If your restaurant is on Instagram, which it should be, you probably heard about the platform’s recent changes or saw a slew of posts telling you to turn on your notifications.
If you missed all the commotion, here’s the scoop: Instagram is no longer showing images in feeds chronologically. Instead, Instagram has adopted the ways of its big brother, Facebook, and will now be showing the “best” posts in your feed (based on the post’s engagement with other Instagram users and your personal engagement activity) at the top.
If you want to read more about the details, read Instagram’s blog post about the changes here:
Now that you’re up-to-speed, here’s how to handle the new Instagram changes as it relates to your restaurant marketing.
This new algorithm has caused tons of Instagrammers to tailspin into a frenzy, throw their hands up, and exclaim that their success on Instagram is doomed.
First of all, no need for the dramatics, it’s all going to be okay. This is only social media we’re talking about. While we both know it’s important for marketing your business, the most important thing is the quality of your product and service, everything else flows from there.
Secondly, Instagram is a business just like Facebook is. With more and more people joining the platform each day, there are bound to be changes on the platform’s end in order to drive revenue and keep the platform afloat in addition to improving the experience for the end user.
Essentially, these changes are par for the course, no need to let it keep you up at night.
Focus on Your Analytics
Even though images in your feed and your follower’s feeds will no longer be in chronological order, it’s still beneficial to post during the times that the majority of your audience is on the platform.
You can find your account’s specific times by using a tool like Iconosquare, or simply experiment with posting at different times and tracking the engagement you get. Either way, posting at peak times for your audience ensures they’ll be more likely to see your post once they scroll down past the top posts in their feed if you don’t already happen to show up there.
Another analytic you’ll want to watch is examining which of your posts consistently receive the most engagement in the form of likes and comments. Find the patterns between those posts whether it’s the language in the caption, the type or style of photo your sharing, or the hashtags you’re using (or a combination of several factors) and continue to replicate more of those patterns in your Instagram activity.
Speaking of hashtags, they will continue to be integral in how your audience finds you through the Explore tab, so be diligent about refining your hashtag use (hyperlocal is the way to go, especially with the D.C. food scene).
Engagement is More Important Than Ever
Being active on Instagram isn’t limited to your posting of images, it’s also crucial that you engage with the posts of other users.
It wouldn’t exactly be “social” media if we didn’t start conversations and interact with other people on the platform would it? No, so don’t expect other people to engage with you if you don’t take the time to engage with them.
Seems simple, but it’s a step so many businesses skip. Here’s a good rule of thumb to start: for every image you post to Instagram, comment on ten posts from other users.
There will always be changes to social media whether it’s new platforms emerging, algorithms forming, or the way people use the platform to share their stories with the world.
Learn to be adaptable in your methods and not only will you continue to grow and have success on social media, but you’ll also have a lot more fun with the process altogether.
Have any burning Instagram questions for us? Ask away in the comments!