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It seems like every other day, a social platform makes a drastic change that, in the beginning, frustrates the end user. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. have all made updates recently that caused a collective uproar. As fans, we become accustomed to interacting on these social platforms, finally understanding the ins and outs of each, then everything changes with a simple ‘update’. This leaves all of us (especially marketers) confused, frustrated and angry— because let’s face it, we tend to be creatures of habit. So why are they constantly changing these platforms? This social world that we operate in is so new, that even those who invented it are still working to figure it out. Ultimately, changes are made with the user’s best interest in mind because at end of the day, it’s about keeping us happy and engaged. But part of what goes into keep us happy (and as users) requires the platform to make money. Instagram is a business. Facebook is a business.  And they go where the money is-- allowing brands to advertise. Wanting other businesses to buy advertising to reach their desired audiences or to pay to boost posts to more timelines isn't meant to annoy us, that's just a side-effect.  It's just a good business model. So, before we panic about all the updates that we think will hurt our marketing efforts, let’s take a second and discuss what this could mean for you and your brand.Instagram algorithm changesThe number one change that has everyone freaking out this week: The AlgorithmYes, this has become the most popular modification to our beloved platforms, with Instagram being the most recent offender. Facebook implemented it quite successfully, and we’ve learned how to adapt overtime. So let’s take what we learned from the Facebook update and apply it to this change:The good: A user who is really interested and engaged with your brand is more likely to see your posts. Platforms take into consideration the type of content users like the most, and if your content is their favorite, it will be high up in the feed.The bad: Audiences who are not as familiar or engaged with your brand will be missed altogether. Your overall “reach” will decrease among users who do not pay attention to your content.The solution: Taking these factors into consideration, here are the methods that have worked well throughout this transition:
  1. It’s time to pay to play
Gone are the days where marketers can rely solely on organic content to have their voices heard. If you want to establish a presence and grow a following, you should be ready to commit to throwing some dollars in the social media bucket. It doesn’t take much to advertise on these platforms, and the ROI is certainly worth it.
  1. Think more about the product you put out
You know the saying, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’? This couldn’t be more true on social media. Channel this thought into your content strategy and challenge your team to strategize about the type of content you put out. If better content means less content in the end, that’s okay. Especially on Instagram. These platforms will now reward the most engaging posts with the top spots in the feed, so the game is all about quality over quantity.
  1. Test, test, and test again
These updates are almost a blessing in disguise. Specifically with the Instagram change, we now have the ability to determine what types of content resonates with audiences in a more efficient manner. And once you’re able to figure out that magic sauce, you’ll see even better results. Instagram had to make some changes – more brands were getting involved on the platform, and engagement rates were dropping. This update should help increase engagement on the platform, and in turn, increase your ROI. Keep breathing and know change is good in this fast paced environment, we just need to learn to evolve along with it.