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Using Social Media Algorithms to Your Advantage - Instagram (4 of 4)

Part 4 of 4 - How to Use Instagram's Algorithm to Your Advantage [Series]

Social media can serve as a very potent business-to-business marketing tool, but each platform will require a mindful strategy in order to achieve peak reach and visibility. This strategy requires a basic understanding of the algorithms that each platform uses to deliver ts content, as each will focus on different priorities to rank its feed. In this fourth and final (for now) part of this series, we will examine how Instagram works, and how to best leverage it for B2B purposes.

Focusing on Instagram

By its nature, Instagram is a highly visual outlet to involve in a B2B marketing strategy. While this might lead some, in less visually-dynamic industries, to believe that it has no place in their marketing, they would be mistaken. Instagram offers a simple enough interface that it really can be used to showcase anything about your company. You can use it to create a visible record of the events you’ve held, potentially inspiring your contacts to reach out to you regarding others, or you can create a showcase of your offerings that can display how you stay up-to-date in your industry.

Of course, Instagram also makes a great outlet to show off your company’s culture. If, for example, your company has a day when pups can come and visit the office, an image makes a much more compelling piece of content than a status update saying that there were dogs present.

Instagram once followed the same reverse-chronological livestream approach that Twitter did, but that is no longer the case. As it is now owned by Facebook, its algorithm has also seen some changes.

Instagram’s Focus

In order to arrange its content, Instagram’s algorithm puts emphasis on the level of engagement each post sees, its relevance to the user’s interests, the user’s relationships, its timeliness, the user’s profile searches, direct shares, and the time spent on posts.

Instagram measures engagement much like the other social networks do--evaluating how frequently viewers liked it, commented on it, or shared it. It even determines whether the users frequently engage with each other’s content. In order to take advantage of this in your own Instagram account, you should focus your efforts on providing engaging content with some educational value. This will help you to provide a more authoritative voice, which will increase how effective your calls-to-action are.

When Instagram determines relevance, it’s really trying to determine how in line with a user’s displayed interests a bit of its content is. If a user has a demonstrated preference for dog photos through their behaviors, but your feed is filled with goldfish, your ranking on the feed will go down.

In order to alert Instagram (and the user) that your content is relevant, the most effective route to take is to use appropriate hashtags to signify what your image depicts. This way, your content can be more easily found by someone looking for what it shows.

Instagram also takes a user’s relationships into account when organizing their feed. Basically, if someone frequently comments or likes your images, your images will show up higher on their feed. The best way to use this to your advantage is by encouraging your audience to engage with your content as much as possible. Other social networks tend to play nice with Instagram, so sharing your content with them can help increase your audience and form more of these relationships.

While Instagram is no longer committed to the reverse-chronological order that it once was, more recent posts are still assumed to be more relevant, and will therefore be prioritized over others. To take advantage of this, you should make a point of regularly posting new images to your Instagram account. This also ties to the amount of time that is spent on each post, another influence to its ranking. If a user spends more time on one of your posts, any similar content you post in the future will rank higher. By posting compelling images and videos, you can entice your viewer to stay longer, giving you this boost.

Focusing on providing sharable content is another way to help boost your ranking. If a user shares your content with their followers, you will appear higher on their feed. The same effect happens if a user frequently visits your Instagram profile. Again, you will want to be sure that your content is of a high enough quality, that your followers will want to share it, as well as tell others about your Instagram presence.

Putting Instagram to Use

Instagram can be a solid addition to your marketing, as it gives your followers a literal peek into your services and who you are as a company. If you have any questions about leveraging Instagram as a marketing channel, let’s talk. We can help you to optimize your social media strategy for impressions and conversions.

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