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5 Tips to Navigate Instagram’s New Algorithm

Are you still adjusting to Instagram’s introduction of an algorithm-based news feed?

Last week, our book marketing experts announced the change while discussing why, in Instagram’s viewpoint, this change had to be made. The biggest reason for the new algorithm is Instagram’s 500 million user base. With so much content being shared daily, it was becoming increasingly frustrating to sift through your newsfeed.

By moving to a Facebook-style system, authors and publishers should expect some changes in the amount of engagement their posts receive. While not all authors and publishers use Instagram, those that publish in young adult, children’s, women’s fiction, and a number of other popular genres need to make changes. So, with this in mind, here are 5 tips to incorporate into your Instagram content strategy right now:

1. Post Longer Comments for More Emotional Investment and Engagement

Longer and more thoughtful comments can lead to more engagement when combined with great images and video. Comments written to engage your user will increase the odds of them liking, sharing, and commenting on your future content. Remember – the new algorithm will display content according to what a user has engaged with most in the past.

2. Use More Hashtags

Did you know that Instagram has a maximum of 30 hashtags per post? Are you maximizing your hashtag usage? By doing so, you will be extending the reach of your posts. However, always keep hashtags relevant to your content and business. For example, if you are posting about a YA book, use hashtags that are specific to YA (i.e. #yalit). Do not use popular hashtags just for the sake of it!

3. Ask Your Followers to Turn on Post Notifications

To ensure that you are receiving maximum engagement and reach, ask your followers (via a post) to turn on post notifications. By doing so, they will receive a notification on their phones that you have a new post! But try and give them a compelling reason to do so. For example, if you’re a publisher, ask that your followers turn on post notifications so they know about your upcoming “flash sale” before anyone else!

4. Experiment with Video

Like many social media platforms, video is becoming the dominant media type, as it is more exciting than still photos. Instagram says that, over the past 6 months, video engagement has increased by 40%. They have also recently increased the amount of time for an Instagram video to be 1 minute. As an author, you may choose to post short videos from your book signing or other event to keep your followers updated.

5. Consider Buying Ads

Yes, we know. Buying ads costs money and nobody wants to have to do that. Unfortunately, that’s the way social media is going if you want to be successful and reach your audience. After selecting your industry and audience, Instagram will display your ads in your choice of format: carousel, video, live photo, etc. Instagram ads have the advantage of having direct links to your product pages. This way, viewers can watch your video ad, consider your offer, and head directly to the checkout. This is a great sales tool for both authors and publishers.

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What strategies work for you on Instagram?