Is the Algorithm out to get you?

Of course you’re already bought-in to the fact that Social Media is a critical element of any Aesthetic business’ marketing mix, and you already know you’re probably not doing enough, or doing it consistently.

But with recent changes to the Instagram Algorithm, and continually diminishing organic reach on the platform, how does a busy aesthetics business stay relevant, stay present, and continue to grow?

Always be engaging.

When it comes to staying relevant to your audience, and getting the most out of your presence on Instagram, it’s absolutely critical to to be continually engaging with your followers.

You need to be truly “active” on your social media, and when you’re receiving comments and likes, don’t leave your audience hanging. How often your content will appear in those people’s feeds is determined by how much you interact with them. Instagram will track the engagement levels between you and the unified pages manager in Facebook. (find it by clicking “inbox” when logged into your business page on FB).

The pages manager gives you an easy to use dashboard, through which you can see everything in one place; Facebook notifications, comments, and also Instagram messages and notifications. You can manage and reply to all comments across both channels, all in one place. Fast.

This will show Instagram that you are relevant and important to your followers, which is the key to getting your content to show up in their feed.

Always be consistent in style and frequency

Consistency of quality and style is invaluable, and it sets out what potential followers can expect from you as an account to follow, and of course establishes you as a credible business and a nicely branded, quality company to deal with.

Add a call to action to your post. If you’re sharing a quote, ask them to like the photo if they agree with it. If you’re sharing something funny or relatable, then ask your followers to tag a friend in the comments or send the post to their friends as a DM.

Ask open ended questions. If you put the idea out there, it will encourage your followers to act accordingly. These are little tactics that can really increase your engagement.

When you post, the more time you spend posting to stories and organizing into highlights, the higher in the Instagram home feed you’re likely to be placed. Appearing in relevant hashtag feeds will put your content in front of new audiences too.

If you’re not doing so already, do have a look at hashtag research tools to use the most popular and trending tags. Post longer and more informative copy, because Instagram tracks how long people spend reading your posts: if your audience spends longer looking at your posts, then you are deemed more relevant to them, so your content will appear more often.

What’s changed?

This all relates to the fact that the feed on Instagram is no longer chronological. It now works on an algorithm, just like Facebook. So if you’re lucky, 10% of your followers will see your posts in the home feed. Instagram themselves state that the order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood that you will be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting, and the timeliness of the post. The new algorithm knows all of that.

And so the way you behave on social has to play into that algorithm to get your content noticed. The more frequently and consistently you post, the more likely your audience will see and engage with your content.

It sounds obvious, but this is how you play to the algorithm. Ideally, if you’re on Instagram, you should be aiming to use the stories feature at least three times a day, and a feed post every other day, minimum. Post at the peak times for your followers, and make use of tools such as Buffer for scheduling. Use the insight reports that you get with an Instagram Business account to enable you to post it the peak times, automatically.

How do you stay relevant?

Put in the work to capture your patient’s “consideration funnel”, and create content that will move them from one section down to the next.    All of these “buckets” of content types are known as content pillars, and when you have them all, and understand in what ration and frequency you should be posting them to move followers along your funnel, you then have a messaging framework, and a plan to follow to continually create content that will be relevant, timely and create a return on your effort and investment into Social Media.

How can you automate?

Some aspects of Social Media can be automated without impacting engagement or relevance.  This includes scheduling and publishing, and for this there are few better tools than Buffer.  Buffer will let you plan, visualise, and automatically schedule and publish your Insta, Facebook, and Twitter, content as well as Stories.  Their brilliant App is great for previewing what your page will look like over the coming weeks too.

Trello is a fantastic tool for organising your content planning and production work, allowing you to split it into your content pillars from the messaging framework and keep on track with it all.

So is the algorithm out to get you?

Well, No.  But it is MUCH harder to get your content in front of relevant people, and to create engagement with it.  Things have changed, it’s now ONLY about authentic and organic growth. Don’t be tempted to buy followers, there are consequences.

The keys are:

– Be consistent, with style, frequency and engagement

– Be continually engaging with your followers

– Create a messaging framework mapped to your patient’s consideration process

– Automate big parts of the process

So go forth and engage. Grow your instagram audience authentically and organically. And change the conversation around aesthetics one follower at a time.



Post Author

Rick O'Neill

Rick O’Neill, FRSA, is a digital consultant to the medical aesthetics, cosmetic surgery and pharma sectors. With over 20 years’ experience in digital marketing, O’Neill is the founder and owner of the award-winning digital agency ‘Look Touch & Feel’ (known as “LTF”) based at Silverstone Race Circuit, a founding partner of The Aesthetic Entrepreneurs, Digital Consultant to Merz Aesthetics, and investor / advisor to several other digitally-focused businesses.

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