What to do When a Social Media Algorithm Changes

Feeling a bit lost in the sea of social media updates? It seems like every time you've finally settled into the most recent update; each platform will change the social media algorithm that you've finally grown accustomed to.

Social media platforms often do this to keep users on their toes. With a whopping 800 million active users, it's no surprise that platforms like Instagram like to keep their users guessing.

Read on to learn how you can crack the algorithm and adapt for massive social media success.

Does Facebook Have a New Algorithm?

Yes. Facebook's newest algorithm change happened earlier this year. Its focus is to place more emphasis on 'meaningful' interactions and less on branded ads. (This could also be a signal that brands may soon begin to expect the long-forecasted increase in Facebook's ad prices)

Also new to Facebook is monetized videos. What does this mean? Now videos that are uploaded to Facebook may experience mid-roll ads. This means that if you're watching a longer video, you can expect it to be interrupted with an advertisement.

The biggest shift in the Facebook algorithm, however, comes in how it prioritizes different types of engagement. This means that Facebook gives extra importance to active engagement over passive engagement.

Active engagement includes actions such as sharing or commenting on a post. Passive engagement, on the other hand, reflects actions such as liking a post or clicking a post's included link.

After Facebook's $1 billion Instagram acquisition, we've seen many new features added to the Instagram platform.

Instagram: Algorithm Updates & New Features

Many of these new features implemented on Instagram are designed to push out other platforms and help Facebook stay on top. Instagram has casually pushed out platforms like Vine with the introduction of short video and has caused a major upheaval for Snapchat with the addition of Instagram Stories.

Keeping their rivals on their toes has been a calling card for the IG platform and their algorithm updates have done much to keep their audience engaged as well. Instagram users who are looking to grow their accounts will often find that the addition of social media algorithm changes keep them guessing.

This means that successful methods users have previously used for effective engagement may no longer be relevant. Because of the algorithm change, your Instagram photos no longer show up on a user's feed chronologically. Instead, posts are now sorted to show users the most engaging posts first.

Let's look at what this means by imagining two photos on an Instagram feed. Photo A was posted 3 minutes ago by your Aunt Laura. The photo has received a normal amount of likes and comments associated with her account. Photo B is a photo by your Aunt Catherine. Aunt Catherine just had a baby and just posted her first picture with her new son 5 hours ago. Photo B received an overwhelming amount of engagement from the moment it was posted.

Which photo will be at the top of your Instagram feed? If you guessed Photo B, you're correct. Getting immediate engagement tells the algorithm that the post is important and relevant to users.

Here are our top tips for beating the Instagram Algorithm change:

Convert to a Business Profile

Converting your Instagram profile to a business profile is easy. You can easily do so by following a few simple steps and pairing your Instagram profile with a Facebook page.

Once your page has been successfully converted, you'll be able to view important insights about your account. This includes data points that will show you what days and times your followers are most active.

You'll also be able to compare impressions on your latest posts. This insight can show you what posts are most valuable to your followers and help you plan posts that perform well.

Seek Out Engagement Groups

If you're still having trouble getting that all important engagement, you may need some help. Instagram engagement groups can be helpful if you're looking to get the initial push needed to get your post onto your follower's feeds.

If you don't get the push, your post will likely get buried and never reach it's intended audience. So for some added help, seek out groups that will like and comment on your most recent posts.

These groups require reciprocal engagement, so expect to return the favor. While some DM groups form on the IG platform, many of the best engagement groups exist through an app called Telegram.

You can search for Telegram invite codes on Facebook. These codes will redirect you to a group chat where you'll be expected to read the group rules before posting your content.

While this algorithm work around is a bit time consuming, these active users can be helpful in making sure your posts get the attention they deserve.

Add Value

One engagement tool that's always successful? Creating content that adds value to your follower's lives. This can mean creating hair tutorials promoting your hair care products or instructional videos showing how to build an outdoor playhouse using your brand's power tools.

Giving your followers something for free that will improve their lives is always a great step toward the kind of engagement you'll need to stay at the top of your follower's feeds.

IGTV & The Social Media Algorithm

Another recent addition to the Facebook-owned Instagram platform is IGTV. IGTV is a newly added platform that allows users to upload long-form content similar to Youtube. The biggest contrasts between Youtube and IGTV are their content format and how users search and discover content.

As you may know, Google-owned YouTube and Facebook-owned Instagram allow users to search for content in two distinctly different ways. YouTube focuses on SEO based titles and descriptions that help users find what they're looking for. Instagram focuses on hashtags and user-based searches.

An Instagram user will likely find IGTV content by surfing the posts associated with a favorite profile, surfing the explore page for suggested content, or searching hashtags. A YouTube user, however, will likely type SEO style keywords into the YouTube search bar or form their search into a sentence.

Beating the Algorithm

Now that you know the latest in social media algorithm insights, you'll want to focus on creating quality content that generates engagement. Creating quality posts that stir your audience into action is the secret to social media success!

To learn more about SEO, digital content marketing, and how you can take your brand to the next level, visit our blog.

About the Author:

Jason Katsoris

Owner of Holyoke Marketing Company

Jason is a jack of all trades as he has experience as a web developer, account manager and marketing coordinator. He graduated from American International College with a Masters of Business Administration in 2012. Jason dabbles in just about everything from designing websites to creating high converting email marketing campaigns. He has experience working with Adobe Creative Suite, Google Analytics and DiVinci Resolve. Outside of work, you can find Jason outdoors, skiing, or hanging out with his German Shepherd.

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