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15 Entrepreneurs Share Their Thoughts on the Latest Instagram Changes

The dust has finally begun to settle where Instagram is concerned. The popular photo sharing service completely flipped away from its familiar skeuomorphic look – a design popular with icons in the early iOS days – to a gradient scheme. The internet’s reaction was swift, of course. Some hated it, some liked it, and some barely noticed a change. For businesses operating a strong presence on Instagram the change comes with a side of algorithm change. We decided to pose the question to some entrepreneurs and business owners: how do you like Instagram’s change? Check out their answers below.

#1 – Stagnant Growth

We are by no means a large company (nor do we have a large Instagram presence) yet we still generate leads through Instagram on a weekly basis. So when the algorithm and design changes were announced, we prepared ourselves to adapt as best as we could. We’ve noticed that our audience growth has stagnated and we’re struggling to find new users with our content. Hashtags have become more important, and we’ve started stuffing our posts with as many relevant hashtags as we can to help us find new users. Luckily the majority of our existing Instagram following didn’t mind turning on notifications to be alerted every time we post, but in terms of growing our audience, we’re finding it hard.

Thanks to Sam Williamson, Guardian Removals Edinburgh


#2 – Active and Fresh

Photo Credit: Nick Braun
Photo Credit: Nick Braun

The new Instagram design and algorithm change are great for entrepreneurs and small business owners. First of all, Instagram is a powerful marketing tool for any business willing to engage and create valuable content. It’s growing faster than Facebook and has become the default social platform for folks 25 to 45. The new changes are good because it purges a lot of the old, dated content that was getting more exposure. In other words, if you were first, but didn’t stick around or continue to create excellent content you just became irrelevant. It’s going to reward those who are active and fresh.

Thanks to Nick Braun, PetInsuranceQuotes.com


#3 – Level Field

Photo Credit: Emmelie De La Cruz
Photo Credit: Emmelie De La Cruz

This Instagram update will level the playing field for accounts who have been organically growing their followers and engagement. All of those accounts with purchased followers, low quality content, and the ability to post every 30 minutes will no longer be able to dominate feeds with the new algorithm. This is great news for smaller accounts with highly engaged followings. The solution to #InstagramUpdate is not post notifications, it’s getting ahead of the game with smart strategies. What we have to continue to do is focus on posting great photos that drive likes, comments and shares.

Thanks to Emmelie De La Cruz, GoGo Charters


#4 – Relevant Content

Photo Credit: Tiffany Starnes
Photo Credit: Tiffany Starnes

The new algorithm will show content based on users’ preference, so make sure you are giving your audience what they want with relevant well-executed content. Make sure that every photo or video you put out elicits an emotion or response to cut through the clutter and get the engagement that Instagram is measuring to boost you post to the top of the stream. Devote time to engaging with your audience to understand their interests. Seek out hashtags and actively participate in the double-tap. Being active with the Influencers and audience that you serve will increase your visibility and keep you top of mind on other feeds, if they aren’t being served your content directly in their streams.

Thanks to Tiffany Starnes, FSC Interactive


#5 – Focused Feed

Photo Credit: Antonella Colella
Photo Credit: Antonella Colella

The Instagram algorithm change has definitely affected our social media presence. It was almost as if overnight our Instagram engagement shrunk significantly. As a new business, building brand recognition through social media is critical. So instead of allowing this shift to negatively affect us, we have changed the focus of our feed. Because we are a retail business, pictures of our product showing quality and design are critical. It is for this reason that we focus on Instagram as a platform to grow brand loyalty. Instead of posting solely product shots, as we had done prior to the algorithm change, we started posting lifestyle pictures (travel shots, snapshots into our day to day, and design inspiration). This new approach has increased our engagement and has highlighted our brand to new users.

Thanks to Antonella Colella, Cabana Chic Swimwear


#6 – Creative Strategy

Photo Credit: Angela Stairs
Photo Credit: Angela Stairs

The Instagram updates create a new challenge for business, especially small business, but nothing that can’t be navigated through a little creativity and strategic thinking! Besides the more aesthetic design changes, which will have little affect on your brand’s presence, the new update changes the order in which your followers will see posts. Posts are no longer viewed chronologically, rather content that Instagram deems most relevant and most likely to interest you will now appear higher in your feed. If you want to stay at the top of your followers’ newsfeeds, it is now more important than ever to share quality, engaging content that truly appeals to your target audiences. To help boost your Instagram presence and appeal more strongly to users, try updating your presence with the following tips: post better, more high-quality photos, post more frequently, develop more descriptive and engaging captions, and continue to incorporate key hashtags relevant to your niche(s).

Thanks to Angela Stairs, seoplus+


#7 – Best Followers

Photo Credit: Justin Kittredge
Photo Credit: Justin Kittredge

The new Instagram algorithm is definitely a new challenge to take on, but it also presents an opportunity to grow an even better, more engaged following. In the short term, it will slightly affect our business by lowering views and traffic to posts. But, it also helps because our best followers will really shine through. In the long term, it forces us to define a more targeted following, and really ramp up our content strategy. While other brands continue to make empty posts to ghost followers, we know exactly what type of people we have, what type of people we want to go after, and what content we should be putting out based on what both audiences want to see.

Thanks to Justin Kittredge, ISlide


#8 – Clean Profiles

Photo Credit: Jared Reed
Photo Credit: Jared Reed

I love it, but with one caveat. The algorithm addition is what I like the most. By showing you only Instagram accounts that you regular view and interact with, it makes the process easier of separating the wheat from the chaff. Rather than manually deleting the profiles you follow that no longer interest you, now Instagram just doesn’t show you those profiles. My caveat is that I would like it to be easier to delete the profiles that you follow, but don’t interest you. Personally I like to keep the profiles that I follow clean rather than have a bunch of profiles just sitting there in my following count.

Thanks to Jared Reed, Pan Galactic Digital


#9 – User-Specific

Photo Credit: David Hernandez
Photo Credit: David Hernandez

Instagram’s Facebook-like algorithm has certainly upset the average users who felt that the app offered an untouchable social network that gives everyone fair play by offering a feed that is in chronological order. With the algorithm change and Instagram rolling out Business Pages, many brands worry about it becoming a pay for play model like its sister company Facebook. However, I feel that these changes could improve the app. As a business owner, I’m confident that my content could gain even more impressions and views if it had a better chance in newsfeeds with this user-specific algorithm. As a user, these changes mean that I can see all of my friends’ updates without seeking out their profiles – since Instagram claims that users miss about 70% of the content they are following. For both brands and users, these changes could cut down on a lot of the spam activity that was always a huge issue for Instagram. All in all, I welcome the change and look forward to seeing my favorite social network continue to grow.

Thanks to David Hernandez, lotus823


#10 – Overall Brand Experience

Photo Credit: Alder Yarrow
Photo Credit: Alder Yarrow

There are two universal truths about human beings. We all fear change, and we all value our opinions too highly. When a prominent brand like Instagram changes their logo, especially in this age of social media, we will always see a melee of criticism from everywhere. I think the company is rightfully taking some flak for that tacky gradient (which appears only in the app icon and their favicon), but apart from that, the changes they’ve made to their overall brand experience are very smart. Instagram is about the photos, period. The interface for the app is much more streamlined and beautiful, and they’ve dropped the gradient from the icon and all of the colors on the web site to let the photos pop. The rollout of the new identity has been swift and comprehensive, which is what you want to do when you make a change like this. Overall they’ve done a great job and the new Instagram is better than the old one, in my opinion.

Thanks to Alder Yarrow, Cibo


#11 – Lacking Impact

Photo Credit: Maxwell Barna
Photo Credit: Maxwell Barna

Rather than worry about the visual appearance of Instagram’s new logo, I think we should be more concerned with the impact (or lack thereof) that it’s going to have. In just a few short years, the old Instagram logo became one of the most recognizable and iconic tech logos in modern history. It was attractive, unique (read as: distinctive), and relevant to the social photo app for which it represented. It became instantly recognizable and was a huge hit with what would become Instagram’s massive cult-like following. Yet, just like that, it was replaced with something entirely different. What was once something extremely concise and unique has been transformed into a college kid who went to Coachella and found himself or herself. Branding fails happen from time to name (lest we forget MasterCard’s 2006 re-branding failure, and even Coca-Cola’s New Coke fail), but I think it’s pretty safe to say Instagram’s new logo may be the biggest branding bust of the year.

Thanks to Maxwell Barna, Rush Order Tees


#12 – Fixing What Isn’t Broken

Photo Credit: Regina von Gootkin
Photo Credit: Regina von Gootkin

One of the most frustrating things is when companies seek to fix what was not broke in the first place. Instagram was a platform where one could succeed based on merit. It wasn’t about how much money was behind you or how famous you were. Real people could gain real followers if they provided relevant and exceptional content. Now the algorithm tweak has changed things. Your content gets pushed to the bottom if you don’t have the numbers to back it up. This means that reality TV stars1 shoot to the top, while real people, brands and businesses, who are creating real and valuable content, are getting left behind. As with all things, I suspect that money is to blame; the move was likely a staging mechanism for Instagram to offer more ways to offer paid post options. While this may be good for Instagram’s bottom line, it’s bad for its loyal users. What the algorithm tweak signals to me is that “the next big thing” on the social media scene will be here sooner than we thought. #capitalism

[1] I use the term “star” lightly, as my definition of “star” is likely very different than the rest of the TV-watching world. #nocable #whatsakardashian #katemiddletonforthewin

Thanks to Regina von Gootkin, Wine Esquire, Esq.


#13 – Sooner than Hoped

Photo Credit: Carlo Barajas
Photo Credit: Carlo Barajas

From the moment Instagram was purchased by Facebook, it was only a matter of time before the platform became pay-to-pay for businesses. As a small, young company with a limited marketing budget, we took to Instagram right away because we knew we could quickly grow an audience and sales for almost no investment other than our time. We specifically held off on putting too much effort into Facebook because we knew we had to pay just to get our posts seen by our *followers*. Right now we generate about 90% of our sales organically through Instagram, so the upcoming changes are definitely going to throw a wrench in that machine. Of course we eventually planned on diversifying our marketing channels, but the announcements of all this came a little sooner than we had hoped.

Thanks to Carlo Barajas, Fossilized Fashion


#14 – Equal Footing

Photo Credit: Laura Messing
Photo Credit: Laura Messing

My agency handles social media and marketing for several clients and we especially focus on the Instagram platform for special promotions and contests.. Because the platform is so visually centered, it’s great for the out-of-the box, creative initiatives we run as well as day-to-day communications with our clients’ followers. The new changes have made things for some of my clients much more challenging. Clients with fewer followers suffer because their photos and messaging are supplanted by posts from any individual or organization with a huge following. This means we have to do more creative initiatives outside of Instagram just to get followers. It’s really unfortunate because Instagram was truly one of the best ways for a small company to have some semblance of equal footing with larger ones.

Thanks to Laura Messing, Design Invasion


 #15 – Abrupt Change

Photo Credit: Lisa Giosi
Photo Credit: Lisa Giosi

From a branding perspective, Instagram might have bit off more than it could chew when it came to changing their logo so abruptly. There’s nothing wrong with adapting to fit the needs of a growing audience, but there is a problem with rocking a ship that’s coasting nicely. A gradual shift would not only limit the risks of upsetting users, but it would add a more articulate and strategic touch because each smaller change is more significant.

Thanks to Lisa Giosi, Active Web Group

 

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