Are you getting as much love from your Instagram followers that you've experienced in the past?
But you aren't alone.
Thousands of Instgrammers are wondering why their engagement levels have suddenly fallen off.
Here’s the answer.
Instagram has rolled out a new algorithm update which has drastically changed the way your followers view and interact with your posts. This may seem unfair for those of you that have spent a lot of time growing your followers.
But as I’ll explain below, this is not entirely bad news if you’re looking to strengthen your salon’s brand image by genuinely connecting with your audience and providing value with your posts.
What's Exactly Changed on Instagram?
Nobody’s really knows. There are still some things that companies like to keep to themselves as they work through certain levels of development. But overall, the changes we are seeing on Instagram are quite similar to how Facebook’s timeline algorithm works. This makes sense as Facebook owns Instagram. With these changes, users now see more personalized posts on their Instagram timelines, meaning that the posts on the feed are no longer in order of time of when it was posted but in order of what Instagram's algorithm has determined the user will engage with most.
According to a study by Buffer, which included thousands of Instagram accounts, there are seven key changes to Instagram’s algorithm for how posts are selected to show up in your feed. Those changes are:
Engagement, or how popular the post is. Relevancy, meaning the genres of content that you've interacted with. Relationships, the accounts that you regularly interact with. Timeliness, how recent the posts are. Profile searches, which means the accounts you check out often. Direct shares, the posts from people that you have been sharing onto your feed. And finally, the time spent viewing account's posts.
These changes mean that building genuine relationships and having interaction with your followers is essential to maintain and increase your following and engagement on Instagram.
If your audience is actively engaging with your posts and profile, they’re likely to see more from you. Which in turn, their friends will see more of you. Which will lead to new leads and more business!
For salons like yours, who use Instagram to showcase their work and build a community, this is great news because now there’s less clutter on the timelines of your followers which, if you know how to use the algorithm to your advantage, gives you a better chance of capturing their attention.
Tips to Boost Instagram Engagement for Your Salon
Here are a few ways you can improve the reach and the engagement level of your Instagram posts.
Focus on Quality, Not Quantity
Creating high-quality and eye-catching Instagram images takes time and effort. Instead of posting 5-10 mediocre images every day, limit yourself to just 5-6 high quality posts per week. Take time to edit your lash pics and create a themed look that makes your page attractive to viewers. Break up lash pics with inspiring quotes and still life photos of your salon, retail items and accessories. Make sure to watermark your lash pics in a subtle way that doesn't distract from your set, but makes it clear that the work is yours.
According to Co-Schedule, posting 1-2 times a day gets the highest engagement on Instagram.
Create images and videos specifically for Instagram and write engaging captions with calls to action that encourage user-engagement. A great call to action is, "Tag a friend who (fill in, such as needs lashes, is your bestie, is a girlboss you look up to) in the comments below!"
As Sue Zimmerman, the Instagram Expert, says, "creating one high quality image tailored for Instagram is better than posting 10-20 times a week." So make sure you are planning out your feed and tailoring your posts for the audience you are wanting to reach, whether that be fellow lash artists, potential or current clients, or influencers.
Post when your audience is active
Timing your posts correctly has always been crucial on Instagram. But it’s even more important now since it puts so much emphasis on audience engagement.
According to SEOPresser, posts between 2:00-3:00PM and 8:00-9:00PM generally have the highest engagement rates.
However, if you’re using an Instagram Business Account, you can find the active hours of your audience in Instagram Insights. In addition to showing you when your audience is most active, insights also allows you to see which posts ranked highest in engagement, the average ages and the location that your audience is in can be viewed as well! Want to know how to use insights to build your business? Check out this blog. Taking advantage of these features can do wonders in growing your IG reach and impact.
Stand out with IG stories & lives
Instagram Stories and Live broadcast are two features that can really help you stand out from the crowd and gain the attention from your followers. As soon as you publish a story or go live on Instagram, your followers can see your profile at the top of their screens in the Instagram mobile app. Instagram has taken a page out of Snapchats book with new face filters, which you can unlock by tapping your face. Swipe left or right for traditional filters, swipe up for stickers, tap the screen to type or tag others in your post. The stories feature is a great way to shout out your clients or business partners, make an announcement, or simply show a day in the life.
Instagram Live is particularly useful for salons since you can use it to broadcast the activities live from your outlet and give your followers a closer look at your artistry.
Hashtags increase the reach of your posts and help Instagram users find you even when they’re not following you. People can search a hashtag in the search bar and Instagram will automatically show the top 9 posts for that tag, then show the most recent posts. Just be careful what tags you use, cheeky tags like #lashporn may be flagged for inappropriate content, so you need to be mindful of not being grouped with those kind of accounts. Also if you are using generic hashtags like #lashes or #lashextensions, but you are looking for new clients, you will most likely get lost in a see of posts. Try to be more specific like including the city or neighborhood that you are located in. For example, #lashextensionsphoenix would work well if you're salon is in Phoenix, AZ, but if you are in a huge city like New York, you might get more specific, like #lashextensionsSoHo.
In the past, people used up to 30 hashtags with every post. Only spammers do that now. Most experts now recommend using 1-2 relevant hashtags that your audience is likely to search for. Keep a list of different hashtags and pick a few to use on your post. The next day, post at the same time but pick another 3 tags. Watch your insights to see how your posts are performing and what tags are getting you more attention!
Publish more videos
Consider publishing how-to videos shot in your salon or short videos with quick tips that can help your followers. Depending on if you're after clients or the attention of other artists, you will need to edit your subject and tone. For example, shoot a video of you cleansing your lashes to show your clients proper aftercare. If you are looking to educate other artists, shoot a video of you cleansing a clients lashes to showcase your process and get engaging questions.
Instagram has changed for the better as it now gives you a level-playing field against spammers and marketers who were previously manipulating it. Your focus should be on creating high quality content on a consistent basis that is aligned with the interests of your audience and gives them real value. If you can do that consistently, your Instagram following will continue to grow.
COO | Zoe’s Treat Dispenser | CrossFit Athlete | Spreadsheet Nerd | Traveler