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Is Instagram’s algorithm going to mess up our reach?

Back in March of 2016, Instagram began to enter an algorithm into their newsfeed.  You may have noticed that when you login to your personal profile on Facebook that it’s not a real-time feed.  You may see posts from yesterday, or even days prior to that, and you’ll probably also see some posts over and over from people that you interact with a lot.  Facebook will push things in front of you, the most, that they feel you should be seeing.

Since you have so many friends and you like so many pages, your Facebook timeline can get very noisy.  If it were a real-time feed, things would get really crazy, so they took that away a long time ago.  Well, Twitter and Instagram used to work the same way.  They were real-time feeds.  So, if you were on one of these platforms at the right time, you would be able to see what your brother or sister or favorite brand was posting, but if you weren’t then you would have to search around for the post a bit.  These platforms have gotten noisier over the years too, meaning that there’s more there to like and follow, and all of this goes into your feed.

There’s more and more going on all of the time, and that puts you in the position to miss a lot.  Twitter and Instagram want you to stay engaged with them, so they have to give you what you want.  That’s why they are tweaking their feed to have a better algorithm.  Just like Facebook, Instagram is going to start calculating what you engage with the most and tweak their algorithm so that stuff comes up the most.

It’s really important that Instagram does this, but this creates a problem for us, as marketers.  This causes us to lose our organic reach.  You can have 20,000 fans, but the people who are no longer buy diclofenac patches engaging with your brand, aren’t seeing your stuff as much.  When the algorithm kicks in, it may kick your posts out for the people who aren’t engaging.  So, this means that you’re going to have to keep your posts engaging in order to stay active in people’s newsfeeds.  If you’re just posting a flyer for your lady’s night every Friday, there’s nothing engaging about that and people are just going to ignore it.

If your posts aren’t engaging enough, you’re going to lose your reach very quickly.  Maybe you need to let people know about your lady’s night, but you might do something like put a picture of some pretty girls on there to try to get more people to engage with that post.  You might change the picture up every time, or you might put in a message that asks people to comment for a chance to get in free.  You’ll want to do everything that you can to try to get people to like, comment, and interact with your posts more, in other words.

Look, engagement is what social media is all about.  If you didn’t like to see flyers on your car back in the 80s and 90s, what makes you think that people care to see them in their social media timeline?  You would have chunked the flyer that you found back in the day, and that’s essentially what people do when they scroll past fliers on social media.  If you want to stay in people’s timelines on social media, you have to make sure that you’re engaging people with your content heavily and putting out posts that people want to see.  That’s the key to winning on Instagram and all these other important platforms.

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