Boy oh boy have things ever changed from today to a year or so at this time on Instagram. At over 800 million active users, they’ve had to make changes to account for all of the new growth and activity. Overall it’s just a more saturated platform, so there are more posts fighting for space in the coveted feed. On one hand, there are over 500 million active users every day and 80% of them follow brands and businesses. On the other hand, only 6% of users are actually seeing our posts. The main takeaway? What used to work on Instagram isn’t working anymore, so it’s time to adjust your strategy.
Here is my boiled down, condensed, wrapped up a pretty little bow guide to Instagram in 2018.
1. Overall, post engagement is dropping.
The biggest complaint I generally hear is “My number of likes and comments is going down everyday.” Listen, I feel ya sister. Same here, and yes it does kind of suck.
But let’s get actionable about it, because the algorithm isn’t going away.
2. People are engaging in different ways.
Engagement is now less about the feed and more on stories. The feed is honestly just a less fun place to be… the algorithm is messing up chronology, paid ads are all-the-f-over, it seems a little more, well, Facebook-y.
Because of this, Instagram stories are getting WAY more play than posts. Be honest with me… how much time to spend with letting stories play in the background while you make your breakfast? For me, more often than not, I click on one story to see what a friend is up to and 20 minutes later end up in someone I don’t even know’s stories… watching them intently like their the new episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
The bottom line: people are interacting more in stories than in the feed. Spoiler alert: this is a good thing.
3. Posts have greater longevity.
You can curse the algorithm up-and-down all day long (and I’ll be there nodding in agreement with you), but one undeniable benefit of the algorithm is that our content hangs out in the feed longer than it used to.
When the field with chronological, meaning the glorious pre-algorithm days that we look back so fondly on, engagement happened immediately and dropped over time. Now, your content will be shown to your audience for hours and days after the post. This means you can post less often and get more out of the content you do share.
The bottom line: Share better content, less frequently.
4. Success looks different, too.
Focus on the big picture. The number of followers you have matters less than ever before.
There are Instagram accounts with 5000 followers that have over $1 million businesses.
There are also accounts that have over 500,000 followers who are making zero dollars in profit.
The bottom line: Followers do not equal success.
5. Your goal should be your amount of customers, not followers.
Instead of focusing on the number, focus on the quality of the comments and direct message you’re receiving. This is where you begin to build your tribe.
The bottom line: The real key to conversions is genuine connection.
6. Relationships are the common denominator.
The thread going through all social media, regardless of the year and regardless of the algorithm, is that it’s really not that complicated, it’s just all about relationships.
The bottom line: Create genuine content on a consistent basis, stick to your voice and don’t try to be like anybody else. Be a gracious host, always comment back, take an interest in the guests interacting with your page.
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Those are my quick tips for Instagram adjustment in 2018.
Do you have questions? What are you seeing that’s different this year? Let’s start a conversation in the comments.