Let’s all take a deep breath. Today, Instagram will begin to roll out some changes that will affect the order in which some folks see the posts in their feeds. Instagram announced the changes a while back, but suddenly it seems that panicked ‘grams are popping up all over the place, commanding us to “turn on post notifications!” for every jewelry store, lifestyle blog and doughnut shop in our feeds. It’s making our content suck today, quite frankly. Boo to that. So let’s talk it out, calmly, instead of flipping out and asking people to take somewhat bizarre actions, shall we?
Here’s what’s changing:
The order of posts based on what Instagram thinks you’d like to see, based on how you engage with the accounts you follow. According to the announcement, “all the posts will still be there, just in a different order.”
Yikes! Is Instagram becoming Facebook?
Not exactly. Facebook owns Instagram, but they operate differently as far as brands and personal profiles work, so this won’t be a similar change to what we’ve experienced in the past when Facebook changes algorithms. And — good news alert — it turns out Instagram is going to test their changes ahead of any major rollout. That means that rather than roll out new changes and have everyone grab their pitchforks, they’ll see how smaller groups of users like the new optimized order and tweak until they “get it right,” according to reports.
Here’s what’s NOT changing:
Good content still wins. The good news is that if you keep producing great content and your followers like your content, well then you’ll be just fine.
So is the world ending?
Nope. Next question…
What does “turning on post notifications” mean?
If you have post notifications turned on for a particular user, when that user posts to Instagram, you will receive a notification, like a pop-up message, letting you know that they did.
So…should I do that?
Not necessarily. I mean, if you want to make sure that you never miss Grandma’s daily post about her breakfast, then yes. But if you really needed to know what Granny had in her oats every day then you should already have done that, I suppose. Here’s a quick common-sense breakdown:
What to do if you’re Ms. Regular Plain Jane Instagram user…
Nothing. Or, if you feel you must, go ahead and turn on a few notifications. See the Granny example above. Other examples include: Your favorite local celebri-dog, your bestie, or even Kanye. It’s whatever.
What to do if you’re a blogger…
Please do not ask everyone who follows you to turn on post notifications! Think of the implications of that. Non-stop pop-ups all over our phones. Drained batteries. A downward spiral of irritation and negativity, basically. Instead, post relevant, engaging content that you know from experience that your followers will love. Get those likes. Earn that engagement. You will win. And for the love of everything holy, keep being awesome.
What to do if you’re a brand…
Up your game. You are competing with people who are truly passionate about what they do, even without getting paid for it. Yet. Lead by example. Be confident but not cocky. Yes, Instagram is doing this to try and make you pay them for their users’ eyeballs, but that’s business. So beat them at the game. Make your content so good that you won’t need to spend. At least try. Maybe you won’t need to spend as much.
Want to read some more in-depth articles on this subject?
- The original announcement.
- A bit on what Instagram has to say in reaction to the freakout.
- A few interesting analyses of the update: