So many things have been happening recently, and with the majority of the world’s businesses scrambling to command attention from their niche online, it’s important that you stay in the game. Especially when it comes to advertising your brand on Instagram.
As you probably notice, Instagram is continually changing and refining its algorithms to keep up with the changing business and online landscape. So here are some key things you need to understand about Instagram, just to make sure that you’re not falling behind on your social media strategies.
First things first, let’s talk about an exciting NEW IG feature coming to the US next month!
Introducing Instagram Reels
Instagram is finally stepping things up against its competitor, TikTok, with an upcoming feature that will reel (pun intended) TikTok’s users over to Instagram.
Want a sneak peek?
Let’s dive in!
So, what’s Instagram Reels?
Instagram Reels is very much similar to TikTok. This feature allows IG users to record and edit short videos within IG Stories, and add audio and music to their videos as well. This feature has actually already rolled out in some countries such as France and Germany although we don’t know anything much about it as Facebook has been mum on the topic.
If there’s one information that we do know, however, it’s that Instagram Reels is not Facebook’s first attempt to dislodge TikTok from its popularity among Generation Z. In fact, in the latter part of 2018 Facebook launched its own version of TikTok as well, the Lasso app. Unfortunately that attempt failed to gain the traction that Facebook hoped for, and it was eventually shut down.
Now Facebook is putting in every effort into the Instagram Reels feature, hoping that Instagram’s popularity will help make IG Reels a success. And with countries like the US and India seeking to ban TikTok because of its ties to China, Instagram Reels’ timing couldn’t possibly be any better.
Of course, how the US market will respond to this latest Instagram feature remains to be seen, considering that the US has roughly 80 million TikTok users and that TikTok has already garnered over 2 billion downloads since its launch.
Instagram Reels vs. TikTok
You’re probably wondering whether IG Reels will have features not available on the TikTok app, but until the feature is rolled out here in the US, we can’t really tell for certain just yet. What we do know right now is that apparently Reels videos can’t exceed 15 seconds. That’s significantly lower compared to TikTok’s 60-second video limit.
Other than that difference, we’ll have to wait and see for ourselves next month.
Meanwhile, you need to focus on getting your posts to rank on Instagram. Want to know how Instagram ranks posts these days?
It’s all about user experience
The Instagram algorithm has always placed a heavier emphasis on user experience in terms of ranking posts. And in the recent years, Instagram has grown smarter at guessing the types of posts and content that its users want to see.
Remember how they ditched that algorithm where your feed shows posts chronologically? That’s all part of the transition to a largely user-centered platform. In other words, the system just keeps track of the content you usually engage in to get an idea of what content to show you the next time you check your feed.
What does this all mean for you as a brand on Instagram?
Simple. You need to figure out how to make your content more appealing to your target audience, so much so that they engage with it. That in turn will ‘tell’ Instagram to put your posts right in front of them every time they scroll down their feed.
So how exactly can you boost your engagement?
Well, most definitely NOT by automating your comments and likes! Automations may have worked years ago, but not anymore.
Instead, work on keeping your posting consistent. Take note though that you don’t have to post content every day just to stay active on the platform. In fact, posting every day may come off as spammy.
Another thing that can help you boost engagement is by regularly interacting with those who comment on your post. Or if you don’t have the time to respond to their comments one by one, then leaving a simple heart on their comments can go a long way to encourage them to engage in your posts regularly.
How Instagram ranks and rates your content
Rumor has it that Instagram places greater value on video content as compared to photos, but that is actually NOT the case. While it is true that videos allow for more engagement because they require people to spend more time watching the entire thing than they would if they just looked at a picture, Instagram’s way of rating your content is impartial.
In other words, Instagram rates your photos the same way it does your videos—based on the engagement for each of your content.
So it’s important that you optimize each content you post to generate more engagement. Here’s how you can do that:
- Make your content worth saving for later.
- Determine the best time to post your content by checking when most of your audience are online
- Encourage people to comment or like your posts (without sounding desperate)
- Invest in influencer marketing to expand your audience reach and build brand familiarity and trust
The bottom line is this: The only way for you to get noticed on Instagram (and stand out from millions of other brands) is by making sure you engage with your audience regularly.
Forget buying fake followers, or automating your likes and comments, and focus instead on producing quality content that actually brings value to your audience. That’s precisely how to make Instagram love your brand.
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More About Social Sensei
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