A few weeks ago, the Instagram community started collectively freaking out over the mention of a new algorithm being put into place. As I watched my feed start to fill with pleas to turn on notifications for their accounts, I couldn't help but contemplate what this might mean for those of us who have used Instagram as a key tool in growing our businesses and connecting with an online community.
I didn't have my new site set up when this all happened, so I posted about it on Instagram at the time, but I wanted to follow it up and elaborate a little more on here.
If you were on Instagram over the few days that the announcement was initially made, you probably noticed the collective freakout happening. My first reaction - and this is without having read the "official" announcement - was to follow suit and ask for people to do the same for me, and to turn on post notifications.
After thinking about it though, I’m not sure post notifications are the answer for everyone. I, for one, am not a big fan of phone alerts (hello, distractions!), but I think there are other ways to tackle this change instead of taking on a negative mindset. And after voicing these thoughts on Instagram, it seemed pretty clear that I wasn't alone in these feelings.
FOCUS ON COMMUNITY
Since the new algorithm is largely based on what content you’re engaging with, and therefore what Instagram “thinks" you’ll like, be strategic with how you’re using the tool, and focus on using it as a community-building platform.
In other words, be social! Comment, like, and show a little love for your fellow girl bosses and insta gang.
There are so many opportunities to use Instagram to grow a thriving community and forge new relationships, but you have to put a little bit of effort in. Instead of just casually flipping through your feed take the time to leave an authentic comment on someones post. If you come across a new feed that catches your eye, scroll through some of their older posts and go on a little liking spree. When people leave comments on your photos, make sure you're responding and paying it forward. Your efforts won't go unnoticed, and you'll likely get a new Insta friend out of it.
CREATE COMPELLING CONTENT
Identify what your purpose with Instagram is and be intentional with your own posting. The platform has grown quickly and become saturated with amazing content, so it's no longer good enough to simply post an ok photo and hope for the best. There's a lot of competition and in order to stand out, you not only need high quality photos, but you also a strong point of view and style.
What will followers find on your feed that no one else can offer? How can you ensure that your photos will stand out?
We’re all in this together, and a change like this should be treated like a challenge that has the potential to make our businesses better. This change, and the social media self-reflection it inspired, played a big part in my decision to launch the #studioBchallenge, which is the first in a series of ideas I have to help others refocus their social media strategy.
Social media was integral to growing the Bicyclette brand and building a community back in the day, both online and off, and my intention is to help others figure out how they can use it for their own businesses and brands, whether that means building community, helping create beautiful content, or (ideally) both.
Let's do this!