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instagram algorithm, instagram, engagement, social media

The Instagram Algorithm

Oh, Instagram. We love to love you. We also love to hate you. But more than that, us tech driven small business owners love to pick your brain and figure out exactly how you work. Why are we getting low engagement? Have we been shadow-banned? How come I’m only seeing less than half of my Instagram followers content? And, when, oh when are you going to bring back chronological order for us poor users?

I’ve been attempting to keep up with all the Instagram changes (there seem to be so many lately) so I’m not blindsided but the question still remains: how do we reach our followers? How do we make sure that our content gets to them?

After reading my friend, Lana’s, from Dalry Rose thoughts on Instagram and promoted posts, I decided to do some research. During that research, I found that Instagram’s reasoning for their algorithm is actually quite simple: figure out what the user is interested in and drive it WAY UP to the top of their feed.

So, here are some ways to make sure that your content is being seen by your followers:

Engagement

You all know that I’m all about the engagement! It’s why I started blogging five years ago and it’s still what I love most about connecting with those online today. Instagram wants to show you content that’s engaging, right? This usually means content that will bring users value. Comments weigh a lot in the Instagram world so make sure that if you come across something interesting you leave a comment (and encourage your followers to do the same!). Likes are okay, but comments are really going to boost posts up to a users feeds. It’s also important to engage early, because an early high engagement rush will let the algorithm know that a post is worth being at the top of a users feed. This also means you need to know the right time to post to actually get that high engagement.

Timing

As annoying as it is to see a post from four days ago pop up on my feed, Instagram still (slightly) takes into account that us users want to see fresh content and things that are happening TODAY, which means it’s still just as important to make sure that you’re posting at the right time of day. My posts get higher engagement in the morning (so when people are getting up, sipping their coffee and catching up on posts that happened during the night or early in the morning), and at night, before my users go to bed. If you have absolutely no clue what time of day is good for you to post, feel free to get a hold of me at: info@aurorasocialmedia.com and we can talk about doing an assessment.

Your Relationships

The relationships that you have with the people on Instagram give the algorithm A LOT of clues about what you’d like to see at the top of your posts. Say you follow Beyonce, but you don’t necessarily always ‘like’ or comment on her photos, but you always engage with your neighbors photos, then you’re telling Instagram that you’d rather see that photo at the top of your feed instead of Beyonce’s even though she probably has more followers and people are probably engaging more with her than your neighbor.

Searching and Sharing

Searching for hashtags and/or users as well as sharing posts or profiles also gives information to the algorithm. If you’re sending a photo of a cute Dalmatian to your friend, Instagram is going to think that you want to see more Dalmatians and that’s going to be more readily available to you (I mean, who doesn’t love Dalmatians?). If you’re searching for #pumpkinspicelatte then you’re probably going to come across a lot of pumpkin spice latte’s under your Instagram “search” tab.

Hopefully that gives you some insight on the workings behind this not so scary Instagram algorithm. At the end of the day, it’s not rocket science, but the most important thing to remember is making sure that you’re always intentional about what you’re liking and what you’re commenting on.

What do you think of the algorithm? Do you have anymore tips? Let me know on Instagram or Twitter!

S.

My thoughts on Instagram Favorites Aurora Social Co. Aurora Social Media Shree Summerlin

Introducing: Instagram Favorites

And here we go again.

Another update from Instagram will be (possibly) be making its way to its audience soon. This one is called (wait for it): Instagram favorites.

Here’s the lowdown on Instagram favorites:

Apparently, it’s supposed to be even more exclusive than just having a private Instagram account. Basically, you can create a “favorites list,” and then share IG stories and post with just those on your list. Your profile will be rewarded a green star when favorites roll out and then those listed as your favorites will be able to see your most exclusive IG stories and posts. For those not listed in your favorites, your list will show up as empty.

So, what’s great about the new Favorites feature and how can it help your brand?

Here are my thoughts:

Influencers, bloggers and other small business owners can take advantage of Instagram’s favorites feature by having a select group who then can promote exclusive events, parties, and discounts. For example, a brand can offer their favorites feature as a paying service, and then influencers can opt-in so that they can get exclusive offers, discounts and even be invited to some events that are not open to everyone.

I usually love anything exclusive (intimate dinner parties, e-mail lists for resources), but personally, when it comes to Instagram, it’s all about building communities, building a tribe, and in my opinion, sharing our lives with each other. I think that Instagram’s Favorites feature is just going to widen that divide between being “in” and being left out. My friend, Lana, over at Dalry Rose Blog touched on this topic too. There’s already a private option on Instagram to make your profile private so I’m not sure why Instagram feels the need to make it even more private. It seems to me that they can be working on the algorithm, which we’re all constantly hearing about, then testing out new features that are, frankly, well irrelevant.

Bottom line: I doubt I’ll be a fan, but I’m trying to give it the benefit of the doubt. In some way or another.

What are your thoughts on Instagram favorites?

S.

e-mail newsletter Aurora Social Media Aurora Social Co.

Why Your Business Needs an Email Newsletter

Living in a technical world where the algorithms are forever changing can be quite the challenge. Recently, I’ve learned to stop complaining about The New Instagram (no, they will never change it back) and start figuring out ways to manipulate the algorithm to make it work for mine and my clients’ businesses. But sometimes you just need more and that’s where an email newsletter comes in.

When I used to think of a newsletter I thought three words: old, outdated, boring. But even though e-mail newsletters are as old as the internet itself they’ve actually proven to be quite effective (plus they’re inexpensive. Win-win).

So, here is why you need a newsletter for your business:

One

You do not control Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, so if any of them were gone tomorrow, would you still have a way to access all those people you have connected with? Would you be able to reach out and continue to build a brand through them? If you don’t have some way of communicating with them outside your Instagram account (and I mean individually, not through your blog – although that is a great marketing tool), this is a good time to start thinking about that. The great thing about a newsletter is that everyone has e-mail so you’re able to reach them no matter what device they’re on.

Two

Not only should you have an e-mail newsletter in case all these social platforms go away tomorrow, but you should have one because people may not be able to actually SEE your new posts. There are times when I’m scrolling through Instagram and I think to myself,”Wow, I really haven’t heard from so and so in awhile,” and I go to their feed only to see that they’ve been posting twice a day but I have somehow missed it. You do not want any opportunities to slip by where you could’ve been connecting with your audience, gaining clients or giving your audience value. Also, people are busy so if someone is going to subscribe to your newsletter that means that they are investing in you, your company and that, overall, they trust you. That’s another win in my book.

Three

Newsletters work great for compressing all your highlights, discounts, services, and new products into one source directly to your audience. If you do a monthly newsletter, you can do a breakdown of what’s happened that month and what your audience can expect next month – including any discounts, products or services. This is a better method than trying to showcase every little thing on Instagram in hopes that all the right people see it. Also, because you’re able to showcase a variety of things within your newsletter, you’re also able to track its performance to see what’s working and what’s not. Figuring out what’s worked and then using that to improve your strategies will no doubt boost your sales, engagement, and audience, making a happy and productive business.

With all that being said, I would definitely recommend any small business to start thinking about starting an e-mail newsletter. If you need help creating one that is tailored to your biz, contact me and I can certainly help you! We’ll chat about what your goals are, expectations, and what your audience is like so that we can come up with a newsletter that’ll get you noticed: info@aurorasocialmedia.com

 

Google Analytics Business Analytics Aurora Social Co. Aurora Social Media

Analytics + Why It’s Important to Your Business

There are a lot of important aspects of owning and running a small business, but I think one of the most important aspects is analytics.

an∙a∙lyt∙ics /ˌanəˈlidiks/ noun : the systematic computational analysis of data or statistics

It’s the core of your business. You can take all the nice looking photos and create all the content you want but if you’re not checking out the behind the scenes performance of it then none of it matters.

To run a successful business, you need to know exactly what your target market is and how to come up with strategies to market your business better. You can’t do either one of those things without the help of analytics and, unless you want to teach yourself (which is a lengthy process) you can’t do that without some kind of social media/marketing manager.

Google Analytics is the most popular and common analytics web source. It offers free reports on website traffic and allows you to find out who came to your website, what they did when they got there, and how long they stayed.

There are plenty of Google Analytics for Beginners Guides out there (I recommend Pinterest), but this just gives you some idea of how analytics works overall and why it’s crucial to any business. There’s also other analytic sources, including in-app ones like Pinterest’s and Instagrams as well as Facebook Insights.

I offer an analytics report service and with the data I provide you you’ll be able to gain information such as where your audience is coming from, what your demographic is, new and returning visitors, keywords that people searched in order to find your site and much more.

Contact me at info@aurorasocialmedia.com if interested and let’s chat! 💌

Google’s New App, Primer

I recently discovered Google’s app Primer a few days ago when my boyfriend sent it over to me because he thought it would be of interest. I’m always so shocked at the number of projects that Google has their hands in.

Primer is described as a marketing tool that gives marketers and small business owners “bite-sized lessons” to help grow their businesses. Clicking around on the app myself, I noticed that they have courses in e-mail marketing, web analytics (my favorite!), website building tips, business listings, and much more. The best part is is that all the classes are only 5 minutes long so you can do it during your lunch break, at the gym, before your nap, whenever!

Although technically Primer has been out since 2015, there wasn’t much of a buzz about it since it was still in its testing phase, according to Tech Crunch. The main goal for the app now is to help digital marketers by continuing to expand their knowledge and skills offered by keeping us updated of the ever-changing business world.

My Thoughts

I think once the word gets out about Primer business owners are going to realize that it’s probably one of the most efficient and (what I’ve seen so far) accurate tools to use to learn about marketing. The everyday small business owner who is juggling all aspects of the business doesn’t necessarily have time to sit down and learn about hours of e-mail campaigning and analytics, and this app seems to break down exactly what you need to know – excluding all the extras.

As for marketers, I believe it’ll benefit them as well as they’ll be able to brush up on things and keep up with new techniques that are on the rise quickly.

Primer is available on iOS and Android.

Looking For More?

Of course, if you’re looking for someone to manage your overall marketing strategy and social media portals, I can help! I offer a variety of services such as social media consulting, social media managing, analytics, SEO, and ad campaigns. Contact me at info@aurorasocialmedia.com and let’s chat! 💌

I want to know your thoughts about Primer! Tweet me over @aurorasocialco, find me on Facebook here, or send a message over on Instagram!

Contact

If interested in Aurora Social Media’s services, please contact Shree at info@aurorasocialmedia.com.