Is Instagram out to destroy small business?

Using Instagram as a business Shine communication

Hint: The answer is no, but if you've been reading some recent blogs you might think so. 

If, like me, you use Instagram for your business you’ll no doubt be aware that Instagram changed its algorithm a few times in the last 12 months.  The biggest change happened just before Christmas.

You also might have read multiple viral blog posts about the ‘new rules’ for Instagram. I’m just going to come out and say it. These articles are full of rumours and often plain misinformation.

So, I’ve decided to address some of those rumours

 

Using Instagram Stories.

Stories are a GREAT way to engage with your audience. If you’re a business you should be doing stories.  They’re fun, quick and a great way to reconnect with people not currently engaging with your feed.

Want to improve your engagement and grow your following? Post more stories.

 

Using hashtags on Instagram

Many of these rumours relate to how many hashtags you should use and where to post them. Currently, you can use up to 30 and you can post hashtags both in the caption or comment. There is no difference at all in your visibility.

If Instagram sees hashtags as ‘spammy’ they will limit the number you can post. Until then you can post up to THIRTY.

Using the same hashtags isn’t a problem with Instagram, however it will mean that the same group of people see your posts. So, you’re better off changing them up BUT Instagram doesn't penalising you if you don't.  

 

Best length for Instagram comments

Instagram likes to see meaningful engagement on your posts. That means that Instagram puts more weight on longer comments, however Instagram rates all comments as engagement regardless of length.

If you have a business account you can see what Instagram counts as a ‘comment’ in their insights.

 

What gets you in trouble with Instagram?

There is only one thing that currently gets you in trouble with Instagram. Using bots or behaving in a bot like manner. So, what does ‘behaving in a bot like manner’ mean?

·      Excessive liking posts in a short time frame

·      Excessive commenting in a short time frame

·      Commenting the same phrase on multiple posts in a short time frame

·      Following an excessive amount of people in a short time frame

·      Unfollowing an excessive amount of people in a short time frame

 

When you do any of the above, you will get a warning message from Instagram, and maybe even a 24 hour ban on performing that action. Just remember, Instagram lets you know when they don’t like what you are doing.

 

Instagram best practice

Instagram started as an image sharing platform that encouraged posting in the moment.

So, think about what Instagram wants. They want spontaneous posts with fun and engaging captions. They want you to behave like people and not bots. The best approach to Instagram?  Do what feels natural to you.

That’s pretty much it. And remember if you DO behave in a way Instagram doesn't like, they'll let you know. 

Need more help using Instagram for your business?  Download our free 17 page guide.