Instagram. You PUSHED me too far
Why the to-do?
Last week, Instagrammers lost their minds over the change to a new algorithmic timeline. Home feeds were riddled with pleas to “turn on Post notifications”, as users saw this as the way to ensure posts were seen by their followers. These begging letters were accompanied by an oh-so-helpful image of an arrow, pointing to the button where this functionality is available. After seeing just one such request, I was turned off, after the third my eyes were rolling back in my head. My colleagues at G&I reported the same fatigue, as their accounts were swamped with the wave of desperation.
The new algorithmic functionality was first released to selected users and is currently being rolled out to us all. As Instagram changes over to a more Facebook (and as I wrote last month, Twitter too) style post distribution, everyone from small businesses to featured users, were swept up in a crazy clamour for reach. Happily, there were some fantastic and humorous responses to this regrettable trend.
Notify Me Not
If I turned on post notifications, my phone might “blow up” as Drake, Rihanna and friends would say. My time-poor life in London is not unique – I’m sure you are busy too, so for me to choose another notification and/or sound to emit from my mobile device, is a very big ask.
The answer is no. In fact it is, no way. When I want to see what my favourite friends, clients, influencers, bloggers, brands and personalities are posting on Instagram, I will choose the right moment, without a prompt. If the message is urgent, call me. Nothing you put on Instagram should be so time sensitive, as to need my immediate attention.
I was not the only one who found these requests an unwanted imposition. Perhaps the approach fits in American culture – I’ve often admired our US cousins for their directness. It is simply not British to make such a large request, and certainly not when shouted from the begging bandwagon.
Appropriate Call To Action
There are ways to approach your audience with a call to action via social media. Although I feel duty bound to remind us all that this is social media, not sales media, there are appropriate ways and words to point the audience toward the place you wish them to look / engage / buy. I question whether Instagram is the place – even “see link in bio” jars me a little. With the new advertising functionality, now available to all, I find the promoted posts to be smoothly delivered sales messages to my timeline.
When choosing the right CTA for a business to use via social media, promise me you won’t ask for the moon on a stick, even if everyone else does.