3 Instagram Changes That Will Affect Your Marketing Strategy



Good morning, internet fans. Ryan Perry, here. Simple Biz Support. Today is the first of June. It is Wednesday, therefore it is Social Media Wednesday. As usual I have Sarah Giometti with Provaro Marketing on the show.
Today we’re going to talk about Instagram and there are three changes to Instagram recently that should affect your marketing… What’s the word I want to use? Your marketing approach.

Sarah Giometti: There are… There actually are more than three that I thought for most of our followers, our clients these three are going to be the most critical to affecting their upcoming strategy. Along with a brand-new logo, Instagram rolled out a whole bunch of changes with their algorithm, about videos. Some of the other stuff was resulting in ads, which ads could be a whole another episode, is just talking about the changes in ads and the ad platform on Instagram. But first we want to talk about the video. So Instagram has always… It was about 16 seconds is what it used to be, and they’ve elongated it now. For the ones that have time limits, they’re the longest time-limited video at a full 60 seconds. Which if you think of it in commercial terms, that’s two 30-second commercials traditionally from TV. So it’s a really long time that you can have on Instagram is having a full 60-second video that you can post as part of your strategy. And that allows you to give a much bigger or longer feel towards what your topic is and what you’re trying to get across versus 15 seconds.

RP: Right, and I think what that really does is it really tells people how important video is. If they’re willing to expand the timeframe they’re saying look, people want more video. They need a little bit more time. And typically, you should be able to get a message across in 60 seconds assuming you’ve actually done your homework. I kind of think of it like Twitter, 140 characters. People are like, “Oh my goodness! How can I possibly get a message across in a 140 characters?” But it really made you focus. So taking it from 15 to 60, obviously we’re expanding it, but still within 60 seconds you should have it. And I forget, Zuckerberg, it’s been a few months now. He predicted in the next couple of years that 90% of the content that you see on Facebook is going to be video. I just read an article this morning talking about the changes across multiple social media platforms as it relates to video, so as far as marketing goes you already know this, Sarah. As far as I’m concerned, video is the number one tool for any business, especially small business because it really levels the playing field as far as how you’re able to get your message out there. How much does it cost for a 30-second commercial on ABC versus I can do one for free and put it out on YouTube, on Instagram. I can do a Vine, I can do it on Facebook and really target… Obviously I’d want to target my audience, but anyhow, I could go on forever about video.

SG: Yeah, I’m not surprised that Instagram is putting more emphasis on video. It’s, especially for small businesses, it’s a quick and easy way to get your message out there but also people buy from people they like. They’re not buying just from a company, they’re not… For the most part, some of the stuff we buy for our household we buy for other reasons, but when you’re doing a… When you’re buying a service and you’re buying something that’s personal to you, you’re buying from a person. You’re buying from them, from their expertise. You like them, you want to hang out with them. A couple weeks ago we were in a class and they’re like you want your clients that you like, that you want to actually hang out with ’cause then it’s fun being able to go out. You enjoy meeting with your clients if you like them ’cause then you have fun doing it, and your job doesn’t feel like a job. And video helps shorten that sales cycle because if somebody’s watched some of your videos they can get across at least some of your demeanor, your personality, how you interact, what behavioral style you might be would come through on your video. And so it’s a great way to allow people who haven’t hired you yet or are considering hiring you to get a feel for who you really are.

RP: Yeah, and podcasting is also becoming more popular and through the voice we’re able to hear things, and that’s one of the things that I like to do when it makes sense. Like these recordings I convert, I extract the audio, and I turn it onto a podcast so I can reach a whole other market. And that’s another reason why I like video is that there’s so much you can do with it. I know we’re supposed to be talking about Instagram, but video really is the future and the fact that a lot of social media, not agencies, but companies including Instagram recently are changing the way they’re handling video is a real key indication of how important video is going forward. And before we spend all day about video, let’s bring it back to Instagram, ’cause that’s only one of the three things that we want to talk about.

SG: Right. So 60 seconds, with a 60-second video you can get a really synced message across. You can still use that video on other platforms, especially Facebook. Facebook doesn’t have video limits. But that’s a big change on Instagram, and if you’re doing video on Instagram you should adjust your strategy to have longer videos. And you don’t need to do them all at 60 seconds. Just because you have the time doesn’t mean you need to take all of the time. If your message is a 20-second message, then it’s a 20-second video, end of video. Don’t try and drag on just to have the time. The second change on Instagram that I think is relevant to small business owners is, it also relates to video, but it shows you the number of views, and that was something that you… They weren’t… Instagram is working on rolling out analytics tools. It’s not out to everybody yet. It’s rolling out kinda on beta. It’s slowly rolling out as people see it. That’s one of the hang ups with Instagram is you hadn’t really been able to get true analytics on what you were doing. Now with the longer videos, you now can see how many people view it. And you can… And how many… And when you click on that you can see if they like you, if they follow you, you can follow them. And so it helps you with your engagement based on the effectiveness of the video that you put out.

RP: Alright, and that’s really important across all social media. I can’t tell you how many times, especially social media if you’re not actually getting anything out of it. So, one, have you you set a goal? Number two, how do you track it without analytics? It’s pretty hard to track it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back and looked at different platforms. Was kind of amazed that this content’s doing really well. And on the same side, I’m like, “This content didn’t do as good as I thought it would be. What’s going on?” Because you always want to sharpen, sharpen, sharpen, so having those analytics are great.

SG: Right, especially if you’re going to add more video to your strategy and you’re going to make a longer video. Having that one little piece of analytics that’s rolled out already, will really help you refine and make your… The video portion of your Instagram strategy much more effective.

RP: Alright, perfect. And then number three?

SG: Number three is the algorithm, it changed a few weeks ago and I know a lot of people were stressed out over it. It’s not the same as the Facebook algorithm. It is different. It’s based on the end user. It’s based on who I interact with. When I log onto Instagram under my account, it shows me if there’s a post… It wasn’t based on popularity either. If say, I interact with Brian a lot on Instagram and he did a post three hours ago, that will be more likely to show up than some brand that I’ve never interact with and just happen to follow. Brian’s will take precedence over their’s, because I interact with his more. They are still trying to guess what you would like better ’cause you’re probably not on Instagram 24 hours a day, I would think. They are trying to guess what you would like to see out of what they could possibly serve you, versus the chronological. It is a down side that it’s not quite chronological. But the plus side is if you haven’t been on in a few hours and the few people and/or brands that you interact with a lot and like to see, you’re more likely to not miss their contents the next time you log in to Instagram because you interact with it. So as a consumer, you want to make sure you’re interacting with the people and brands that you want to interact with, so that they’re more likely to show up at the top of your newsfeed. As a brand, you want to have compelling content so that your customers do that to you.

RP: Right. And I think, the whole algorithm is a little controversial, especially when you go back and you look at the news with Facebook and the way they manipulate it. They’ve done some tests to see if they can make people happy or sad based on the content they put out there. But overall, the reality is, Twitter is suffering right now. It is not as strong of a network that it used to be and one of the reasons that I’ve heard a lot of people talk about it is that it’s like drinking from a fire hose. It’s an overwhelming amount of content and for most people when you have an overwhelming amount of content, the brain shuts down and says, “I can’t deal with this anymore” or the content is not relevant because all of these SEO experts said, “Follow as many people as possible” and then you end up getting a bunch of junk in there and you haven’t created the list. Or if you go way back you can get 5,000 Twitter followers for 50 cents. All those type of things. So I think the algorithm is a benefit assuming that the companies are actually honest about how they use the algorithm, and they truly are promoting that, look, these are the people I have a tight social network with. Therefore, yes, I want to see 80% of their content and then maybe give me 20% of the other stuff so I can get an idea. It’s kinda like listening to music. I like to listen to music that I haven’t heard before, just not all the time.

SG: Right, so that… I don’t think it’s a huge negative on Instagram, because again, people started following just everybody under the sun to grow their following on Instagram like they did on Twitter and you can’t do something like lists on Instagram. You’re kinda stuck with either un-following people, which I am doing a client I just took on. They had a whole bunch of random irrelevant people they were following and I have just been slowly cleaning out the herd there. The algorithm will actually help those people who did follow too many people and they can’t… It’s just filling up their feed. The other bonus with Instagram is it’s visual, it’s pictures. We like pictures. I read a stat a while ago, I think it was from MIT, that said that we process an image in 1.6 milliseconds. Faster than we could read anything. It’s why pictures, we’re visual people, it’s why pictures are so effective. Video is effective because we want to relate and have the relationships with other people and the people that we do business with. It’s where Instagram is really powerful. It also covers a lot of age demographic. The 18 to 40 crowd, which is really two to three generations. When you cover 18 to 40, you’re covering at least two and a half. You’ve got everywhere from Gen-X, Gen-Y, and millennials, and whatever the current one is. And so…

RP: You know, I’ve heard their name, but I forget what it is. They’re like the pacifiers or something. And the crazy thing is a lot of people… I think there’s still a myth out there, hopefully it’s being debunked, is that the reality is we’re getting older. I have a friend, just had a birthday today, actually I’ve got two friends having birthdays today, everybody’s getting incrementally older, and they are engaging… I wish I could remember who was talking about it, is the fact that society is actually getting younger because of all the digital connection that we have with younger people, so maybe through Facebook, Instagram, whatever it is, just surrounding yourself, maybe surrounding yourself isn’t the right word, but being exposed to that younger generation is actually making people feel younger. The whole 50 is now 40 is now 30 type of thing is real, and social media has a big impact on that, so it’s really important to know your audience. Always, always, always know your audience first, and understand, are they in that social crowd, and if they are, market to them. It really shouldn’t be about you, it should be about your audience and what it is that they want and where they’re at, so anyhow. I’m not going to rant. That, and we’re running out of time.

SG: Right, so to re-cap the three major changes that I think impact small business owners and their strategy the most, one, video goes from, it’s 15 or 16, I can’t remember, seconds to 60. So you’ve got a lot more time to get your message across, but you still want to be clear and succinct and singular. You don’t want to do one or two or three, you want one singular topic. You can do multiple videos in your strategy. Number two is that you can see how many view it and look through that list and see if there’s anybody worth following and create more engagement as a part of your Instagram strategy. And the third one is the algorithm is making sure you put out good, consistent content that your followers are interested in, utilizing hash tags so you get exposure and so you’re showing up in the top of the news feed for the people that you want to see you, your existing and potential customers.

RP: Alright, perfect. So that is going to be the three things you really want to look at, especially if you’re actively using Instagram. How can you take advantage of these new changes that have happened in the last couple of weeks to continually to improve your marketing efforts on this platform. Sarah, as always, I appreciate the time and energy that you put into the show. We will back here next week, same time, same place, with another social media topic. That’s it for today. Thank you, everybody. Sarah, we’ll see you next week. Take care.

SG: Thanks, Ryan.


About the Author:

Ryan Perry is the founder and CEO of Simple Biz Support, Inc. Ryan started video blogging in 2009 as an alternative to written blogs to create visibility and credibility online. During the workweek, he enjoys helping small business owners harness the power of video to grow their companies. On the weekends, he enjoys hiking and searching out waterfalls throughout the state of California.

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