instagram

Who cares about the changes to Instagram?

We don't! 

To be perfectly honest, I'm a little bit excited about the changes. For those of you that have been living under a digital rock, Instagram has announced that it will be changing the feed from 100% chronological to something more suggestive like "stuff you missed but probably want to see" and will probably look a lot like Twitter in terms of showing the latest few tweets, then "while you were away" - a collection of the most likely tweets that you'd enjoy - then more chronological.

Why are they doing this? 

Well, Instagram has started to mature and the way people are using the platform has changed dramatically in the past few years, we most probably follow a couple of hundred more people than we used to and interact with profiles in a vastly different manner. So it makes sense to make sure the best posts all get seen. 

Also, the fact that Instagram is a modern advertising platform - think Newspapers (remember those print things that we used to read) - so it makes money from advertising. Thus, it needs to make sure that there is good reason for people to invest in advertising on their platform. I saw one page (a small business) having a whinge across platforms on Twitter about the changes saying something like "Don't they realise their customers don't want this?" and it stuck with me, really it is the catalyst for this post since my response was basically "you aren't their customer! You are just a consumer, unless you are advertising". I feel a sense of irony in a small business complaining about another business changing to suit their customers (advertisers) when they'd been catching a free ride for years selling their own wares. 

Why shouldn't you tell people to click 'Turn on Notifications'? 

This feature has been around for ages, potentially since the beginning. I know I noticed it about twelve months ago and clicked on it for a page and the first time that page posted an image and I got a notification, well, I clicked again to turn it off. To be honest, every time I looked at that profile afterwards I was slightly annoyed and the first bad post, I clicked unfollow. Sure, I might be a little more vicious when it comes to my flood line for this kind of thing, but I am more than confident that for all the people that turned on notifications for business profiles, a huge percentage of those are going to turn them back off and/or simply unfollow to get rid of the notifications. Of those that stay, as soon as that business starts posting rubbish "sell" type posts they are gone too. Worse, many of them will simply stop using the app all together and that is bad for everyone. 

 

Summary

  1. Changes to the feed are good
  2. Great content will rise to the top
  3. Don't tell people to 'Turn on Notifications
  4. Stop thinking Social Media platforms are here for users - they are advertising platforms! 

Why you should stop focusing on the Follower number?

 

I find it incredible how many people I see on sites like Airtasker looking for people to get the "1,000 real followers on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram" and wonder what they are really trying to achieve? Do people honestly think that equates to 1,000 new customers or are we so superficial that it is all just simply to feel good about the total. Either way, I think people are loosing sight of why they are even using social media for business - the want for lots of followers on a personal account is a whole other blog piece... for another day. 

You need to focus on engaging, delighting and informing your followers. No matter how many there are, they are the people most likely to spread that positive word-of-mouth every business should be looking for. 10K Instagram followers double tapping every image you put up means nothing if none of them care about your product or service enough to take action e.g. purchase.

Instead of focusing on followers, focus on your customers. Please them with your offering and reach out and connect with those happy customers. Make friends on Facebook or LinkedIn, follow them on Instagram and Twitter, start a conversation on an open forum like "Thanks for visiting our store this week" or "Hope you are enjoying product X, feel free to give us a call or email if you have any questions". Not only is this the right thing to do, other potential customer see how open and transparent that you operate and that's who people want to shop with. If a customer writes something negative, in some ways this is even better, because here is an opportunity to turn it around or at the very least show future customers how hard you try to satisfy trouble customers. People can see when consumers are being difficult, they'll admire you trying just as much. 

Don't buy followers! 

If you really feel like you need a push, why not try an offering to current customers or people that have enquired, that you will offer a large discount (or even free) if they invite their friends to like your pages and maybe do a few shoutouts on social channels. 

Watch what the competition is doing to catch tips and tricks, but try not to focus on how quickly they are growing because you don't know if they are investing in buying followers and you can't see their books to know how well business is really doing. Focus on you. 

FOCUS.