Instagram has gone through some pretty enormous changes in the last few years. And two of those changes in particular are making a real difference to how brands and influencers are working together.
The Instagram algorithm has moved them from the chronological ordering of posts (which a lot of people really liked) to one that favours the most engaging content (which, unsurprisingly, a lot of Instagrammers aren’t so happy with).
Last year Instagram had already introduced Instagram Business – a tool that enables brands and businesses to have a different kind of page to the ordinary individual profile.
As well as a handy ‘contact’ button, brands are finding Instagram Business more interesting as it now contains its own in-built analytics function.
Instagram Business also now enables brands to manage their own adverts without the advertising tools on Facebook – a not entirely surprising development considering Instagram ad revenue is set to hit the $2 billion mark globally by 2017.
So, the combination of an algorithm that rewards richer content, in-built analytics and ad functions, and a user base that continues to grow at astonishing rates, could mean big developments for influencers.
If you’re an influencer, you should probably see Instagram Business as an opportunity for your future brand partnerships. Yes, brands now have greater ability (and incentives) to run paid content. But the key to the algorithm remains a healthy bias towards posts that attract the most personal interactions (i.e. what no one does better than an Instagram influencer).
The smartest brands are building Instagram marketing strategies that balance the authentic, stories an influencer can tell with the extra leverage the new ad and analytics capabilities offer.
In other words, the fundamental reason why engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than it is on Facebook (and a massive 84 times higher than on Twitter) is because it remains such a genuine, personal and creative space.
On the one hand, the best content creators on Instagram can only benefit from a more detailed breakdown of how different posts are performing – especially with a new, and not entirely influencer-friendly, algorithm to get around.
But many influencers are understandably unsure about how being seen as ‘a business’ will effect their credibility amongst a following who has always just seen them as a real person.
Like most decisions an Instagram influencer has to take when they’re starting to get serious about monetising what they do, it’ll be different for everyone.
But, whether you take advantage of Instagram Business through refining and enhancing the work you do with brands, or whether you take the leap and see what the new tools can do for your own profile, it’s definitely an exciting new development.
Even if you really, really hate the new algorithm.