Meet Instagram's Timeline Algorithm, Instagram Stories
First off: The new algorithm has made some small businesses unhappy. With the old way Instagram showed photos to users, the most recent photos were at the top of anyone’s feed. Now, Instagram tries to gauge which photos you’ll be most interested in seeing first, based on what (and who) you’ve expressed interest in via past activity. Twitter is doing a similar thing with their new “While you were away” section of curated tweets. However, this means some small business’s Instagram posts could lose exposure.
The good news is, there may be some ways around this new algorithm. This Huffington Post article lays out four tips for doing so, including asking your followers to opt in for notifications of your posts. This way, what you share will be included in those user’s popular posts at the top of their feed. Another good tip here is to keep making consistent use of your hashtags. Your posts will continue to show up in hashtag search results as they have in the past. No change there.
Now, let’s get into Instagram Stories. This came out just days ago with a new Instagram update. If you don’t see a series of circles containing the profile pictures of those you follow at the top of your app, update to the latest version. It should look something like this:
If you tap on any of those circles, you’ll see that user’s “story.” If you’ve used Snapchat, you may notice Instagram’s stories look a lot like Snapchat’s, even down to the font use. That’s no coincidence. This Techcrunch interview with Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom makes it clear that Snapchat was the model for the photo sharing app’s new feature. Like Snapchat’s, Instagram Stories also vanish once they’ve been seen.
One nice thing about Stories is that, as is the case with Snapchat stories, you can see a list of users who have viewed your story. That’s some feedback we weren’t getting before, aside from knowing who took the time to like a photo. Plus, there are a ton of fun features involved, like being able to doodle on images and add emojis to them. Here’s a fun how-to guide.
Social media platforms are always changing, but for an app that didn’t vary much during its first several years of existence, Instagram is making waves in 2016. At least we’ve all gotten used to that new logo.