauty of reels is they are highly engaging, and they can capture attention from all over the world.

Reels are public and can reach farther than your followers’ news feeds.

Here is a great tutorial on how to make a reel . Don’t worry about being perfect, just give it a try!

Speaking of reels…

2. Making reels just got easier – use a template!

You’ll be able to see if a reel has landed well based on how many views, likes, and comments you receive. Once you’ve produced a winner, try making another reel using the same recipe for success. The template will help you make the next reel faster and more efficiently.

Some business owners do not want to show their faces on camera, and that is 100% A-OK. Start with a product photo or a video of the environment where your business is located. Share behind-the-scenes footage with your audience. As you build more confidence, try having someone film you from behind or get a side view of you working.

Little by little, with regular practice and posting, you’ll get the hang of making reels and *might* even start enjoying the process.

3. Be genuinely social with your audience

This is the entire point of social media. “Engage” might be the single most overused word in social media marketing right now, but it is the most important aspect of getting your content seen by your target audience.

  • How do you boost engagement with your audience?
  • Ask questions
  • Answer your viewers’ questions
  • Respond to comments and direct messages
  • Comment and like other people’s posts
  • Spend 15 minutes each day engaging with others OFF your own page

Find businesses that your ideal customer might support and engage with those accounts. You might pick up a few more followers, not to mention you’ll learn a bunch and it’s good juju to support other businesses.

4. Experiment with all the different types of posts – including carousels

If you ever rode a merry-go-round as a child, then you’ll get the idea of going around and around. A carousel is a type of post where you string together a group of photos or graphics. Carousels are fantastic for encouraging people to stay viewing your post much longer than a simple photo, helping you score major points with the Instagram machine.

Here’s a great tutorial on how to create a carousel from Sprout Social. []

5. Post when your audience is online

Does it matter when you post? 100% yes.

Instagram rewards early engagement with content, so it makes sense that your content will get seen by more people if your audience is actually online.

If hardly anyone sees your fabulous, wonderful, thought-provoking post, it’ll be shown less and less as time goes on and become a dud.

Think about your audience – are you mainly talking to busy moms? Vacationers? Other business owners? What works great for parents (evenings after kids are in bed) might be very different from vacationers taking a peek while relaxing on the dock or business owners scrolling during their lunch break.

Better than guessing, review your analytics to help you decide when to post – you can easily see these in your Meta Business Suite under “insights”. The planner tool within Meta (Facebook) puts official as well as more fun holidays on there for you to consider planning around.

Know that it will take some time – weeks and months of regular posting – to establish patterns of behavior, so be patient and most importantly, be consistent!

Give it a whirl and try to implement some of these tips. Let us know how it goes!

Tag @socialsirenmedia in your next Instagram post so the team can see what you’re up to.

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