Instagram myths and platform updates abound in 2019, making our relationship status with the popular social platform…complicated.
But with over 1 billion active monthly Instagram accounts and 63% of people following influencers specifically, the opportunity to connect with an audience and work with brands is more important than ever. In order to be a successful content creator, it’s important to be consistent, yet aware of changing tastes, user behaviour and platform updates.
There’s no point in being complacent. Any new features should be observed, researched and tested out especially since the app is said to reward early adopters. IGTV is a prime example, with videos now being shown in feed and prioritised on the Explore page.
With that in mind, we’ve listed a few common myths and some game-changing updates for 2019.
Myth 1: A business account limits reach.
The Truth: Whilst it’s comforting to blame the algorithm for your latest avocado toast snap performing badly, it could be down to the most obvious reason. Your audience may no longer be engaged or interested in what you have to say. Work on experimenting with different image compositions or playing around with different styles of caption.
Myth 2: People care about how your ‘grid’ is arranged.
The Truth: Instagram states that only 1-3% of people see your feed as a whole. Think about how you use the app and scroll through images. Do you find yourself checking their profile? Don’t be too precious about not posting because the image doesn’t fit. It’s also useful to divide your profile visits by impressions x 100 if you need some concrete statistics.
Myth 3: Don’t post more than once a day
The Truth: It’s important to remember that 60% of those aged 25-44 use instagram multiple times per day, so each time you post gives you more opportunity to be seen. The new creator account makes it easier to see how many people are following or unfollowing on a daily basis, so try posting twice a day for a week, and track the results.
The big 2019 updates and rumours
Instagram is poised to remove likes.
You may have noticed that Instagram has been quietly tweaking the bio to make numbers less prominent, and it seems that likes will also be hidden from public view. Even though creators will still be able to see their own stats and share this information with brands for campaigns, followers will only see a few people who have liked the photo. Comments will still be visible.
The obvious reason for this tweak is that it will encourage users to post more freely instead of agonising over how ‘well’ a post might be doing. It’s common knowledge that every time we receive a like, it triggers a hit of dopamine, and the user’s mental health can be affected. On a business level, Instagram may be keen to keep us using the app as much as possible, so they can keep serving more ads.
Ads are coming to the Explore page.
You’d better get used to seeing more ads in unexpected places on Instagram. Director of Business Product Marketing Susan Buckner Rose recently announced that users will see more branded content once they tap on an Explore post and keep scrolling.
Could this potentially result in ad fatigue? She explained that ‘Explore is where people are really open to discovery and that’s why we’re really excited about this.’
There’ll also be more branded content from influencers you don’t follow popping up, as brands are being pushed to boost posts.
Shoppable posts for influencers are coming.
Previously only traditional businesses have been able to take advantage of Instagram shopping tags but now a selection of influencers including Alissa Ashley and Blair Eadie will be able link directly to products. It makes sense, since 130 million users tap on product links each month to find out more. Now they’ll be able to checkout without leaving the app, as payment information will be saved.
At present there doesn’t appear to be an affiliate linking model, so creators will have to potentially negotiate with brands for a percentage depending on the amount of sales generated. Although this means that it’ll be easier to calculate ROI on branded content, it all rests on training the audience so they feel comfortable shopping on Instagram.
People may be able to see your Instagram Collections.
TechCrunch managed to get hold of a ‘Make Collection Public’ button from the Instagram for Android code, which could be a worry for Pinterest. From a user point of view, the content you curate could be just as important as what you post.
If your posts get saved by others, then it’s another way of being discovered via the app. It’s definitely a metric that shouldn’t be discounted, so start looking at your most saved posts to see if there’s a pattern that can be repeated.
How to keep updated
The Instagram For Business blog is invaluable, as there are often case studies and stats to encourage companies to keep using the platform. It’s also worth looking out for tweets during industry events such as Social Media Week or the One Roof Social summit.