If you’ve been following ArtsHacker’s recent exploration of Instagram, you’re already well on your way to making the most of this very visual social media tool. And change being the only thing you can rely on these days, Instagram recently announced they will be implementing an algorithm to show users posts they are “most interested in” first, rather than in strict chronological order.
This is in the same vein as how Facebook (and now Twitter, kinda-sorta) re-orders the timeline feed you see as a user, which is unsurprising considering the increasing usage and ongoing monetization of Instagram by corporations and brands.
Just like you’ve most likely experienced on Facebook, there’s (possibly) less chance your Instagram followers are going to see your posts, as it’s now up to a somewhat arbitrary algorithm to determine how close to the top of a user’s feed your content will appear.
So. What to do?
My Instagram timeline was inundated with a rash of posts begging me to “turn on notifications”. This will cause the follower to get a banner type notification on their mobile device when the account posts, presumably leading to the user instantly viewing the post, rather than coming across it in their timeline.
It’s easy for a user to turn on notifications. They just have to press on the three dots at the top right of the post and select “Turn On Post Notifications”.
This is certainly an option, but my caution is that you may not see huge uptake on this. I pretty much ignored posts like this in my feed (they got really old after the fifth one in a row), and I’ve already seen much digital eye-rolling on Twitter over these kinds of pleas.
That said, I suppose it’s probably not going to hurt if you’re really worried; if you’re going to do it, just try to come up with something that sounds reasonable and clever instead of desperate, ok?
Sure, it sucks that Instagram is now one more tool with seemingly inscrutable criteria for success, but let’s face it: if you’re posting interesting and targeted content your audience is engaging with through comments and likes, you’re going to be rewarded with better placement! If you’re just rehashing your PR and advertising copy through one more medium, you’ll likely be punished. It raises the bar and forces you to be timely, compelling, and consistent, but all those sound like good things to me.
Fortunately, ArtsHacker has your back: the previously mentioned resources are a great place to start in meeting this new challenge.