Following in the footsteps of their parent company Facebook, Instagram has announced that it will soon release an algorithmic timeline. Since its inception Instagram feeds have been ordered chronologically – the most recent picture posted by someone you follow is at the top of your feed when you log in. Soon, however, the first post you see when you open the app will not necessarily be the most recent photo or video, but the post that is predicted to be most relevant to you based on Instagram’s algorithm.
The End of the Organic Social Era
Over the past few years, brands have seen their organic reach on Facebook dip significantly as a result of Facebook’s algorithmic updates. In an ongoing effort to make their platform as relevant to users’ lives as possible, Facebook introduced a number of ranking signals that prioritizes content that users are likely to engage with from other users who have had a strong history of engagement. These signals have pushed many of brands’ organic efforts down the News Feed and, subsequently, more brands have begun to significantly invest in paid social content on the platform. While Facebook’s organic reach may have all but disappeared for brands, they could still place some hope on organic successes on Twitter and Instagram… until now. Twitter recently announced a new “Show Me The Best Tweets First” timeline update, and now Instagram is also joining the algorithm party.
In response to these recent announcements, many brand marketers have lamented the loss of organic social as we know it. While it’s true that organic social’s potential is radically transforming, these updates are not entirely surprising. And just as they did with Facebook, brands will learn to adapt.
What Does This Mean?
Engagement is going to become a lot more important. Traditionally on Instagram, your content always had an opportunity to be seen. You may have only had a small fraction of followers who actually engaged with your content, but regardless of whether they were engaging or not, they were still seeing your content in the chronological feed. Now, engagement is everything. If you only receive engagement from a small fraction of your followers, it may be time to rethink your strategy. Engagement – likes and comments – send the signal that your content resonates with particular users and, subsequently, your content is important to them.
For brands, now is the time to really invest in a solid influencer marketing strategy. From now on engagement will be the key to success and visibility, on the platform, and if you want your brand to remain top of mind among Instagram users you’ll need to connect with influencers who can secure engagement. Influencers have been given their label for a reason – they have the ability to influence and move people to action, and furthermore, their followers are genuinely invested in everything they do and post. Brands, however, compelling and entertaining their content may be, are missing the human element. Instagram users inherently understand the relationships they have with brands — brands are ultimately trying to sell their products or service. While influencers may tout brands, their objectives for creating content are to engage with users and offer genuine value-adds to their followers’ lives.
Brands organic reaches may be diminishing across all social platforms, but they still have the ability to effectively share their messages on social media through digital influencers. While this Instagram update may significantly negate the performance of brands’ organic Instagram posts, it has the potential to significantly boost the impact of an influencer’s post. Influencers are able to maintain their statuses as influential digital personas because they consistently produce content that their followers care about and feel compelled to take action.
Are you interested in learning more about running a streamlined and effective influencer marketing campaign? Contact the Socialix team for a platform demo today.
Image source: The Next Digit