What Instagram's Latest Updates Mean for Social Media Managers

Instagram users criticize the apps latest updates, saying they are too similar to TikTok.
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Photo by Fausto Sandoval on Unsplash

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With a combined follower count of 687 million, when Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner speak, people listen.

Instagram is listening, too.

It is well documented that the platform has undergone many changes. All in hopes to stay ahead of TikTok. But let’s face it, they’re not.

In its most recent milestone, TikTok became the world’s most popular domain, dethroning Google for the top spot last year. News like this sparks rumblings in investor meetings, putting pressure on companies like Instagram to do something to increase growth and market share.

To combat the changing landscape, Instagram chose to switch from a photo-sharing app to a video-first platform. With a heavy focus on Reels, the company has become a shadow of its former self.

The Kardashians are not the only ones who it’s affecting.

Latest Instagram Updates of 2022

In response to the newest algorithm and feed updates, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri shared a message, explaining various points of concern among users.

Mosseri covers three key updates being implemented on Instagram:

  • Reels Only — Instead of there being a tab on your account page for both Reels and videos, both will merge into Reels. This means that the optimal video format will only be 9:16 (vertical).
  • Full-Screen Feed — A number of accounts are seeing a more immersive experience in their feed. Mosseri assures users that this is still in testing mode and that it is “not yet good,” and simply not good enough to be sent out to all users at this time.
  • Video Focused — While video has obviously become more of an emphasis for the app, Mosseri claims that images remain an important component.
  • Instagram Generated Recommendations — These are posts from pages you don’t follow. According to Mosseri, Instagram wants to provide people with more content that they may enjoy.

These shifts are clearly an attempt by Instagram to increase user engagement by adopting a more TikTok-like visual layout.

If you scroll down Mosseri’s post and read the comments, you’ll find a large number of people ripping Instagram’s recent updates, but for good reason.

Comment by @jamscharles

Instagram is stuck between a rock and its users. The data is showing that most content being shared and engaged with on the platform are videos. However, creators like James Charles are saying this is because of how hard Instagram is pushing video content and not because of video's appeal overall.

Social Media Managers Are 1st in Line

Many of your favorite Instagram accounts are handled by teams and single individuals called Social Media Managers (SMM). These are the unsung heroes writing captions, engaging with followers, and creating the online experience around a brand.

Account owners focus on their business while Social Media Managers focus on the company’s social media image. This can include:

  • Develop creative social media strategies
  • Manage all social media channels
  • Create engaging content to increase company goals
  • Launch new campaigns to promote the brand
  • Establish key relationships with influencers
  • Conduct audience research
  • Monitor, track, analyze and report on social media performance
  • Research the latest trends and techniques
  • Analyze competitor activity

Many brands are photo-focused and don’t rely on video as a central mode of content production. Not to mention the changing aspect ratio is forcing account managers to dig deeper into their creative bags.

People in this position are having a tough time adjusting to the new changes and creating content that makes sense for their clientele.

How can they create content for clients that is successful?

What Can Social Media Managers Do?

Let’s not pretend that Instagram has not become a critical piece of the marketing puzzle for many brands and businesses.

They cannot afford to leave the platform behind just because they don’t agree with the new changes. So what are account managers to do?

Whether you believe your company belongs on Instagram or not, there is a strong chance your ideal customers are there.

Here are some strategic marketing tips you can implement today:

Encourage more User-Generated Content (UGC)

Consider developing a campaign to collect content made by users of your product, user-generated content. It not only relieves you of some of the creative efforts, but it also serves to enhance your followers’ trust in you.

People expect brands to speak well about themselves. It has greater weight when it comes from your customers.

You may search to discover whether anyone has made a post about your business, or you can create a hashtag so your users can generate content on your behalf.

Just remember to get their permission before re-posting!

Start producing more Reels

We can push Instagram back on their platform changes all day long. But the fact remains, they are seeing a massive shift in audience attention and video is the reason.

So either we get on board or get out of the way.

You do not have to completely kick images and carousels from your content strategy. Instagram is not TikTok (yet). A good rule of thumb is to split your content 80% Reels and 20% carousels and single-image posts.

Teach clients how to film their own content

Most Social Media Managers work remotely. Their clientele comes from around the world and they are not able to take photos or shoot videos.

This does not make the job easier, but if you can teach clients the basic rules of filming a video, you can have pretty good footage to create content.

The focus should be on audio, lighting, and camera quality, in that order.

Increase your prices

Businesses that use Instagram as their main lead generation source are affected most by the recent changes. This will require a major shift in most companies' content marketing strategies.

However, they are not making those adjustments by themselves.

They contact social media experts who are abreast of the new landscape and can help them fine-tune their content to make even more money.

Social Media Managers will have to work 10x harder to build a content plan that makes sense for brands and consistently provide video-focused posts.

Adjust your prices accordingly.

Final Thoughts

Let’s be real. The everyday Instagram user is not flipping out about these changes.

Businesses and creators are.

Account managers and the brands they create content for are afraid that this move from the Instagram of old will affect their bottom line.

And it will.

But if you apply the tips we shared today, you can turn this into a win!

What do you think about Instagram moving from a photo-sharing app to a video-first platform? Which do you prefer?

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