New year, new algorithm.
If you're looking to build your business and brand on Instagram in 2018 check out these 4 tips to make sure your content is being seen.
1. Use hashtags wisely
Hashtags are a great way to get found by people that could be genuinely interested in your content. It's a unique search tool. The hashtags you use on each photo should be relevant to the post, your brand/business, and should have a fairly popular following. Did you know that Instagram actually has a growing list of banned hashtags? Using these hashtags (some as innocent as #happythanksgiving) can get you "shadowbanned". Take a look at the list here.
"There are two levels of censorship. Hashtags can either have an outright block, and return no results, or a sort of 'soft,' often more temporary censorship with around 30 results."- Nick Drewe, The Data Pack
But where should you put your hashtags? I'm sure you've seen a mix. But the best practice now is for your hashtags to be a part of your caption and NOT as the first comment. They're not likely to appear in searches and even worse, Instagram see's that as spam. Which leads us to tip #2.
2. Don't spam
If there is one thing that Instagram and Instagram users don't like, it's spam. So what does Instagram see as spam? Posting multiple images in one day. That's why they created the multiple upload feature. Using too many hashtags, the same hashtags in every post, or putting all of your hashtags in the first comment. On top of that Instagram knows when you're using 3rd party apps to boost likes, follows, and engagement. Using any 3rd party app that doesn't follow Instagram's Terms of Service can get you (dun dun dunnnn) shadowbanned.
Engagement is KEY. Instagram sees engagement as 4+ words in a comment. They reward content that gets engagement because it means you're providing content that people like and want to see. But because Instagram is owned by Facebook, I wouldn't be surprised if IG started shadowbanning accounts that use engagement baiting tactics (ie. Telling people to comment, like, share, and tag another user). If someone comments on your photo, respond! It's more engagement on your photo and it shows that there is an actual human behind the app...plus it's just plain ol' nice and good practice.
4. Change to a business account
If you're using Instagram for your business and you haven't already, in 2018, change your account to a business account. Instagram business accounts give you great insights and analytics on your page, individual posts, and stories ( we can all see who "views" our stories but did you know that some of those views are actually people swiping away from your story and not watching at all?). Not only are the analytics alone worth it, Instagram (again owned by Facebook) is realizing that Influencer Marketing is here to stay. People are profiting off of their platform and now they want a piece of the pie. Instagram business accounts are the only accounts that can create ads and if you're paying IG, they're going to like you. If you're an account with a huge following (think 10k +), Instagram also gives you the option to link directly to online websites via stories (if you've heard people say "swipe up"..that's what that is).
Happy New Year! Here's to making 2018 your best year yet on Instagram! If you have questions about hashtag research or if you want a free consultation, send an e-mail and let's get started!