Have you noticed that your Instagram account is not performing as well as it did in 2021? If so, you might be able to blame Meta, Instagram’s parent company for changing the platform’s algorithm at the beginning of this year. The new algorithm prioritizes videos or better known as Reels on Instagram. The re-focus is a result of retaliation against TikTok’s popularity and success.


Who Has Been Impacted?

Small businesses aren’t happy with their noticeable drop in engagement on posts and declining sales. Instagram became a useful tool for small business owners, especially during the pandemic as it helped them gain brand awareness, drive traffic to their website and ultimately drive sales. Small businesses were able to master a quality image, witty caption, and strategic hashtags to gain momentum. Once the new algorithm took hold, small businesses were left in the dust. Instagram told their users that in order to have the best shot at being discovered with Reels the video content needs to be of high-quality, use text, filters and camera effects, set to trending music/sounds and must be entertaining. This is too much to ask of a small business owner who doesn’t have the skillset or time to plan and edit videos. Some business owners have either invested in outside help from an agency or freelancer or they simply have moved to a different platform, such as TikTok where their algorithm is a bit more friendly to the amateur-style approach to video content.


How Can Your Business Succeed On Instagram?

If you’re looking to outsmart the algorithm, then here are a few tips:

  • SOUND is a must! Audio and music are instrumental in short-form video (Note: go to the explore page and see what audio is trending so you can hop on the trend).
  • On-Screen TEXT. Use on-screen text and captions in your Reels.
  • Ask for your viewers to go to your Link in Bio.
  • Use the DRAW tool. Add some extra flare to your post with the draw tool available in Instagram.
  • Stick on STICKERS! Have some fun and add some stickers to jazz up your Reel.
  • SHARE your Reel to the Feed
  • Use your phone in order to keep to the optimal dimensions (Note: Create content with an aspect ratio of 9:16, and with a size of 1080 pixels x 1920 pixels)
  • Avoid having important visuals or effects in the bottom fifth of a Reel since that is where the video caption is displayed
  • Instagram’s algorithm prefers native content meaning you shoot and edit within Instagram; however, if you need to expand for advanced features and editing you can use third-party apps such as Splice, Beatleap, or InShot.
  • Instagram’s algorithm doesn’t like recycled content so stay away from just sharing your TikTok video content to your Reels.


Next Steps

Social media platforms can be a great tool for small businesses, but when they change the algorithm, it can have a devastating impact on your success. Having an omnichannel approach to marketing will help you diversify your revenue channels and balance things out when one is not working out well.


Best of luck and have some fun! If you need advice or want a social audit performed on your business profiles, contact us today.