Instagram is one of the most effective social media platforms out there, especially for law firms and other businesses wanting to enhance their brand awareness. If you’ve been on the network for several years already, you know that it has changed, both in terms of its looks and capabilities as well as the way its algorithm works. Those algorithmic changes affect every attorney that uses Instagram.
We often talk about social platforms, exploring the ways law firms can use them for their digital marketing efforts. Brand awareness is usually the first thing to come to mind, but it’s not the only reasonable goal you can set. In fact, you can attract and sign new clients through optimal Facebook Ad placements or Instagram Ads for your Law Firm. We recently published an article on the most recent changes and updates on these two platforms. Still, there are more happening in the background, especially with changes in how the Instagram algorithm works. How do these Instagram algorithm updates work, and what are the most current ranking factors? Let’s find out.
- How does the 2021 Instagram algorithm work?
If you have direct connections with the Facebook headquarters, or if you constantly follow the news and have high-level connections, then these might already be known to you. For everyone else, if you’re interested in understanding the latest algorithm updates and how they can affect your law firm’s Instagram performance, then this is where you should start.
This might sound relatively obvious, but the algorithm’s mission is to give Instagram users content they’re interested in viewing and interacting with by showing posts and stories around their core interest with, potentially, a few broadened suggestions. The social network is spot-on in understanding what a photo or a video is all about. By combining it with effective tracking of user affinity, people will end up seeing assets that are often relevant to their preferences. Your first step towards standing out would be to identify your buyer persona and produce appealing content that tells a story with a consistent voice and tone.
This refers to engagement. Do you have a solid following base? Are your followers leaving likes and comments on your posts? Are they saving your posts or messaging you? Do they search for your law firm by name? The Instagram algorithm understands that engagement means interest, so the more your followers are interested in your content, the more likely it is for them to keep seeing your posts.
Instagram has declared that every post has a chance to appear on the news feed whether or not it’s the most recent. Relevancy is an equally significant factor. But the truth is that newer and more recent posts (combined with relevancy) have a better chance at making it to the top. If you’re wondering the best times to post on Instagram, we’ve singled out this article from Hubspot, which gives you further insights, guidelines, and actionable tips.
- Usage frequency and session time.
This, again, relies on user behavior by tracking how often your followers open their Instagram app. How does this affect you? If your followers open it every couple of days, they have a lower probability of seeing your post than another user who opens it several times a day. Of course, this isn’t something you can control, but it is a significant part of your planning, preparation, and execution process, as this data allows you to better understand when and what to post and how frequently. We have session time, making it more probable for users who spend hours on Instagram to view your content, compared to others that barely open the app for a few minutes.
This doesn’t refer to your follower base. Instead, it’s about the sum of accounts your followers are following. How does this make sense, and why it’s vital for your law firm’s performance on Instagram? Simply because the more accounts someone is following, the more probable it is to miss one of your posts. To stay on top of that challenge, you can gather ideas from our article helping attorneys market their Law Firms through Instagram.
P.S. Here are a few additional actionable tips:
- The additional tips that will increase your chances of success with the 2021 Instagram algorithm
- Don’t follow any shady practices, like buying followers (check this excellent experiment from Hootsuite) or joining pods. Let’s explain both. Buying followers might give you what seems to be a boost, but the user pool consists of mostly fake accounts that will never interact with your Instagram account and are not interested in your law firm’s services. That increase in numbers can, in theory, make you look more legitimate and be perceived as a well-known law firm. However, if anybody looks into it or performs a quick audit, your name and reputation could be at stake. There are tools that allow you to spot “fake followers.” You can also do it manually by checking for random names without profile pictures and/or posts. On the other hand, pods are a more complex process, requiring manual work and personal commitment. Essentially, you can join smaller or larger groups that create drops of posts, and their members are committed to liking the photos or leaving comments. This method can potentially boost your like count, but it’ll be fake likes from people without actual interest in your service. Additionally, you’re unlikely to see your follower base grow due to the absence of viable interest, which can create a disproportionate-looking profile. The only potential for value here that we see would be from small, very-niche pods of around 15-20 people that are actually interested in your services or potentially offer relevant ones. Joining such groups could give you a slight boost that’ll be more sustainable in the long run and won’t make your account look fake.
- Post consistently. Try out all the available features and make the most out of your assets. We’ve devoted an entire article to these topics, and you can find it linked above (it’s here as well if you missed it earlier).
P.S. Hashtags are not dead, research them properly and make the most out of them without overdoing it.
- Bond with your audience. Answer their questions, create interactive posts (such as Q&As), respond to their DMs, and build concise story-telling that will showcase your law firm as a point of reference. Remember, putting a face to your firm and creating a personal touch can prove to be beneficial, so don’t hide behind impersonal posts. Instead, reveal who you are and what you stand for, and involve your team and satisfied clients.
Time for our takeaways:
- We’ve said it a million times, the only constant is change, and Instagram is no different. From its conception to today, a lot has changed, from its look to its algorithm.
- Don’t try beating Instagram using shady techniques and questionable methods. Chances are that you’ll end up losing more than you gain.
- Start by understanding your buyer persona and their interests in order to develop appealing and relevant posts.
- Build a strategy around your posting and be consistent. Don’t rely on luck.
- Remember that timing is vital. Find out when your audience is online as it’ll boost your chances of getting in front of them and getting the algorithm on your side.