Instagram is everyone’s favorite platform, but it’s also the platform that confuses more people than ever. There have been stories of “shadowbanning”, the use of hashtags confuses some people royally, and with all of the new features within Instagram (Stories, feed, IGTV) creating and sharing content on Instagram can be more complicated and confusing than ever.
I have an Instagram theory. And that theory is that when you use all the things, Instagram likes that. You can do an Instagram Story and you use the Poll feature, the Questions feature, the Chat feature, or even the Mention feature, and you can post to your feed and then you can share that to your story, and then you can go and DM people, and then you can follow new people, and you can use hashtags and geo-tags, and you can create IGTV’s, Instagram sees all of that as valuable and boosts your content, making your account much more visible.
But seriously, who has time for that?! I know I certainly don’t and my chest was getting tight just saying all of that.
While all of these features are fun and great and yes, effective, I do think it’s important to pay attention to what is going on inside of Instagram and what they are promoting currently. Part of marketing your business on Instagram is knowing what changes have recently been made and what those changes are favoring.
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, the thing that grinds my gears the most about online entrepreneurship is the excuse that whatever new algorithm change has happened, on whatever platform it is that you’re complaining about, is killing your content. If you’re building your business by using social media as a lead generator, then you sure as heck better know what the algorithm is, what it favors, what it doesn’t favor, and what to do to play to the algorithm.
It makes me CRAZY when I hear online entrepreneurs becoming victims of the algorithm, because it’s simply not true.
When you are approaching your Instagram marketing, keeping in mind those new changes and focusing on those new changes can help your content to get rewarded in the algorithm, which means you’ll get more visible, which is what we all want.
Right now, on August 12, 2019, this is a collection of what’s working NOW on Instagram. So if you’re in the future listening to this episode or reading this blog post, this content is probably not accurate anymore.
So let’s dive in. And I should state this:
This collection is what is working NOW on Instagram, based on personal experiences for me and my team.
1. Sharing your IGTV to your feed.
Recently Instagram announced that IGTVs are going to be able to be found on the Explore page. This wasn’t always the case. IGTV’s used to live only on the IGTV tab, but now they can go everywhere! In the feed, on Stories, they are much easier for other people to share now, AND they are more search friendly through the use of hashtags. By having all of these features, as far as I’m concerned, Instagram is TELLING us that they want us using them. Which tells me that we should all listen and use the features that Instagram is developing.
So I did an experiment. I’ve committed to doing an IGTV every Wednesday in Q3 of this year. I wanted to see if using them created more traction. The very first one I did I didn’t send to my feed. I sent it to Stories, but that’s it. And I got around 200 views. Which I was pretty happy with. I figured if 200 people saw that content, that was great.
Now the second one I did, I tried something different. I not only send it to my Stories, but I also sent it to feed. This video got over 1,000 views! Whaaaat?! The only thing that I did differently this time was send it to my feed.
If you’re confused by this whole talk of sending it to Stories or to my feed here is a bit of a dive deeper into this.
If you want to send an IGTV to your feed here’s what you do:
When you go to post an IGTV right before you hit publish, you can actually select to send it to your feed. This is a post, within your standard Instagram feed, that is the first 60 seconds of your IGTV. And when someone clicks on it, it opens up your entire IGTV episode in the IGTV tab.
Now when I say that I’m sending my IGTV’s to Stories here’s what I mean:
After the IGTV posts, you go in and find the little paper airplane icon right below the video. When you hit that you have the option to send it to your Instagram Stories. You can add a GIF or a caption, but when someone watches your Story, they can click on it and open up your entire IGTV episode in the IGTV tab.
2. Focusing on getting your content saved and shared.
Instagram is currently testing hiding your “likes” from accounts other than yourself. So publicly no one will see how many likes your images get in your feed. This feature is currently being rolled out in multiple countries, like Australia.
Now, Instagram has said that this is because of mental health reasons. While most of us use social media for massive good and have a healthy relationship with our accounts, there are some people who’s worth is wrapped up in if people like their images, if they get comments, and how many followers they have. And this can wreak havoc on their mental health. So by getting rid of public metrics, like “likes”, this puts less emphasis on validating that individual’s worth as a living, breathing, human beings and child of God, through likes on their Instagram images.
A lot of people are distraught over this who idea of not publicly stating their images’ likes. As far as I’m concerned if getting rid of this feature publicly means that some people experience the world in a less hostile way, I’m all for it. I say change it all and I welcome those changes.
And let’s be totally real here, if you’re one of the ones who is devastated by this announcement, you have to come to this realization:
There is nothing you can do about the changes, so you might as well embrace them and move on.
Now, Instagram is going to be deciding if the content you’re sharing on the platform is more valuable by tracking the saves and shares.
Here is where you can find the save for later button:
And here is where you can find the share button:
So how do we increase these actions? We can’t control other people and what they do, so how do we encourage the save and/or share? I think it has to do with a couple of key things to think about:
If you want people to save or share your content, then you should act accordingly. You should be saving other accounts’ content or using that share button to spread their amazing message if it aligns with yours. Treat other people’s content how you want yours treated, and that energy will come back to you.
Every time you create content ask yourself, “Is this good enough for another account to share it or even save it for later? If it’s not, then adjust it until it is.
Tell your audience what you want them to do! If you want them to save or share it, then tell them to save or share it! You can’t fault anyone for NOT saving your content or sharing it, if you don’t tell them to do it.
I’ve heard “Instagram experts” say that these changes are now the death of hashtags. And I actually totally disagree. Instagram was founded around the idea of hashtags. They’re not going away anytime soon. How we use them might change, yes, but they’re not going anywhere.
On the other hand, using the same hashtags over and over again will result in your content not getting seen. You have to mix up your hashtags. I like to use hashtags that don’t have more competition than my followers.
Let me explain this one a bit more.
Let’s say I use #mompreneur in a post. Makes sense for me to use that hashtag since that’s my entire brand and who I serve, right? In theory, yes, I should ABSOLUTELY use his hashtag. But if someone who has a 1 million following uses it and I use it (and I have about 27,000 followers) my content is going to get buried pretty quickly. So I like to pick hashtags that have a similar reach as I have followers.
So what I do is go inside of Instagram and search a hashtag. Now when I search #mompreneur I see that that hashtag has 6.3 million posts. But if I scroll down I see that #mompreneurlifestyle has about 18,000 posts. Odds are with my 27,000ish following, my content would get seen under that hashtag fairly easily. And if I go into that hashtag and click the most recent posts, I see that those posts get similar results as my posts do. So these accounts won’t bury my account with their massive posts, so it makes sense for me to use that #mompreneurlifestyle over #mompreneur.
What you can be doing is creating banks of hashtags to rotate in and out. I use the Saved Captions feature inside of Later to store hashtags for me to use. So I have bank of location-specific hashtags, two options for the podcast, a mompreneur collection, a business strategy collection, a kid-specific collection, and many, many more. I can rotate these in and out of my posts as often as I want and need them.
You can also use hashtags within your Stories and your IGTV’s making these platforms more and more visible because of the strategic use of a bank of hashtags that you save.
Now, this brings me to the next question you’re probably having.
What do we do if our ideal client doesn’t use hashtags? How do we find ideal clients if we can’t search for them. There are a couple of things you can do here:
First, search based on location. In the search bar at the top you and select “Places” and then search accordingly.
Second, I’m sure you have colleagues or people in your network who serve the same type of clients you serve, you can find new people to interact with or follow by checking out who follows them.
And third, Instagram can and will actually suggest new people for you to follow based on the accounts you follow, your activity, and your habits within the platform. All you need to do is go to your account, click the hamburger at the top right hand side of the screen, select “Discover People”, and then go to “Suggested” and find new people to interact with!
So that is a pretty comprehensive look into what’s working NOW on Instagram. I hope you loved today’s episode! If you did, ready for what I’m about to ask you to do? Head over to Instagram and share your biggest takeaway from today’s episode on your InstaStories! I’d always appreciate a tag, so hook a sister up!
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