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Instagram recently announced that they would be adopting Facebook’s model of algorithm-controlled content. Rather than seeing the posts of people you follow in chronological order, you’ll now see them based on “the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.”

Many brands and individuals are decrying the move, fearful of the limited reach that Facebook content can have due to their similar algorithm. For nonprofits already struggling with the organic reach of their content, this change to Instagram’s feed may cause some heartburn.

But don’t sound the alarm yet. Here are a few things nonprofits should keep in mind:

1. We don’t yet know much about how the algorithm will work.

Years of study have gone into what makes the Facebook algorithm tick, with updates reshuffling the deck frequently.

If the Instagram algorithm is anything like Facebook’s (Facebook owns Instagram), content that gets the most likes and comments will be given preferential treatment. The more an individual interacts with your content, the more likely it will be that they see your future content.

2. Concentrate on creating compelling content.

Until more advertising options emerge from Instagram, the best and only way to “beat” the algorithm is going to be ensuring that you create the kind of content that gets a lot of engagement.

Keep your eyes open for interesting, emotional or humorous moments that can be captured and shared. Be sure to include others in your photos and videos, and tag them. Users will be more likely to interact with your posts if they are a part of them!

3. Don’t panic!

Before you draft a petition for ad grants or break out the torches and pitchforks to march on the Facebook/Instagram headquarters, take a deep breath.

One advantage of an algorithmic newsfeed is that your content can have a longer shelf life. Rather than being pushed down by the posts the come after it, your posts may hang around for days and even weeks (think of your Facebook feed, and how posts that are days old still appear). Be sure to cross-promote your content to Facebook for additional exposure.

4. Don’t let this prevent you from adopting Instagram.

If you were thinking about dipping your toes into the Instagram pool, don’t let this change be a deterrent. There are many nonprofits using Instagram effectively, and the network still boasts a massive user count and daily usage.

Does your nonprofit use Instagram? Let me know in the comments below!

The Art & Science of Digital Donor Retention

Steven Shattuck

Steven Shattuck

Chief Engagement Officer at Bloomerang
Steven Shattuck is Chief Engagement Officer at Bloomerang. A prolific writer and speaker, Steven is a contributor to "Fundraising Principles and Practice: Second Edition" and volunteers his time on the Project Work Group of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, is an AFP Center for Fundraising Innovation (CFI) committee member, and sits on the faculty of the Institute for Charitable Giving. He is the author of Robots Make Bad Fundraisers - How Nonprofits Can Maintain the Heart in the Digital Age, published by Bold and Bright Media.
Steven Shattuck