By Kate Skinner | @Skinner_Tweets
Last Tuesday, Instagram made the big announcement: Soon they will be updating their feed.
According to Instagram’s news release, users will see the content they care about the most. When users open their accounts, the feed will be reordered to show the photos and videos that they are more likely to interact with. Don’t worry though—they don’t plan on removing any content.
Supposedly, this is great for most users who miss an average of 70 percent of the content in their feeds. Instagram just wants the 30 percent they do see to be really, really, really ridiculously good looking. (Ahem, @zoolander.)
No word on how they got this stat.
— Bobbie Seacrist (@BobbiesBlogs) March 16, 2016
. @instagram any chance of having the option to turn the algorithm on/off? One of my favorite things about IG was seeing everything. ????
— Benj Haisch (@benjhaisch) March 15, 2016
The worst part? No one knows when exactly this will happen. Kevin Systrom, co-founder and chief executive of Instagram says, “we take big change slowly and deliberately and bring the community along with us...It’s not like people will wake up tomorrow and have a different Instagram.” He reassured the New York Times that only a single-digit percentage of users would experience the change before Instagram decides to change the feed universally.
How do they decide on this percentage? Where will they be located? Will they be mega-accounts that receive thousands of likes in seconds? Will people still be able to see pictures of my cat?
To be fair, this news didn’t come entirely as a surprise. If you’re in the business of social (or if you’re just seriously addicted to checking your accounts), you’ve probably noticed this trend as of late.
But what does all this mean for small businesses and content management?
It depends on a few things. Is your brand “sexy” enough? Are you buying your followers? Do you post a lot of content, but receive only a few likes on each? Could people recognize your brand just from the images and videos you post? Do you social like Kanye?
Forbes has some good suggestions to keep you relevant. But if you were depending on organic reach to keep your products hot, let’s just say get ready for a cutthroat year.
(Also, say your goodbyes to cool apps like PicSlit and Giant Square. Without the reverse chronological order, they’re sort of...irrelevant. Sure, you could still post each image and create the same effect. But if you have a bunch of incomplete images that must be viewed as a whole, do you really think it’s worth hurting the number of likes you get per post? Probably not with this new algorithm.)
Bandwagoning at its finest? Maybe. But hey, at least they might start a new trend on Twitter.