Changing for the better, Instagram goes corporate

Four new features on Instagram you need to know about (and six tips you should consider!)


With major changes hitting Facebook’s News Feed soon, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Facebook-owned Instagram is getting some snappy updates as well. Whereas the Facebook changes may have induced anxiety is some social media managers, these Instagram updates are more tactical in nature. By incorporating the following updates into your Instagram plan, you’ll start seeing positive results sooner rather than later.


Putting the “social” in social media

Instagram can give your followers an intimate look into your brand – whether that’s your life, your business, or your product. Naturally, this means you’ll want to build a strong relationship with your followers, and one of the best ways to escalate this connection is by engaging with social influencers.

Collaborating with social influencers is like a really good TV crossover episode. Arguably, “Grey’s Anatomy” had a little extra oomph during the “Private Practice” days, and “Arrow” improves every time Barry Allen speeds into town. This is the same sensation your followers will get when a social influencer pops up on your channel or some of your own insiders see their favorite Instagrammers using your products.

Start connecting with social influencers in your city and industry today. Checking out local blogs (like your local theCityMoms blog), or even just following hashtags (like #VisitIndy) could provide great insights into the people making a splash around town. (We’ll revisit following hashtags below.)


Make the switch

If you haven’t already, now is the time to switch your Instagram account from a personal account to a “Business Profile” to gain access to analytics, scheduling, and paid advertising options. Just like the tools you already use on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to see best times to post along with most successful content, the same is true through Instagram business profiles. Are you looking to promote posts or know who is looking at your content? Use demographics such as age range, gender, and cities to your advantage.


This is particularly important with the new algorithm Instagram is using. Instagram now gives priority to business profiles over personal profiles, plain and simple. Will your account show up more on the explore page? Yes. Will you be able to see if your posts are reaching more than just your current follower base? Yes. With so many advantages it’s negligent to not make the switch and start generating successful results for your brand.














Follow the leader

Since the creation of the hashtag, users have been able to search, piggyback, and explore others who use the same phrases on their photos and videos. This has been a great way to connect with like-minded influencers and brands while also building up your profile. Instagram’s new feature allows you to now follow hashtags so they show up in your timeline, even if you don’t follow the account that used the hashtag in its caption.

Instagram recognizes when business profiles follow hashtags and ranks them higher – increasing your likelihood of popping up on the explore page. These hashtags can be as simple as the name of your brand or cities or regions where your target audience resides. For example, as an Indianapolis Instagrammer, good hashtags to start following would be #DowntownIndy, #LoveIndy, or #VisitIndy, and for those on the sporty side, #GoColts and #GoPacers.


Spontaneity is king

If you’re not already using Instagram stories, now is the time to dive in. Instagram just launched new fonts and a searchable gif library to enhance every story, and Instagram supports live broadcasting, too. As we know from Facebook, live video where users can interact in real time with your account significantly increases your views. Instagram is the perfect medium to experiment with this.

If you prefer Snapchat over Instagram for your spontaneous content, it’s time to rethink that strategy. While Snapchat offers clever filters, Instagram has more than four times as many daily active users than Snapchat. With a larger audience pool and Instagram’s efforts to continuously launch new features, if you’re going to invest your time into one real-time story-sharing app, you should invest in Instagram.


Quick fixes

In addition to the top four updates above, here are six more tweaks you should start incorporating into your posts immediately:

  • Use no more than five hashtags per posted photo.
  • Include the hashtags in your caption, not as an additional comment.
  • Do not edit captions within 24 hours of posting – yes, even if you make a typo.
  • Tag accounts in the actual photo rather than using the account’s handle in a caption.
  • Use geo-locations for specific areas/restaurants/businesses – this is great for stories, too.
  • Respond to comments within an hour.
    • We know “response” can mean two different things on Instagram. Is it just a like? Or do you need to write a response to every comment? We’re still not clear on that just yet. It’s safe to say that you should acknowledge every comment. Some will be replies, some will be likes. The important thing is that you respond.


Want help navigating Instagram? Request a consultation with us today and find your way to social success!

How to Tackle Facebook’s News Feed Changes

Remember when your mom first joined Facebook and wrote on your wall? How embarrassing. As more parents and grandparents joined the network, I began worrying that this awesome social gathering space wasn’t going to be so awesome anymore.


As Facebook opened the platform to businesses through Pages, the site became less about connecting with friends and more about reading news story after news story after cooking video after meme.

For a while, Facebook encouraged it. As I continued honing my social media marketing skills, Facebook continuously tweaked its algorithms. Managers had to learn to stay up to speed on every small News Feed change as we watched our organic reach dip and the amount of money needed to boost a post rise.

So, when Mark Zuckerberg announced on Jan. 11 that Facebook’s News Feed was drastically changing, it’s probably no surprise that I felt that rising worry. It wasn’t embarrassment like when mom first signed “Love, me” after commenting on a photo. But it meant everything brands had been working toward building on Facebook for the past five years was about to change.


After taking a breather from this news and thinking it over, though, I’m not as worried as I was – and you shouldn’t be either.

From a brand perspective, this change will severely impact how we do business on Facebook. But don’t panic! This doesn’t spell doom for brands on Facebook. In fact, I’d challenge you to think of this as an opportunity to connect with your audience on a more meaningful level, rather than passively posting links and hoping for robot clicks or likes.


Here are tactical steps you can take to mitigate the inevitable changes coming to Facebook’s News Feed:


Goodbye, Clickbait

Now, we would never advise a client post clickbait. Whether that’s posting a video with, “You won’t believe what happens after one minute!” or “Like this post if you love Princess Leia!” this is just bad content. But when you see these types of posts getting hundreds, if not thousands, of likes and comments, it’s hard not to want to try it, right?

Facebook is cracking down on clickbait. Any click- or reaction-baiting is going to be severely cut out of Facebook’s News Feed, and they’re not shy about telling you. Viral videos aren’t going to disappear from the internet, Facebook just doesn’t want you to watch them on their site. Even Mark Zuckerberg “expect[s] the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down” by making these changes.


Stop: Posting anything that can be construed as click- or reaction-baiting. Your post ranking in fans’ News Feeds will be punished.

Start: Writing more meaningful content. Even passively informative posts like news announcements that redirect to your website aren’t going to see as much traction. Instead, try posting about an issue in your community or sharing your company’s culture and why it is that way. Encourage comments and have an open conversation with your audience. This will entice them to swing by, see what you have to say, give their two cents, and even share with their friends. This will all boost your ranking in the News Feed.


Hello, Groups


Facebook really likes their users to join groups where they can interact with people with similar tastes and have deep, meaningful discussions. (No word on what they think of the pyramid scheme groups you’ve been added to.) Indeed, some even posit that through groups, Facebook is “almost building a new News Feed, a separate Facebook.” They wonder, “[are] groups the next Facebook?”

Not every brand will build a group their fans want to join, but for many companies, they certainly have loyal fans who want to interact with them and may even want to get their friends involved.


Stop: Pushing all of your content out to the public to try and get as many eyes on it as possible.

Start: Cultivating a group for insiders and influencers to join. Think of some perks that would make joining the group well worth their while – more so than just coupons or surprise sales. Customer appreciation celebrations, sneak peeks at upcoming events, or even giving members the opportunity to share their thoughts on a new product before a big announcement can all encourage group growth and active participation.


It still pays to pay

When Facebook first drastically cut the organic reach Pages saw on status updates, social media managers were conditioned to pay for boosted posts. Then when reach on boosted posts continued to drop, we started making ads. The more money we gave to Facebook, the more Facebook encouraged us to post.

This cycle of pay-to-play has in part created the passive News Feed that Facebook is now railing against. While it’s definitely frustrating that these News Feed changes can be seen as punishing brands who played by Facebook’s rules, ultimately, this could be a good change for the community-building Facebook is trying to accomplish.

That doesn’t mean you should scrap your social media marketing budget, though.


Stop: Assuming boosted posts will always work as well as they do now. As fewer News Feeds will show your content, paying to boost your posts won’t always increase your chances of being seen.

Start: Monitoring your boosted post successes and looking more into Facebook Ads. There’s been no word on how or if Facebook Ads are going to change, but Facebook’s cost per click (CPC) rate is often more affordable with better targeting than other online advertising spaces such as Google. Despite the News Feed changes, brands should still have access to a great deal of information about their audiences: location, age, and even likes and dislikes. This means targeted ads will continue to pay off as you highlight products, events, and experiences your audience could be interested in. What’s more, seeing one of your ads could entice someone to learn more about you – and maybe even join your new influencers group.


The changes to Facebook’s News Feed took many of us by surprise. But ultimately, I believe the steps Facebook is making to provide a meaningful gathering place for friends and family online will ultimately be a good thing, not just for us as humans, but for the companies we interact with, too.

Not sure if you can weather these Facebook changes alone? We hear you. Drop us a line so we can discuss how Dittoe PR can help manage your social media channels as the platforms continue to change.