InstaStrategy: How to Thrive on the ‘New’ Instagram

Instagram's new look across its family of brands

What a year it’s been for Instagram! The fast-growing social platform is implementing numerous changes to celebrate its sixth year. People tend to resist change, so it’s no wonder that some of these changes have been met with consternation.

What do you think about @instagram's new look? 📷 @Regrann from @instagram – Today we’re introducing a new look. You’ll see an updated icon and app design for Instagram. Inspired by the previous app icon, the new one represents a simpler camera and the rainbow lives on in gradient form. You’ll also see updated icons for our other creative apps: Layout, Boomerang and Hyperlapse. We’ve made improvements to how the Instagram app looks on the inside as well. The simpler design puts more focus on your photos and videos without changing how you navigate the app. The Instagram community has evolved over the past five years from a place to share filtered photos to so much more — a global community of interests sharing more than 80 million photos and videos every day. Our updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become. Thank you for giving this community its life and color. You make Instagram a place to discover the wonder in the world. Every photo and video — from the littlest things to the most epic — opens a window for people to broaden their experiences and connect in new ways. #Regrann

A post shared by Jaime Shine (@jaimeshine) on

 

The Dreaded Algorithm: We all knew this moment was coming but dreaded its arrival nonetheless. When the social app announced that users’ feeds would be controlled by an algorithm, the internet exploded. My feed was flooded with posts urging me to turn on notifications from everyone or I would never see their posts again. (I hope you didn’t post one of these pleas, but if you did, please spare us when the algorithm actually goes into effect, which will be soon.)

This change should be good for both users and brands alike. I don’t think we’ll see the drastic drop in organic reach like we did on Facebook, and Instagram users are more likely to engage with posts. Make sure that you go for quality content over quantity, which is a reminder we all need from time to time (myself included).

Your devoted fans will still seek out your posts, and appropriate hashtags will continue to help bring in new traffic. Remind fans of your presence on your marketing communications and other platforms, and use data to better target your audience.

Instagram’s New Insights: A new (free) in-app analytics dashboard is on its way! While you have been able to view analytics through a third party platform, such as Iconosquare, Instagram is finally debuting an in-house dashboard to help businesses gain a better understanding of their audiences.

Dig into the data to discover the best times to post and to learn more about your audience. Where are your audience members located? What type of content do they engage with the most? Does a certain type of content extend your reach while another draws more engagement (or website visits)? You can use this information to help shape your future content and strategy while also deciding whether to promote a hot post.

Instagram Embraces Brands: In addition to Insights, the social app is rolling out Business Profiles and promoted posts after previously opening up advertising to all brands and introducing video Carousel ads.

Take advantage of the Business Profile, once available, so you can make it easier for customers to contact (and locate) you while gaining access to Insights and promoted posts. Observe how the algorithm affects your posts once it’s implemented. It may be beneficial to promote a post from time to time, such as a special offer or contest.

Instagram’s New Look: Don’t sweat it. Whether you’re a fan of the new look or not, the updated layout will better showcase your photos and videos. Just make sure to update the branding anywhere you may use it, such as marketing materials, your website or blog.

While 2016 is the year of change for Instagram, it’s still the popular social platform that we know and love. Take a deep breath and see how the algorithm affects you before panicking (or asking your community to turn on notifications). Many of these changes should help brands who are dedicated to growing and building long-term relationships with their Instagram communities.

InstaFeedback

Are you on Instagram? Leave your handle in the comments, so we can connect!

What’s your favorite (and least favorite) Instagram change?

Where does Instagram fall in your preferred list of social media platforms?

Instalik(ing) these changes,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about Instagram, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Using Google+ to Boost Your Search Engine Rankings

This is the final post in a 4-part series highlighting steps you can take to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). This guide was written by Ramya Raju, an experienced freelance web design writer from India. If you missed any of the first 3 posts, you can review them here.

Clearly Conveyed Communications Google+ header

Search engines like Google are influenced by social media profiles, especially Google+. As Google’s own social network, Google+ carries major weight in boosting rankings on the largest search engine in the world. Its profiles are very helpful in personalizing search results that go beyond the local search results. If you wish to personalize searches, then carry out the following steps:

  • Create a Google+ profile for personal use and a business page.
  • Give a +1 share to the websites that you wish to generate rankings for. You can also share websites on the profile page and link to them using the personal information boxes in the recommended websites section.
  • Completely fill out the personal profile, so it comes up in appropriate searches and draws interest from other people.
  • Update your status regularly, and keep the status of your profile information public (for better search results).
  • Share interesting information from other people so you’re not entirely self-promotional (and to help connect with others).
  • Network with people who you feel can benefit from seeing your website in the search results. You can use the search box on Google+ to search for people and add them to your circles.

The idea is to gain popularity on Google+ so that you can get better rankings in personalized search results.

Keeping Track of Your Results

After all the hard work and effort taken to achieve better SEO of your website, it only makes sense to keep track of the results. You can use the following two tools to monitor such results easily:

  • Authority Labs – very effective in tracking keyword rankings that are used for your website and helps to check whether they have moved up in the search results or not. The account comes with a fee but has a 30-day trial period to test it.
  • Google Analytics – an all-around solution for SEO monitoring. It helps with monitoring visitors to your website, checking organic search traffic sources and understanding which keywords are used by people to find your website on search engines. This tool also tracks the keywords that can lead to people visiting your site and joining a mailing list, purchasing a product and other actions you want them to perform.

There are many tools and resources available to improve your SEO but the above two can help start off your campaign in the right direction. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this 4-part SEO guide to help you improve your website’s search engine optimization efforts. A special thank you to Ramya Raju for writing the guide and sharing it with CCC’s readers. For more on the first 3 parts or Ramya, see below.

Ramya Raju

Ramya Raju is a freelance web design writer with 8 years of extensive blogging experience on a variety of online publishing and social media platforms. She generally writes high quality articles on travel, photography, SEO, web design, English courses and other general topics as requested. Ramya, an extrovert with a passion for photography and anthropology, enjoys travelling to different countries to discover new cultures and experience life with the locals. You can reach her at ramyaraju896@gmail.com or visit her online at http://www.colorcharacter.com/uk/.

Link Building to Success: Optimize Your Website

This is the third post in a 4-part series highlighting steps you can take to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). This guide was written by Ramya Raju, an experienced freelance web design writer from India. If you missed part one or two, we’d recommend reviewing them first.

While reading the first two parts of this series, you were probably wondering when I’d get to link building.

chain links

Link building is without a doubt one of the most discussed topics in SEO today. The idea is that your website is linked to by other websites and blogs, which helps in building higher rankings for your website for specific keywords. By using keyword anchor text, your site will get ranked for that particular keyword. For example, Adobe Reader is ranked number one for ‘click here’ anchor text because most download links for the reader shared on different websites are labeled with these keywords.

There are a few ways in which link building can be performed.

  • Organic Linking – the best way to gain rankings is through organic links. Such links are generated without you putting in any effort, and if they come from sites with higher rankings, like media websites and well recognized ones, then there is nothing better for your website’s SEO.
  • White Hat – quality link building efforts that follow search engines’ policies and still focus on your human audience. For example, only link to quality content when it fits within the context of your post. Don’t spam your audience (or someone else’s) with unnecessary, broken or unhelpful links that don’t contribute to the discussion.
  • Black Hat – the wrong way of link building that involves spamming and low quality back links, which should be completely avoided. It can lead to penalization by search engines and actually damage your SEO efforts.

Getting other websites and blogs to organically link to you is tough. It takes time and effort for your site to become popular enough to draw the required attention. That’s the reason why link building is an art and building quality links has to be planned well. The following methods will help you receive quality, organic links from outside sites:

  • Submit blog posts as a guest writer on the most notable blogs pertaining to your industry. These blogs will allow you to link back to your site in the author box.
  • Partner with related businesses that have their own websites and try to get a link back from their pages for partners, vendors, suppliers, etc.
  • To generate better incoming traffic to your website, create local search and social media profiles. The direct effect of these profiles on your search engine rankings is debatable but they will help drive more traffic to your website (which in turn will boost your SEO efforts).
  • Buy advertising space and/or submit your website links to dedicated industry directories and online trade journals. Don’t submit links or purchase ad space on low quality websites that are unrelated to your website (even if it’s free to do so).
  • Publish content which is so rich that people share it on their sites and blogs, providing you with useful back links. Infographics are an example of content that is typically shared at a high rate.

Photo: “Chain Links” by Eric Martin / CC BY 2.0

We hope you’ve enjoyed the first three parts of this 4-part series on search engine optimization. Check back next Thursday for part 4, Using Google+ to Boost Your Search Engine Rankings. As a reminder, posts are published on the CCC  blog every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks for stopping by!

Ramya RajuRamya Raju is a freelance web design writer with 8 years of extensive blogging experience on a variety of online publishing and social media platforms. She generally writes high quality articles on travel, photography, SEO, web design, English courses and other general topics as requested. Ramya, an extrovert with a passion for photography and anthropology, enjoys travelling to different countries to discover new cultures and experience life with the locals. You can reach her at ramyaraju896@gmail.com or visit her online at http://www.colorcharacter.com/uk/.