NOTE: This blog post is part 8 of my INSTAGRAM SERIES - content all about helping YOU manage your way around instagram. In the INSTAGRAM SERIES I've touched on subjects such as why it is going to get even harder for bloggers to get noticed on instagram, why you're losing followers (and what to do about it), and (the popular and upbeat) simple tips to enjoy instagram (despite the algorithms). Just click here to find all the other parts in the series. Now on with today's post...
I recently asked those who follow me on instagram to tell me what they are struggling with most on the social media platform; ENGAGEMENT and REACH came up again and again. Since the change in algorithms last year it's become so much harder to connect with your audience organically, which totally sucks right?! I hear you ;). But rather than dwell on the inevitable and unchangeable, I thought it would be interesting to try and come up with a few ideas on how best to beat the algorithms and extend your organic reach!
IMPROVE YOUR REACH AND ENGAGEMENT THROUGH INSTAGRAM LIVE!
Today I'm focusing on the idea of going LIVE. I know this is probably not the solution you were hoping for, but please HEAR ME OUT! I totally understand that it can be a little bit daunting to use the LIVE option on instagram, but there are LOTS of reasons this tactic really does work when it comes to reach and engagement!
Beat the instagram algorithm
Instagram is clearly VERY keen to push it's relatively new instagram LIVE option. The optimist in me wants to believe it's because instagram LIVE allows you to establish a close and authentic connection with your followers (and remember, instagram is all about building communities and connections!). The cynic in me thinks instagram is eager to promote LIVE because they wants to kill off snapchat and cuz they want to keep you hooked on their app for longer ;). Either way when you go LIVE, instagram pushes you to the very front of the instagram stories queue, giving instastories algorithm the middle finger and making sure YOU are seen and heard by all. Awesomo!!!
Stand out from the crowd
I recently taught a 3-day food photography and food styling course and one of the attendees asked the following during our session on social media and instagram: There are SO many instagram accounts, so many bloggers, how do I stand out and get noticed? Well girlfriend, instagram LIVE is one way to do just that! It's SUCH an underused tool and unlike the instagram picture gallery definitely NOT overcrowded. This means that it's a great place for you to make your mark and be different.
Increase your reach
If facebook trends are anything to go by (and seeing facebook owns instagram, it's a pretty safe bet that facebook trends ARE clear indicators of where instagram is heading), then doing instagram LIVE videos means that the images you post on your instagram feed around the time you post an instagram LIVE video will do better than images you post when you're not LIVE.
This can be due to the fact that people watch you on instagram LIVE, like what they see and then decide to have a quick look at your regular feed. It can also be that instagram not only pushes your LIVE video to the forefront, but also bumps up the image posted around the time you do your LIVE video because they want more people to see and notice you on instagram LIVE (you get me?).
Increase your engagement
When I did my online research I read that going LIVE could boost engagement, but I thought I'd check in with the professionals to see whether this was really true. California based Ryan and Adam, the bloggers behind Husbands That Cook - who have been going LIVE on their instagram every Friday for the last 6 months - generously agreed to share their experience with me.
The men explained that they have noticed that the quality of the engagement they received on their feed has changed since they've done LIVE videos; followers are more interested in and feel more emotionally connected to them and their instagram feed. This is CRUCIAL you guys!!! Though Ryan and Adam didn't use the term, I feel what they describe is what I'd refer to as a loyal and invested TRIBE. TRIBES who care about YOU are MUCH more valuable than passive followers who will unfollow you at a blink of an eye, wouldn't you agree?
From my brief stint on instagram LIVE on Saturday October 14th, I can say that I got waaayyyy more engagement than on instagram stories (and my engagement there is actually quite decent).
In short, if engagement is of concern to you, go LIVE!
What to consider if you want to get started on instagram Live?
Ryan and Adam have some solid advice for anyone interested in giving it a go:
Remember people are tuning in because they like YOU.
Have everything set and ready, be that ingredients if you're cooking live or a list of things to say if you're giving a talk.
Just do it!
Don't overthink it and just get started. It's a challenge at the very beginning for sure, but over time you'll get better and more importantly you'll really start to enjoy that close connection with your followers.
I'm going live on instagram and it's all about food styling and food photography!
After all this talk about instagram LIVE I better practice what I preach! And so I'm going LIVE and I'd love for you to join me.
When? Sundays at 7pm GMT October 22nd, October 29th, November 5th and November 12th
What happens thereafter? We'll see ;).
How long will you be on instagram LIVE? From 7-7.15pm. Yup, short and snappy, so don't miss out :).
What's it gonna be about? I'll be talking about food styling and food photography, looking at 3 images from the instagram photography challenge and giving you tips you can take away and apply to your own photography.
Where can I find you? Right here on instagram.
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Thanks for reading everyone. See you all next week!