Instagram plans changes, a social media marketers need to pay attention

Over the past 12 years of my social media marketing career, I have learned that “the only constant in life is change” is a very true statement.

When I first started teaching classes for the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau, I taught a one-hour course on how to connect with others through Twitter and Facebook.

After that, they added images to both platforms, and Facebook Pages became the norm instead of brands having a regular profile.

Then Instagram came along a few years later and became one of the biggest platforms for hospitality brands to connect with their audiences.

Whether it’s a restaurant talking about new menu changes, breweries, and wineries promoting their latest releases, or business owners sharing information and entertainment with their community – Instagram has become the go-to visual place for consumers to learn about new brands, and for brands to build a connection with their audiences.

Creating social media content for Instagram used to be fairly simple: Plan ahead, look at your promotional calendar and events, then create posts based on that. (At least, this is what social media marketers should have been doing.)

But just recently, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, announced that it will be updating the Instagram feed (the main way users see posts from everyone they follow) to include three options:

1. Home: This will be the default feed, a combination of people you follow and what the algorithm thinks you will like. Let’s be honest: This is exactly how the TikTok FYP works, and Instagram is “borrowing it.”

2. Following: This will be the chronological feed of people you follow. (Yes, it’s back! And from the sound of everyone on an Instagram Reel I shared, this is going to be an exciting feature that users will welcome with open arms.)

3. Favorites: This will be a chronological feed of all the accounts you don’t want to miss. You can make your list by favoriting your friends, competitors, influencers, or funny accounts. We will probably be seeing a lot of CTAs from brands on Instagram asking people to add them to their favorites.

Mosseri said that Instagram will be testing these new features first, so not everyone will get them, but we can expect the new Instagram feeds to roll out in the first few months of 2022, if they haven’t already.

I will make sure to keep tabs on this and see how it impacts how we all use Instagram.

But remember: Engaging, fun and educational content — *cough* videos — will still be key to connecting and growing — possibly even more so moving forward.

If you haven’t started with Instagram Reels, now is the time to get started by taking a look at some of your frequently asked questions and create a short 30-second Instagram Reel answering one of these questions. For some examples of how video can help your brand connect with your audience on social media see “5 ways social media videos can help drive more business.”

If you haven’t already, connect with your internal team, or outsource some social media help (learn more about how to decide which is best for your company: Should my company bring digital marketing in-house or outsource? Try a combo of both).

Steve Liem

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