Technology: The Instagram Algorithm Change and the Importance of Hashtags

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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. ย 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 โ€˜Instageddonโ€™. 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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