Instagram

Is There A New IGTV Rewarded Algorithm?

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Is there a new Instagram algorithm? Every time something on our favorite app shifts, I get an inbox full of "Is there a new Instagram algorithm?" As far as I know and the trusted sources that I communicate with, there is no such thing as a "new" Instagram algorithm.

Instagram is consistently testing, adding, and removing features. Updates are happening on the weekly, the daily, even on the hourly. Currently, Instagram is testing the removal of "likes" in the following markets: Canada, Italy, Japan, and Australia with more to come. Instagram is testing for the overall elimination of "likes" from the platform, which begs the question of will this leave room and forces people to engage more?

There's a rumor floating around that there is a new algorithm in place that favors heavily on using IGTV. Y'all this isn't new news. Anytime ANY platform releases an upgrade; they heavily prefer the content of the accounts that are using said new feature because they want to promote this new feature internally. IGTV is a little over a year old. I have my hypothesis about the "new" IGTV algorithm. Since I have gotten 10 DMs and four emails asking me about this new IGTV algorithm includes that y' all aren't currently frequenting this neighborhood. I hypothesize that since it's release on June 20, 2018, this neighborhood hasn't grown in the masses that Instagram thought that it would become. That in its 13-month lifespan it hasn't taken down Youtube or even really showed up in the ring as a heavily favored competitor of Youtube as I feel the end goal was. I think that this is the basis of the "new" IGTV preferred algorithm. When the facts point to if you are present on IGTV, you are rewarded for frequenting this neighborhood that Instagram wants to grow. It's like going to a street fair, and you are handed coupons from vendors to come to their establishment for 10% off or a free something or other. You are there in their "platform," and they want to reward you for showing up and showing interest by giving you something in return.

For a few months there, I was animate about recording and adding IGTV content; it helped everything in my digital marketing world for sure. However, life and client work got the better of me, and my IGTV fell to the side. Do I think that not regularly posting to my IGTV is what is hurting views and likes? Nope

I have been marketing on this platform since it's infancy and I've seen and heard it all. In almost nine years on this platform, three straightforward things lead to some measurable "success"

Consistency

A unique photo

Tell a story

Consistently show up by posting, commenting, and interacting in whichever neighborhood of this platform you enjoy the most: your feed, stories, IGTV where the eff ever. But keep showing up. When people trust that they will hear from you, they will buy from you or recommend you to someone who will buy from you.

Sharing a unique photo sets you apart. When I hear from people that they know they photo is from me before they even look at the account name, that feels good. Stop trying to copy everyone else who you think is doing it right and post what is you.

Tell a story, digital marketing is just digital storytelling. If you want to grab peoples, attention tells them a story. We are nosy by nature and want to know ALL the details about the people that we follow and the brands that we purchase from. Give people something that they can relate to because while our experiences are all unique to us, someone somewhere can connect on a personal level.

Please do me a favor; if you haven't heard it from a credible source such as Instagram, someone with an in at Instagram, or some nerd who subscribes to EVERY email that comes from reliable digital sources that have ins at Instagram, then it's just a rumor.

The Social Media Apocalypse What's Your Digital Marketing Back Up Plan

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The social media apocalypse of Facebook and Instagram being down is happening. It’s March 13, 2019, Mercury in retrograde and we’ve been experiencing the biggest meltdown in social media history.

Since 8am PST people around the globe have been unable to get into both Facebook and Instagram. At the coffee shop today the world seemed a bit quieter, people are having these things called conversations with each other instead of being preoccupied with snapping a quick picture of their latte to put on their Instagram story. (Ahem I am guilty of this as well, sometimes.) I don’t know if this is because we are all secretly freaking out just a little bit.

I will say that I have enjoyed the silence of only having to focus on other digital marketing platforms for my clients that do not include a member of the “Facebook Family” for one day.

The real question we should be asking is, “ Will Facebook and Instagram be back tomorrow?” Honestly, that could happen. We could wake up tomorrow with the same messages on our pages, or they could be erased forever. As of this posting Facebook, reps are saying, “Facebook is down for required maintenance. We will be back soon.” Historically when huge expansive platforms such as Facebook and Youtube have done an update it’s only been 1-3 hours, as of this writing we are going into hour number 12.

If this outage has taught us anything it should be to not put all of your eggs in one basket. I’ve been saying it in talks and to clients since the first Zuckerberg Senate hearings, start thinking about your digital marketing backup plan.

If these platforms do not exist tomorrow, do you have access to your customers? Do you know your customer's email addresses and how to get in touch with them? The only real channels that are guaranteed for you to directly communicate with your customers or clients are your blogs and your email campaigns. I know these are such a pain in the ass to do. These digital marketing campaigns actually take a bit of time, I get that. You can’t post a pretty picture and write an emotionally touching caption to get your message out there. But you should start considering a plan B.

There are other great platforms to build a presence on as well Youtube and Pinterest are two that if you are not already tinkering around on you should at least begin investigating.

Lately, I’ve been pushing current clients toward my Pinterest management package because it is a powerful search engine that as of right now I don’t see going anywhere but up. The power of brand awareness that Pinterest offers is incredible if you know how to use it. Start here, you already have amazing photo content of your products which is half the battle, because you have been posting those awesome images to Instagram. Just start posting them with a good description to Pinterest as well.

Consider blogging as well, if you are a service based business or a product based business you have things to say, things that your target market IS searching for.

I am really thinking positive that the “Facebook Family” figures it out and that we are back in action soon but then again if they don’t we’ll figure it out. We are in this together.

What Is Your Instagram Neighborhood?

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The best piece of advice that I got recently was to step back and look at Instagram as an entire city but with three neighborhoods.  This resonates with me because in case you don't already know I moved to Portland via Chicago.  Chicago is a very neighborhood centered city, Wicker Park, Logan Square and Pilsen to name a favorite few. The beautiful thing about big cities is the many different neighborhoods inside of them, each with their character, their feeling, their vibe. 

If you happen to live in a big city, think for a moment about the places that you tend to spend a majority of your time.  How many different neighborhoods do you frequent? Obviously, the area that you live in but are there others that you travel to for a particular coffee shop or a one of a kind gift store that you find that unique item for someone? 

Keep this in mind as we step back to look at Instagram the same way as we are looking at a big city. There are three diverse neighborhoods within Instagram, the feed, the stories and the lives. However, the one similarity amongst all of them is that they each require a neighborly manner to thrive.  You know where you reach out and chat with a person and aren't just lurking neighborhood watching them.  

The Feed

This is obviously the epicenter of the city of the Instagram city. The feed is where the perfectly curated posts and thoughtful words live.  The space that gets the majority of the friendly neighbor to neighbor chatting.  

The Stories

Stories are north of the city center and are a welcoming community that shows a more personal and attainable side. Stories is a place to show more of what your every day looks like and who you are as a person.  The problem here is like any neighborhood place you tend to frequent if you get annoyed with the oversharing that someone is doing you turn your head and avoid contact with them.  This neighborhood is an excellent place to people watch because everyone is doing their own then but conversations are hardly ever started. 

The Live

The Neighborhood that everyone says is up and coming. Realistically this feature should have taken off like gangbusters but over a year later it's still that up and coming place. Some of the neighbors here are still just not sure what to do with it yet.   

By now you have undoubtedly figured out which two neighborhoods are your favorites. The two favorites you should be posting to frequently the other it's ok to make a weekly or monthly commute to, but you shouldn't forget about it all together.  

 

State of Instagram: Recent Updates

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There are two updates which happened on Instagram that I am excited to share with you.

1. The ability to have active hashtags in your profile. Seriously go to your phone, edit your profile and add your business specific hashtag to your profile. Having your personalized hashtag in your profile is a  way for people that are in your profile to click on your hashtag and see an entire representation of your work in just one click.

 

2. Reposting in stories. While this feature hasn't rolled out to everyone yet, it slowly will. This isn't going to be one of those 10K to play updates.  When your account gets the feature, you will be able to share new feed content directly to your stories. This will eliminate the taking a screenshot of your feed, blocking out the photo or video as a preview to get them to click over. Followers will now be able to click the story slide and be directly taken to the content in your feed.

To see if you already have this feature on your post click the paper airplane and in the “Send To” your story feed should be listed below the Facebook Story button.  Click your story name button and send. It will prompt you to a new story slide and you can write whatever information you want on the slide and press the story send to button.

The Power of Location Tags

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I am fresh off of Social Media Week Austin, and my head is full of ideas and information to pass along to you friends.  I have so many things to share with all of you in the next few weeks. However today I wanted to talk about how vital adding a location to your Instagram post is and how it will help you in the algorithm because we all want help in the algorithm right?

Let's begin with the way people search for information which is as follows:

1. Google

2. YouTube

3. Social Media

When I booked my travel to Austin for social media week, I decided to experiment for the sake of content and education. All of the things that I was going to do with my downtime in Austin was going to be determined by posts I had seen or were sent to me solely on Instagram.  I set up the  Austin Collection, and anytime I searched and found photos of things I wanted to eat, drink or experience I saved it to the group. 

The thing is by now we know that the Instagram Algorithm LOVES it when you are engaged and social in posts. Saving posts and sending posts to other people tells the algorithm that actual photo is interesting, and when said photo starts to get a bunch of saves and sends the algorithm starts boosting that post and account up to potentially appear on the elusive EXPLORE page. 

There are plenty of reasons why photos get saved and sent because they are beautiful, the caption speaks to the person reading it, or you know some other petty reason. What will help you so much if you have a stunning image along with a caption that speaks to someone is if you correctly tag the photo. People are now typing into the search bar the locations of places they are traveling to for ideas of things to do when they get there. Haven't you noticed when you'd been out and about that location with high numbers of social media posts attached to them are usually very busy? Location tagging is yet another form of word of mouth advertising.

As a business account, we naturally want as many eyes to find out photos that can, and we should be using every resource available to us to achieve this goal. Case and point location tagging your posts when you are out and about.  When I am about to try out a new place I tend to go straight to social media and check the geotag and any hashtags that revolve around an area I am about to visit. I love doing this for two reasons:

1. When I have saved a post and the geotag has the address that automatically opens up in my maps and allows me to navigate to it.

2. I am nosy, and I want to know what it looks like, how others perceive the place, I want to know if the area cares about how others are "advertising" for them and how they are "advertising" themselves.  By doing this, I have had my fair share of experiences of walking into a beautiful restaurant or shop and not having the most fantastic food, or experience that 100's of foodies or influencers posts said was terrific. 

 

While I was searching the Austin geotag this renovated airstream came up along with the person talking about how this was one of the most exceptional Air BNB experiences they had. I noticed that the airstream had its hashtag, so I began looking at all of the posts attached to it, and after reading a few more posts I moved over to Air BNB to see if it was available. If you are someplace that you think is amazing or you just took a really dope photo, make sure that you geotag and tag the place in the post. Your audience wants to know what you like, and you never know who is researching, saving and sharing posts for a trip or searching of ideas for new things to do in their town. 

State Of The Instagram Algorithm

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Extra, Extra read all about it the Instagram updates.  I'm going to break the changes down into three categories; post exposure, engagement, and hashtags.

Post Exposure
If you've been following along, you know that when you post something to Instagram, it may only be getting exposed to 10% of your audience. If your brand new post gets engagement right out of the gate, you're in luck because then the post will be released to the other 90% of your audience relatively soon. You've certainly seen posts from up to 12 hours to an entire day before showing up in your feed out of order.

Remember those comment pods that everyone was going crazy for in 2017? If you are still a part of these pods, they are not doing your account or the people that comment on your post any favors.  They are hindering you and here's why, Instagram keeps track of who is messaging your photo and when you message your own photo then you get a blow up of comments, well they know something is up.  Authentic engagement is what matters, not solicited but we'll get to that.

If you are posting like a business and thinking like a business why aren't you, in fact, a business account? Seriously, if you are in any way shape or form promoting your business but haven't moved on from a personal account, you are sabotaging yourself.  The time is now to switch over, there are so many perks, you have access to so many statistics to make sure that you are reaching your target audience. 

Engagement

Engagement is by far my favorite topic. I will never understand how accounts can post and post and post and never talk to their followers or another account.  This is a social network in 2018 it is no longer an option to post without engaging with others. In kindergarten, we all learned the golden rule of playing well with others. Let's think of your new golden rule is to engage well with others.  One of the most frequent questions I get asked is if it's ok to engage once a week? No, you should be commenting and chatting for at least 20 minutes every day with your following and other accounts that are using your hashtags.  20 minutes is vital because you want to raise your exposure and engaging with others helps this so much, 
In your 20 minutes of engaging, please do not leave comments such as, "great pic" "love this" or just a single emoji. It's a waste of time because with comments like this the algorithm will think that you are a bot.  Instead, write a complete sentence or at least four words before an emoji. 
Storying is another excellent way to bump up your engagement and pop up more in peoples feeds.  The stories that appear first in your feed are the accounts that you engage with the most.  Story more often and give people a reason to see you first. 

Hashtags
I know how you love to keep your caption aesthetically pleasing and post the hashtags in the comment.  Well, I'm sorry to say that based on my own experience the reach is better when hashtags are posted in the caption.  Include hashtags in the body of your caption if you want to be seen by more than 10% of your audience. This change has been fluid for about a year. To make this work for you instead of against you, write your epic caption, six dots than your hashtags. 

While you can use 30 hashtags in a post, don't do it every time. If you do, make sure that you are switching them up. Instead, consider three sets of ten hashtags and alternate them with filler tags relevant to your photo.

What could be seen as spam comments= shadow banning which = little to no business which = little to no money. 

New Features

There are also some awesome new features that will work in your favor.  You've seen the explore feed, the specially curated collection of posts based off of your interests and the people you follow.  Well, people that you do not follow that share interests with you will begin to show up in your feed. Yep, that's right strangers will begin popping up in your feed, which in turn means that you will be popping up others feeds. This is great because when you comment on these photos you will be exposed to a new following of people. 

At the end of last year, it was rolled out that you could begin to follow hashtags. This is one feature that totally brings me so much joy because gone are the days of typing certain hashtags into the search bar to interact with. The rumor is that your account will be favored if you follow hashtags. Start small, consider following your top five favorite hashtags. 

That's all I got for you so far, I am working on the Facebook update post because there are so many things about to change over there. 

Instagram Story Highlights

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Have you noticed that under your Instagram profile a space for your story highlights?  Instagram is copying Snapchats Memories feature and going a step further, by letting you create a permanent home to show off your best stories.  For the purposes of this post I am going to call this your "highlight reel" because it should be 3 or 4 of your best Instagram story slides. Images or videos that will help a potential customer or client really know the person behind the brand. 

If you are not using stories, I'm here to say that you really need to start.  This update reflects just how serious Instagram is about Stories. Though the company (which has gone months on end without significant app updates prior to Stories) has been spinning out new features for more than a year now, updates have barely touched profiles themselves. This is because a majority of the masses are posting well-curated images once a day. We as members were and are not posting nearly enough as Instagram wants, hence why stories came about. 

Stories highlights could help to convert more people into followers by teasing the types of stories that your brand posts. According to Instagram, 200 million people view at least one brand’s profile page on any given day, but two-thirds of those people don’t follow the brand. Now the brand can use Stories Highlights to show them more of what they’re missing. Stories highlights mean that you need to step up your stories game. I'm not talking every post needs to be perfectly filtered but the ones that you think would benefit you by living on your highlight reel need to be your A game material.

For example, if you are a brick and mortar store or a venue that people could rent out to host an event make a top-notch video tour as a story and have it live on your highlight reel.  Let people into your space show them something that you don't want to permanently live in your little squares. Another idea would be to create a story slide about an upcoming promotion or sale that you are having and allow that to live on your highlight reel.   Highlights is a place where you can really showcase more of your stuff, where you can let video live and actually tell a story in your voice about your brand.

Keep in mind as well that hashtags are searchable in stories. While you should only use one or two hashtags on a story slide make sure that they are a good one. 

If you want some personally tailored ideas on what to do with your highlight reel, holla atcha girl. 

5 Tips For A Money Making Instagram Bio

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 Let's discuss your businesses Instagram Bio. Your bio is one of the first things that a potential client or buyer is going to see. They are either going to find your bio by clicking over from one of your rad photos that showed up in their feed or they are going to type what you do into the Instagram search bar and find you that way.

Wait you didn't know that people can find you by typing what you do into the Instagram search bar? Well, I'm here to tell you that they can. You know that bold line right below your profile picture which probably says your First and Last Name right now. That is called the header and it's totally searchable in the search bar. 

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1. Header: Automatically Instagram will fill your header (name bar) in with whatever name you registered the account under. You should erase this immediately and instead write searchable keywords that describe your service, brand or product. This way you will show up when a potential client or customer begins a search of these words.  You have 30 characters to use in your header, make them count. 

2. Body: Tell your audience and ideal customer what you do right off the bat. Think of this space as your 20-second "elevator pitch" written in a sentence that you give at networking events. 

3. Personalize: You should have more than enough room and characters left to add one or two personal things about you after your "elevator pitch".  Include something personal about you like you love Target, an emoji of your favorite food or a pin of where you currently are. 

4. Call To Action: What do you want people to do next? Do you want them to click on your stories? Do you want them to click to download your e-course?  Whatever you want them to do you need to describe because...

5. Link: Whatever your call to action is this is the link to it. Promote your latest project, your opt-in offer, even just your website. This is the place you want new visitors to click and go down the rabbit hole of your business' world. 

The Instagram bio is the first thing I check out when I'm searching and find photos I like. Why? Because I'm nosy and want to see if I like all of their work and read a little about who they are. Instagram is a social network key is to make a good first impression and get some type of engagement started. Remember you only have 150 characters so make the most of it. Be clear, be strategic, be intentional. Your Instagram bio only has one purpose: tell your ideal client how YOUR brand can help THEM.

20 Minutes To A Healthier Instagram

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Is 20 minutes really enough time to get something accomplished, to save your health to grow your social media engagement?  Today we are going to explore whether 20 minutes is actually enough.

Here's the deal we all bitch and moan about the "new" Instagram algorithm, which isn't even new anymore.  The current algorithm is now the standard, in Instagramming.   Here's the deal are you just double tapping on posts or are you actually commenting on the photos that you like?  If you answered that you are only double tapping you are wasting your own damn time. 

I get it, you actually like a photo but why do you like it? Do you like the photo itself or is it the caption that goes along with it? Does something that the person wrote resonate with you?  If you nodded your head to either of these things then why aren't you telling the person? Why did you only double tap and not write something? Are you afraid that you're going to sound like a cheeseball?  I get it, but guess what social media is about being social not just passing the time by looking at pretty photos. To the current algorithm it's not about how many likes a photo gets, it matters how many comments you get. 

Instagram is going back to it's roots, it wants people to ENGAGE. Yeah that's right I just yelled at you. ENGAGE with the masses.  My method for madness is 20 minutes of engagement a day. Set a timer and just start spewing your thoughts. I have a client that religiously does this 3 times a week and you know what their account gains on average 20 new unique followers and comments over night every damn time they engage.  

I get it you can't do 20 minutes a day, but I see you scrolling your feed at least twice a day and I know that you're just scrolling to waste time. Why not make that random scroll time work for you?  Five minutes waiting in line at Target, write 2 comments.  Getting a 20 minute pedicure, dammit you have no excuse comment while your toes are transforming, you are scrolling anyway. 

So in the end, Yes, 20 minutes of engagement is better than nothing. Stop scrolling to keep boredom at bay and start scrolling to build.  Any and every session of commenting contributes to a fitter audience, - and, very likely, happier - you! Just think that by putting in 2o minutes of commenting you are presenting yourself to an entirely new audience filled with potential new clients or sales. 

Tips to Combat Low Instagram Engagement

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Have your engagement and likes been down for awhile now? Are you frustrated? Yeah, me too, and I have six accounts and bosses that I answer too.

The official word is that there was a bug in the explore tab. Supposedly it's been fixed however engagement and likes are still down, all over the platform. Instagram is also testing their spam algorithm to start cracking down on bot commenters and spam accounts that are posting 5x per day or using 3rd party services.

Here are some ways to combat the engagement icky's:

1. Add hashtags back at the end of the caption. I know, I don't like how it looks either BUT it seems to be helping.

2. Change up your hashtags. Last week I spent most of the week reworking a second and third set of hashtags for clients that we are rotating through.

3. Stop using the uber popular hashtags and start using some with less than 50k posts to them for the time being.

4. Interact with the people that are still with you and finding you. Likes and follows don't necessarily lead to sales. Positive relationships and experiences lead to sales, which lead to more customers which leads to word of mouth and more network marketing.

5. Start storying more. Show people that your life is more than a well styled stiff square image.

6. Work on building that email list. I know I know, it's on your list but way at the bottom. However with this plummet of engagement it's just a red flag that you should probably be doing more, getting directly in front of your niche.  

Do you have any tips that have been working for you during an engagement drought?