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Instagram Algorithm

In this digital age, it has become apparent that using social media is a societal norm nowadays, with people in the UK spending around 1 hour and 40 minutes online daily.

Saying this, when it comes to a select few social media platforms some users find themselves rather perplexed by the use of hashtags (#) and their ultimate purpose.

Hashtags are extremely important to attract engagement to your posts, building both your traffic and audience. It is imperative to utilise hashtags in your posts as part of your social media strategy.

Instagram are about to make some serious changes to their algorithm so the need for engagement on your posts is now more important than ever. With over 400 million users and a massive looming change due to occur, what tactical changes do you need to make to the way you post to Instagram?

The algorithm change will place precedence on posts that Instagram deem you to be most interested in, bumping them up your news feed. It is all centered around engagement and is causing many to worry.

This is similar to that of its parent-company Facebook, which cleverly analyses its users behavior and presents its users with a curated and specifically targeted experience, providing tailored content in which they are most interested in.

This targeted and tailored content has been proven to enhance user experience by driving further engagement. Hence, subsidiary Instagram will face the same looming changes to their current operation, wave goodbye to the traditional chronological ordering.

In simple terms, continue to engage and then engage some more, with other users. This way, you are far more likely to appear at the top of the non-linear feed when the algorithm updates come to surface. The order of content will inevitably be affected, but the relevance will be drastically improved.  Be savvy and remain relevant, and your blog, brand and marketing should not be affected.

Engagement on social media comes in many forms, be it liking other users posts, commenting on pictures you adore, mentioning your friends via tags or following other quirky and fun users. It is determined by how you interact with your followers and the audience you draw to your posts via carefully crafted use of hashtags (among other things).

In using hashtags, you will always encourage further engagement by directing potential users to your profile. Therefore, it is imperative that you utilise them, in order to expand and grow your audience, otherwise your followers will remain pretty stagnant when the change does occur.

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So, what hashtags do you use? What are the most popular? It is pretty easy to check this on social media platforms, just a quick type in the Instagram search box will reveal the numbers.

However, going for the obvious ones may actually hinder you, there is far too much competition and your posts may in fact be overlooked. Do note that on Instagram particularly, you are limited to a maximum of thirty hashtags per post.

You have to find the hashtags that work with your content and note them down as you go along. For example, if you are a blogger in the UK, #ukbloggers (around 60,000 hits) may be of great use to you. It is a little more niche than the generic and heavily-used #fblogger, #bbloggers and #lblogger tags (although I am guilty of using those myself, oops).

If you are really dedicated to your research, then take a look at followers of your own with similar interests and posts, and replicate their hashtags. Utilise the correct hashtags and you will soon see your following across a variety of social media platforms grow. By categorising your posts, you make them far easier to find and people will soon recognise you for those types of posts.

Take a peek at the AdNews guide by James Towers to surviving ‘Instageddon’. He states that quality and not quantity should take preference. In reducing the frequency and being vigilant of your posts when necessary (predicted to be particularly important to brands with the upcoming change) you will learn to quickly adapt, focusing on fantastic and relevant posts, remember some consistency will be key.

To sum things up, use hashtags cleverly, understand those most relevant to your niche, present them with content they will inevitable engage with, and you should remain successful and on top with the new ranking-based Instagram algorithm change, deserving to rank higher in Instagram feeds. It works for Facebook, let’s hope it does for Instagram also.

What do you think of the Instagram algorithm change? What is your favoured social media platform?

Stephanie xox

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Ello-vert

I am undeniably obsessed with all things social media. The amount of time I spend on my Samsung Note 3 and PC each day would shock and/or disgust most, so when I heard of Ello I was desperate to get my own account and thus be in on the ‘hype’.

Dubbed the “anti-Facebook”, Ello is a “simple, beautiful and ad-free social network” that came to my attention during Autumn 2014 (becoming public in August 2014). It doesn’t have advertisements and it won’t utilise and profit off your data (although its revenue has come under speculation with its popularity boom).

To create an account, you must be invited. It is an exclusive affair and a tedious wait for an invitation (it is still in the beta stage) as I know too well having only just accessed my account.

I am going to be honest, I signed up earlier today and was rather baffled by the website at first, can something be so simple it is impossible to navigate? Thankfully no.

I eventually got the hang of things although it did take me a good 5 minutes to figure out how to upload my profile picture. I cannot even blame the mediocre internet connection for this one, it was a simple drag from my documents and drop into place affair.

Saying this, I genuinely had to watch the tutorial (which sounds as if Stephen Hawking narrated it himself) beforehand and this has never happened to me on any other social networking site before. Ello is not as user-friendly as its veteran competitors.

“Next, pick a profile image, make it a hot one” had me giggling to no avail as I customised my header to a lovely floral print with ease (drag and drop again, it does come in handy).

Ello is very minimalist in design and features (like Marmite, you will either love this about the website or loathe it), customisation isn’t a strong point.

I soon got into the swing of things and began to add people with similar interests to me. On Ello you have your ‘Friends’ and ‘Noise’ steam alongside your notifications (lightning bolt icon) upon the left-hand side of the webpage.The ‘Friends’ stream holds your contacts feeds (recommended, related, random and search) and the ‘Noise’ stream allows you to select the posts you wish to see from your chosen people in an easy and accessible feed.

Anything that catches your eye along the way while browsing Ello can be shared to your own page easily, they have also recently enabled users to add music and videos to their feeds. The website seems to have elements of Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook in a wonderful social networking combination.

You have your personally decorated feed like Tumblr. Like Twitter, you seek people out who you do not know but who hold similar interests to your own and unlike Facebook you can avoid the hundreds of friend and family requests (exclusivity and a degree of anonymity have their strong points).

Ello proves to be a lot of fun once you begin to understand it. I plan to continue getting used to it and update it with anything that takes my fancy.

If you would like me to invite you to Ello then let me know via stephanie@thoughtsofawannabejournalist.com or via my Twitter @Stephmulz!

Whoever said plain meant boring eh?

What do you think of Ello? Profound or just plain? 

Stephanie xox