Businesses have been trying their best to please the Instagram algorithm put into place about a year ago and we’ve been patiently waiting for an update that would positively impact businesses. It’s been a long time coming but with the newest update to the Instagram explore page, it looks like we’re finally in luck.
New category tabs allow for users to find specific categories of content they are on the hunt for. If a user is looking for recipe ideas they would simply select the “Food” category and scroll away until they find something to their liking. With Instagram’s recent moves toward making their platform more “shoppable” the appearance of a “Shop” tab isn’t too surprising.
While it wasn’t surprising after the update, when we saw it, we were excited for our clients relying on e-commerce and the opportunities this new tab would give them. Instagram is giving back to the users AND businesses this round of updates by giving users personalized shopping guides while giving you the opportunity to put your products in front of new users who have an interest in similar products.
What does this mean for your business? Instagram might select your engaging post to put in these categories for an extended and organic reach. Before your get too excited, keep reading and make sure your content is eligible for this organic boost.
The original algorithm update put fear in all content creators and while we’ve been very positive about this update, don’t relax quite yet. If you want to appear on the new Explore page, your content needs to remain or become top notch because the daunting algorithm still plays a role in the new Explore page.
Instagram’s algorithm plays favorites with video and visually stimulating content. This might seem overwhelming but there have been many tools created with you in mind. Check out apps like A Color Story, A Design Kit, and Canva. They make creating graphic content easy, quick, and even intuitive to non-designers!
If you don’t think your feed aesthetic is important when it comes to gaining and keeping followers, we urge you to reconsider your Instagram strategy before it’s too late. Aesthetics are EVERYTHING on Instagram and keeping that in mind while creating content is important. Posting consistently and often (but not too often) is a great way to get users in the rhythm of seeing your content. Your goal is to be top of mind but not annoying, with amazing content every time. Sounds overwhelming? Let’s take this consistency idea step by step.
Step 1 – Create a Mood Board
Getting into the groove of consistency with your aesthetic can be difficult especially if you have a large team or personally like many different types of aesthetic Instagram accounts. We recommend creating some sort of mood board to grab hold of what your brand really represents. This can be a Pinterest board or a physical board with magazine cut outs. Being consistent is also much easier when you are being authentic – remember that. What colors, quotes, textures, images, etc. fit with your brand?
Let’s say your brand sells face cream. Is the packaging sleek and minimalistic or it is bright and fun? Do you offer floral or fruity scents? Is your face cream focused on being a sustainable option or is it focused on simply providing the best experience for your consumers? All of these questions and more can help you slowly create a mood board of quotes, colors, images, lifestyle shots, etc. that align with your brand.
Step 2 – Determine When to Post
Determining when you are posting and how often must be practical. Do you have an entire social team pumping out blogs, graphics, and other content all day long? Then setting the expectation of a social post once a day, a blog every other day, and up to three stories a day is do-able. Are you a one-man or two-man show? Then posting twice a week, one blog a month and a story whenever you have the chance might be more your speed. Don’t let anyone tell you more social posts is better if that means you are sacrificing the quality of your content.
Another easy way to add consistency to your posting is having a featured post on a specific day of the week. Post about all your new product releases every Monday or designate your Saturday for inspiring quotes or play off popular ones like Wine Wednesday or Flashback Friday. There are many ways brands utilize this to relate their brand with a day of the week. For example, Everlane does a story series every Tuesday called “Transparency Tuesday”. The consistency from this series has lead their followers relating Everlane with Tuesday. A day of the week. Now that’s impressive.
Step 3 – Check in on Your Consistency
Now that you have everything in place, doing quick self-audits once a week or month will keep you on track. This will allow you to step back and look at the big picture once more. If something isn’t working, take the appropriate steps to change things up but keep that consistent too…
Get Maximum Engagement
Instagram’s updated Explore page algorithm favors content receiving a lot of engagement, shortly after it’s been posted. In order to maximize your engagement, save your latest and most impressive graphic for the time your users are on Instagram the most. Make sure to have the appropriate hashtags in the first comment, add a location to your post, and tag appropriate people or products in the image.
Authentic engagement is important here. If you are a small brand with 700 extremely loyal followers who comment, save, share and like your posts, you might be better off than a large brand who gets a couple thousand likes but limited engagement. This engagement tells the Instagram algorithm that the content you’re creating is valuable and more users need to see it. At the end of the day, is your content getting people to open and use the Instagram app? Yes? Then Instagram wants more people to see that content.
Above all, it’s important to keep creating stunning content in order to take advantage of this update. Instagram has given us the opportunity for improved organic reach but only if we use our tools can we take advantage of it. The answer has been and always will be to create better content.
Mountain Mojo Group is located in Flagstaff, Williams, the White Mountains, and Page, Arizona and provides top-quality marketing solutions and design! Our team works with small businesses all across the state of Arizona, providing a variety of marketing and design services including, social media management, photography, videography, strategy, web design, graphic design, SEO, and paid search engine marketing. Our team of creatives is ready to tackle your next marketing project. Contact our team today at (928) 440-5301 or stop by one of our offices located throughout northern Arizona.
Sydney Clemann is Mountain Mojo Group’s Social Media Manager. Outside of the social media world she enjoys hiking, kayaking, knitting, and traveling.