If you’re a regular Instagram user you may have noticed a steep drop in the number of Likes and other engagement metrics (comments, shares, and saves) over the late spring and early summer. If you’re a personal user, it’s a pain. If you’re a business user, the change may be impacting your bottom line. Is there anything to be done, or should you abandon Instagram and return to the days of newspaper and radio ads? Before you opt for the latter, please keep reading.
Why Your Business Instagram Profile May Be Suffering a Sudden Drop in User Engagement and What You Can Do About It
The Instagram Algorithm Update that Changed Everything
At the end of 2021 Instagram’s parent company Facebook/Meta announced that they would tweak the Instagram algorithm to favor Reels over traditional photos. It was a clear move to keep up with TikTok’s momentum in the video sharing space. Users didn’t pay too much attention to the update, until the late spring of 2022 when it became evident that Meta was serious. For many small to medium businesses (SMBs) the drop was an overnight catastrophe. The New York Times reported “Instagram’s choice to prioritize videos over photos creates unforeseen costs for small companies, leaving many owners disheartened” as SMBs struggled to make sense of it all.
“We used to see 2,000 to 3,000 likes on most posts for our 100,000-person audience […] Now it’s like 200 to 300.” (Small Business Owner via the NY Times)
Further, the issue has not self-corrected. As of July 2022 the exponential drop in Post Likes and engagement persists. Even celebrities are fed up as Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner have issued a call to action for Instagram to stop copying TikiTok’s platform. There’s also an active petition via Change.org to Make Instagram, Instagram Again. It’s only a matter of time before people take to the streets of Palo Alto.
The point in sharing the information above, is to let you know that the sudden drop in Likes is likely due to the above-mentioned algorithm update. As a result, you’re not alone. Your competitors and peers are probably going through it too. So, is there anything you can do?
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is probably sitting in a golden throne in Menlo Park CA thinking “Don’t say I didn’t warn you”. He’d be right. Instagram users were given advance notice. They (yourself included) just didn’t think it would translate to such an abrupt drop in engagement. The initial reaction for most was to fight through the update until things balanced out. It’s what has pretty much happened with their algorithm updates in the past. But with nearly 6-months of disruption in the books it’s time for business owners to accept the terms of surrender. No social media sociopolitical unrest will change that, as further evidence indicates that there is no other option. In Instagram’s July 21 announcement they stated that the platform would be adding new features to collaborate, create and share Reels. What about your beloved brand, product, and service based photos? Those will be dragged into the Reel-sphere too. Instagram makes it sound super fun, but feel free to read between the lines:
“Photos are core to the Instagram experience. In the coming weeks, you will be able to remix public photos. This gives you limitless inspiration to create your own unique Reel.”
So there you have it. There’s no getting around Instagram’s re-focus to transition from photos to Reels.
Moving forward, every time you snap a photo of your product, service in-use, or staff, be sure to capture the scene as a video as well. Ensure that for every photo/image Post, add one Reel. Aim for a 50/50 split that allows you to provide brand Followers and the Instagram update with what each expects from your business profile. To make things “easier” Instagram dropped a How to Create Great Reels guide at the onset of June 2022. Digest it and adjust your social media content creation strategy accordingly.
As a business that has experienced a sudden drop in Instagram Likes, the news above doesn’t provide much peace of mind. You’ve got a lot of work ahead if you wish to engage prospective customers/clients on Instagram in 2022 and beyond. For help, contact Strategis Consulting Group today.