Instagram as A Marketing Channel
As noted by Hootsuite, brands need to be visible and active on Instagram because it is the top media platform for brands to build relationships with their fans and directly sell to them. As reported on Meta’s official business page, half of Instagram users say the platform helps them discover new brands and 44% of users shop on the platform weekly. This is why over 2 million brands use the platform as a vital channel in their influencer and brand ambassador marketing strategy.
On May 31, 2023, the CEO of Instagram, Adam Mosseri announced that Instagram’s algorithms for the feed, reels, and stories have changed.
Understanding how the algorithms have changed is crucial for businesses because it determines the visibility of their posts on users’ feeds. It also shapes what kind of influencers and brand ambassadors a brand works with to effectively market their services or products.
By tailoring their content to the algorithm’s preferences, businesses can increase their chances of reaching their target audience, driving higher engagement, gaining more followers, and ultimately, achieving success in building their brand and promoting products/services on the platform.
Understanding Instagram’s Algorithm Updates in 2023
As demonstrated by Instagram’s CEO, the biggest change that has been made to their algorithm is the greater emphasis on user engagement. Instagram is striving to become provide a more personalized experience to its users by prioritizing content from mutual friends, accounts they follow, and then new content the user might be interested in.
These changes seem to be in correlation with the increasing demand consumers have for authentic content. While traditional influencer marketing has its place and is a tried and true marketing strategy, consumers are now gravitating towards authentic content from their peers and micro-influencers.
The Feed Algorithm
In the Feed section, the algorithm prioritizes content based on users’ engagement history and relationships. This means posts from accounts with which users frequently interact get higher visibility, making it more likely for users to see content from their close connections and favorite accounts.
Therefore brands need to diversify their influencer marketing strategy and activate their fans and micro-influencers as key elements. These types of creators have the highest engagement and conversions. 76% of people say that they’re more likely to trust content shared by “normal” people than by brands. 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations over any other form of advertising.
The timing of posts is also a factor in determining what content is displayed, as newer content is more likely to appear at the top of users’ feeds. The algorithm aims to keep users engaged and connected on the platform by curating content that aligns with users’ interests and relationships.
Harnessing UGC and creating a content factory might be a powerful strategy for brands to use when keeping up with timing to stay at the top of social media feeds. Should a brand want to utilize this strategy, When activating a brand ambassador strategy might be helpful. A brand ambassador strategy allows brands to work with a large volume of creators instead of focusing on a select handful. By working with many micro-influencers and brand ambassadors simultaneously, brands increase their visibility across multiple audiences and increase their chances for virality.
The Reels Algorithm
In the case of Reels, the algorithm shifts its focus to engagement metrics such as likes, comments, and shares to determine the reach and visibility of a post. Content that garners higher levels of engagement has a greater chance of being shown to a wider audience, leading to increased virality potential. For brands, working with micro-creators, fans, and brand ambassadors is a great way for brands to stay at the top of the reels algorithm. Micro-creators, creators with a minimum of 2500 followers, tend to have an engagement rate of 7%-20%. Macro-influencers typically receive around 5%.
This approach encourages users to create more creative and entertaining Reels, as those with engaging and viral content have a better chance of gaining significant visibility. The Reels algorithm rewards the production of captivating videos that resonate with viewers, resulting in a more dynamic and entertaining Reels experience for users.
The Stories Algorithm
As for Stories, the algorithm emphasizes showing content from users’ close friends and accounts they interact with the most. The order in which stories are posted also influences their visibility, with newer stories receiving priority.
By showcasing relevant and up-to-date content from people users care about, the Stories algorithm enhances the user experience and keeps users engaged with the platform. Meaningful interactions and compelling content play a key role in ensuring that Stories receive prominence in users’ feeds, encouraging creators to focus on producing engaging and interactive content.
SocialLadder & Instagram
When SocialLadder was originally founded in 2014, we understood how important fans, brand ambassadors, and brand advocates were to build an effective influencer strategy. SocialLadder is the smartest way to manage brand ambassadors, influencers, employees, and affiliates because our platform was built for brands to leverage their fanbase so they can foster long-term relationships.
In the age of authenticity, consumers want to buy from brands that represent them. They want to see ads and content that feature creators who look like them and share their interests.
This is why SocialLadder has a suite of tools such as a discovery module and a 38M+ creator database that brands can pull from to recruit the right brand ambassadors for their influencer strategies. Through our tools, brands can identify and activate creators that represent each segment of their customers. In our platform, we also have a range of Instagram and other social media tasks that brands can assign their creators to do in exchange for payment, points, or exclusive brand rewards.
Since relationships are at the core of marketing, it’s also the core of our platform. The SocialLadder creator management platform supports brand and creator relationships by giving brands the ability to directly speak to individual brand ambassadors and do mass outreach. As a result, brands can manage their creator programs at scale and build one-on-one relationships.
In conclusion, the new Instagram algorithm changes how content is presented in stories, reels, and feeds. The emphasis on user engagement, relevance, and freshness has led to a more tailored and engaging experience for its users. Content that fosters interactions that aligns with the interests of their users, and showcases creativity has a higher chance of gaining visibility and reaching a wider audience, making it crucial for creators and brands to strategize effectively to maximize their impact on the platform.
Therefore it is crucial for brands to work with various creators to maintain a powerful presence on Instagram and activate the social media platform as a key sales channel. Micro-influencers and brand ambassadors are key for brands to tap into for their influencer strategy because of their unique relationship with their audience. These creators have the highest engagement, drive the most conversions, and are most relatable to consumers.