Instagram recently announced its plans to pivot away from digital marketing strategy.
As the Social Media Strategist at Ignite, it’s my job to stay on top of updates – and think of ways to pivot strategies based on those changes.
Keep reading to find out all you need to know about this Instagram update and how to adapt your strategy.
Changes Included In New Instagram Update
A few weeks ago, Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, announced that Instagram will no longer be a photo-sharing app.
(Yes, you read that right.)
Given the growth of TikTok and other video-based platforms, the company’s leaders have decided to lean into video content and re-market themselves as less of a square filtered photo app and more of a full-screen entertainment experience.
In a video posted to his Instagram and Twitter accounts, Mosseri said that moving forward, Instagram will be focusing on 4 major areas:
- Creators – helping creators gain exposure and get paid for their work.
- Video – making it easier to entertain and inform the app’s users with quick and digestible video content.
- Shopping – increasing the ability to shop big brands and small shops directly from the Instagram app
- Messaging – improving the way we communicate with family and friends by making improvements in their direct messaging platform.
Mosseri noted that one of his biggest passions is helping creators profit off of their work and content. Instagram had a large role in shifting power from institutions to individuals, and we don’t expect Instagram to step away from that work.
Why the Pivot Towards Video Content?
Whether it’s TikTok or YouTube, video content is big for creators and consumers alike.
Instagram started leaning into this with the introduction of Instagram Reels in 2020.
Reels made it easier for Instagram to compete with TikTok and Snapchat by giving users the ability to create videos directly on the app – but it doesn’t seem to be enough yet.
Consumers are looking for more video content and Instagram wants to make their app the place to go for entertaining and informative video content. While Reels are great, Instagram will be taking this concept and expanding on its video-sharing abilities.
New Ways to Target Your Ideal Audience
Exposing your content to new audiences is always a goal of any marketing strategy. With this new Instagram update, this may become easier.
As part of the update, the app will start showing users more content and accounts they think they will enjoy based on their browsing history. They’re calling this update Instagram Recommendations.
This is great news if you’re trying to grow on the app. If you can create interesting and engaging video content, you’re more likely to reach more users through the Recommendations process.
Another new feature that will be tested and rolled out soon is Instagram Topics.
Topics will give users the opportunity to select which type of content they want to see. For example, new moms may really want their Recommendations to include mommy bloggers or video content about motherhood. CrossFitters, on the other hand, would rather be shown fitness videos or products. Topics will make it easier for each group to find the content they want.
As a brand, you should start thinking about how to reevaluate your content strategy to take advantage of Topics and Recommendations.
Be sure your content is falling under the correct topics. If you want to reach athletes, your content should relate to Topics an athlete may be interested in, such as training, running, dietary supplements, etc. If you would rather reach new moms, focus on Topics such as postpartum help, sleep schedules, or highest-rated baby items.
To increase your chances of reaching audiences through both Recommendations and Topics, start thinking about how you can pivot towards including more video content.
Make Reels that will catch your audience’s eye. Do short tutorials or product reviews. Record customer testimonials on video or switch from creating infographics to more informational video clips.
While Instagram promises the photos that made the app famous won’t go anywhere, they have also made it clear that their focus is shifting towards videos and overall entertainment. If you want to be successful on the app, your content needs to do the same.
Embrace Influencer Marketing
One of the ways that brands and businesses can find success in this new Instagram update is to fully embrace influencer marketing.
Because influencers seem more authentic and approachable than huge celebrities, their content tends to perform very well. This will be key with the new Instagram update, as it favors content that is educational, entertaining, and organic.
If the app sees that your brand’s content is entertaining and authentic, it’s more likely that you will end up on your ideal client’s Recommendations or Topics. Incorporating influencers, especially micro-influencers, is a great way for brands and businesses to expose themselves to more people.
Due to this shift and the increase in making sure creators get paid for their work, it can also help even the playing field for micro-influencers.
Incorporating an influencer with less than 1000 followers could mean up to 85% more engagement than those larger accounts. The more engagement content gets, the more the algorithm will push the content in Recommendations.
Instagram is No Stranger to Change
Instagram is no stranger to change.
In fact, one of the reasons why the app has been so successful is due in part to its leadership team moving and changing with trends.
When the app was born, it was created out of a need for quick and easy filters for photos. These photos were able to be shared on other social media sites, such as Twitter or Facebook. But over time, sharing the photos directly to a user’s Instagram feed simply became the preferred way to share.
Once it became clear that users wanted to share videos in addition to sharing photos, Instagram made that change, too. The addition helped Instagram stand out from other types of media because users were able to share both photos and video, rather than one or the other.
Add to that addition of content recommendations and popular Instagram Stories, it’s safe to say the company knows how to evolve in order to stay relevant.
As you start to reconsider your content marketing strategy, take a page from Instagram’s evolution strategy. Since they will start pushing more informational and educational video content, consider how you may be able to tie that into your plans.
Have you been making infographics? Start taking that content and turning it into quick informational video clips.
Sharing client testimonials on a Canva graphic? Turn that into a video clip.
Big on product flat lays? Turn that into a quick product video with music.
Not all of your videos need to be hilarious or well-choreographed Reels. You can easily turn your most popular graphic posts into engaging video clips that will capture the attention of your audience and of the Instagram algorithm.
But, This Instagram Update is Not Abandonment of Photo Sharing
If you use Instagram to share your photographic content, don’t panic.
In a follow-up tweet, Mosseri noted Instagram isn’t fully abandoning its photo-first approach. Photos will still be a part of your ability to share and connect.
While this Instagram update is exciting, and will certainly cause a shift in some digital marketing strategies, it seems that the end goal of the social media app is to make it easier for digital marketers to share their content, not harder.
Key Take-Aways from Instagram’s Update
While it can be hard to picture a world where Instagram isn’t known as “the photo-sharing app”, this new Instagram update announcement isn’t all bad news.
The update will expose users to more entertaining and informative video content, while also helping influencers build a brand and a business on the app.
These new changes may have sounded catastrophic at first but I truly believe that they will only improve Instagram’s standings in the social media rankings.
As for digital marketers worrying about overhauling their whole strategy, don’t panic. Simply make sure your plan includes informative and entertaining video content and look into using more influencer marketing to create quality and organic content for your business or brand.
Change is always necessary in order to evolve. Instagram is no exception to this rule. In fact, history shows that Instagram is an expert at evolving and embracing new trends.