Social media engagement of epic proportions is kind of like the marketing equivalent of locating the fountain of youth.
It can be the Holy Grail of your online business success. If it were that easy to achieve perfectly delivered social media strategies with a huge return on sales for minimal marketing budgets, everyone would be doing it.
So, where did they go? In an ideal world, we'd all be on our own private island in The Bahamas paddling alongside their swimming pigs, but alas, if your content is engaging and your imagery of excellent quality, there is a reason why followers may seem to be dropping like flies...
If you’ve been feeling recently like your online social media presence has been reminiscent of the dating pool for over 30’s (a lack of interesting engaging people and the distinct feeling that metaphorical tumbleweed is rolling by), then fear not! It’s not you, it’s that pesky Instagram algorithm.
Every other month or so, Instagram updates its algorithm to make updates to their service.
This can be for a myriad of reasons. One being that they are launching new features, another being that they are purging Instagram. Remember when it made headlines news that celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber lost millions of followers overnight? That's why. Instagram exterminated millions of fake accounts.
As a social media manager, I can usually see the tell-tale signs of an Instagram update within hours, as the most noticeable head's up is usually a significant drop in the usual average likes per post my clients start getting.
In August, I saw a drop from the usual average number of comments my clients were getting per post. This is a huge annoyance, because we all know that an image with 300 likes and no comments looks fake.
Regardless of how many followers you have, you really want to have a minimum of 10-20 comments per post.
Unless you’ve been sleeping under a social media-proof rock for the past few months, you will have heard some concerns raised over fears of Instagram being turned into the next money-making machine equivalent of Facebook, where posts are purposefully hidden from your followers unless you plough money into boosted posts and digital marketing ads.
When this business move was made by Facebook some years ago, it eventually saw many small businesses leave the platform and/or boycott them entirely from their social media marketing activities, instead opting to focus their digital marketing efforts on more open and cost effective platforms like Instagram.
The only question in my head right now is, if Instagram do take the Facebook route, where are people going next? My guess - an open video sharing platform using a similar concept to Instagram that may or may not have come to fruition yet.
How to slay the Instagram algorithm beast
- Like a minimum of 100 posts from the Instagram comments you follow daily
- Comment on a minimum of 100 posts on Instagram per day - focus on accounts that engage with you the most and/or share similar interests who are more likely to comment back. For the love of all that is sacred, PLEASE do not delegate such tasks to companies or individuals who regurgitate generic comments on your behalf across hundreds of Instagram posts ever day in the hopes of getting a few comments back. In short, they humiliate your brand. How? A journalist friend of mine posted a horrendous image of Puerto Rico during hurricane Irma - an area completely destroyed with people who'd lost their homes in complete distress. The sheer volume of obvious generic comments was astounding, but also ridiculous. What sane person would comment ‘Looking great in this image’ with a thumbs up next to such a national disaster? They don’t work. Don’t do it.
- Introduce an engagement post weekly which encourages users to comment on your post, or even better, tag someone to make your brand more visible. This could be as simple as posting an inspiring post motivating people to ‘tag a friend you’d love to be here with now’ or ‘tag a friend who needs this product in their lives’ and a Follow Friday image along with the added benefit of inviting users to introduce their brand in 4 words and/or tag an Instagram account that inspires them.
Visit my Instagram page for more tips and ideas here.