When Instagram algorithm changes were announced on March 15, small business owners everywhere lit a candle and cried.
On Tuesday my feed *blew up* with prickly graphics from biz owners that incited their audience to sign petitions, protest with a day of Instagram silence, and write a letter to Instagram’s customer service department.
Here’s why I think a complain-a-thon is a complete waste of time:
- Instagram doesn’t work for free and neither do you.
- The world doesn’t revolve around you and what suits the needs of your business. (Most people on Instagram don’t own a business.)
- Change happens.
- While you are taking the time to make a branded graphic on Canva describing your outrage, your competitors are figuring out how to make these changes work for them.
If you have already posted a cranky graphic on your Instagram and told everyone to sign a petition, DON’T BE EMBARRASSED. Your audience will forget about it by tomorrow.
You have two choices right now: Keep complaining or take action. If you want to take action, then let’s get to work.
What The Instagram Algorithm Changes Really Mean
Some business owners are misinterpreting the Instagram algorithm changes and blowing things WAY out of proportion. I know I’m not the only one seeing crazy rumors about Instagram posted in Facebook groups.
Let’s take a look at what the Instagram algorithm changes actually are.
FACT: Instagram is going to roll out a series of changes within the next few months. Yes, this is purposely vague. Instagram will do what it wants and likely make changes as they go.
FACT: Instagram is going to reorder the 150 photos in your newsfeed. Yes, 150. The truth is that you have never been able to see everyone’s content. Instagram has always limited the photos that show up in your feed to 150. That means that if you follow 400 people and they all post in the morning, you will only see 150 of their 400 photos. IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THIS WAY.
Instagram is going to prioritize the photos that they believe you will enjoy the most. (Who knows how they’ll do that. Whatever it is, they won’t tell you about it because then everyone will try to game the system. LOL.) Instagram has made it clear that you will still see all of the photos in your newsfeed. Will they make changes to that later on? Who knows? Who cares?
All we know is what is happening right now. Let’s spend our time and energy working with the information we do have.
Invite Your Peeps To Turn On Their Post Notifications
The simplest way to make sure that your audience never misses a post is to tell them to turn on their post notifications. When I talked about this on Periscope the other day, some people thought I was crazy. It even inspired one person to write a blog post all about why that’s a horrible idea.
It’s only a horrible idea if your content is crap. If you’re reading this now, you probably don’t post crap. You make social media a priority for your biz, but sometimes…you get a little lazy. Hey, it happens to everyone.
Before you invite your followers to turn on post notifications, give them a reason to do so.
1. HOST A FREE DAILY CHALLENGE
Hosting a free daily challenge is a great way to increase engagement and give value. Depending on who you serve, this could be personal or business related. A personal challenge may include getting organized, exercising more, meditating, giving thanks, etc. If you serve other business owners, then the challenge could be related to your paid offerings. For example, if you teach online courses about finance, then give a daily challenge that will improve their finances.
You aren’t telling people to turn on their notifications so you can blast them with ads, you are trying to give them some free value. This builds trust with your audience and leads to sales.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking: Well. I hate post notifications and my audience will, too. Nobody cares if you hate them. I’m suggesting that you invite your followers to do it. Believe it or not, you have some followers who freaking love you and would really appreciate it if you would tell them how to turn on notifications so they don’t miss out on anything.
Will they be annoyed? They will if your content is thumbs down bad (new phrase alert). Stop being afraid of pissing someone off. If someone finds your content annoying and unfollows you, they were never going to buy from you anyway. #byeboo
2. FLASH SALE or GIVEAWAY
This will only work if you don’t tell people when the sale or giveaway will be. Otherwise there is no incentive for them to turn on their notifications. It makes no sense to say: Turn on notifications so you won’t miss my flash sale on Tuesday at 2:15pm ET.
Here’s why I think a giveaway is a better choice than a flash sale. Your goal is to have as much of your audience as humanly possible turn on their notifications for your account.
What makes a better dangling carrot for them to take action: something discounted or something free?
Hosting a giveaway doesn’t mean you need to giveaway your entire farm. It can be something small, but make it related to what you sell. For example, if you sell online courses or services about nutrition, giveaway one of your ebooks or create a downloadable workbook that you can giveaway again and again. If you sell a product, use a giveaway to offload something that you have a surplus of. People love free. Again, I’m not suggesting you giveaway your hottest selling item that costs a ton of money to make. It can be small, but the word free adds excitement.
3. SHOWER YOUR FOLLOWERS WITH LOVE
The more you engage with your audience, the more they will engage with you. Don’t be stingy with your likes or with your attention. Here are four ways to show the love.
#1 Check who liked the last photo and then return the favor. This is a great way to train your audience to engage more with your photos. It also helps you get to know your audience. Who knows? You might make a new friend. At the very least, you’ll be taking a tiny step towards building a relationship with someone whom you have never interacted with before.
#2 Respond to every comment. Who do you think you are…Beyonce? You have the time to do it.
#3 Search people that use your hashtag and thank them for it. This seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes it gets put on the bottom of your To Do List. Move it up! How easy is it to search your hashtag, like the photos, and leave a few comments. Someone went through the trouble of copying and pasting your hashtag in their comments. LOL. The least you can do is like their photo or leave a heart emoji. Something.
#4 Repost a photo from one of your followers (with permission). Make sure to tag them and tell your audience why everyone needs to follow them ASAP. If you are a feed snob and refuse to allow the photos of others to grace your feed, then post one of your own photos and write about them in your caption.
GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR INSTAGRAM GRAPHICS
Sure, you could just TELL your audience to turn on post notifications. But, today we’re gonna DO BETTER. Don’t just tell your audience, teach them. Build trust and lead them through the process.
As some of you know, I lead a STANDOUT Facebook group full of Wham Bam Instagram students who purchased access to the guided version of the course. Now, this course is not for Instagram newbies.
What you’re about to see proves that. You see, ever since we found out about the Instagram algorithm changes, we’ve been hatching plans in our little Facebook group and having group calls about what to do next.
Jennifer (A Domestic Wildflower) got the ball rolling by sharing a rough draft of a graphic she was working on that would show her audience how to turn on their notifications.
After that, Taylor (Code Love Creative) was like: How about this one, tho?
Do you pledge to calm down and try out AT LEAST one of these things? Leave a comment below and tell us which tip you’re going to try.