UPDATE 3/28/16: In light of recent updates to Instagram regarding the introduction of an algorithm, many people are flaunting the need to turn on notifications. Please note that this is NOT the solution to the algorithm. It is not the solution as a business or brand to ensure your content gets seen. And it is not the solution as a user to ensure you see the "right" content.
The algorithm is meant to IMPROVE your experience - ie. you don't need to do anything about it. Please, take a few minutes and read this post I wrote on the topic of the algorithm and how it actually affects you. Educate yourself before you jump to conclusions.
Then think about how notifications work (as explained below). They are PUSH notifications. Meaning that Instagram will ping you every time someone you've selected posts something to Instagram. It does NOT affect how posts appear in your feed. If you follow everyone that is "relevant" to you, you could end up getting hundreds of notifications a day. This is not the solution. As a user, you don't want this chaos. And as a marketer, you know you aren't doing this on your personal account, so why are you asking your audience to do it.
STOP. Stop the madness.
Do NOT beg your audience to turn on notifications. Do not turn on notifications in hopes that it will "solve" the algorithm. Seriously. Don't do it.
You can also watch this Blab replay on this exact topic and why this is not something I condone.
Another Instagram update!! And this one is freakin' awesome! Ok, it's not perfect, so maybe it's just awesome. But either way, few people have been so excited for an update on Instagram as this latest one for Instagram notifications.
Why is it so exciting? Because it actually benefits marketers! Yup, Instagram did something nice for its business users 🙂
The funny thing (well, maybe not so much, given how Instagram doesn't like to promote business features) is that this was quietly introduced alongside two new editing tools - Fade and Color. The new editing tools were largely hyped by Instagram on their blog and social media accounts but there was nary a mention of the new "Turn on Post Notifications" update.
But don't worry, I got you covered!
First of all, the good news is that this new post notifications tool is currently available to all iOS and Android users! No having to wait.
So, here's how to use the new tool.
You can now receive push notifications for any Instagram account that you follow. Yes, you have to be actually following the account to turn on notifications. But the person or account will not receive any notification that you have selected to receive notifications on their posts.
I am also not aware of any limits on how many accounts you can choose to receive notifications for. So you should be able to stay on top of as many accounts as you want 🙂
Go to the account profile, and tap on the 3-dot button. From the pop-up menu, choose the "Turn on Post Notifications" option.
This option is not permanent and you can turn it off at any time by returning to the account, clicking on the 3-dot button, and choosing to turn OFF post notifications.
Obviously, if someone that you choose to be notified about is posting 5 or 6 times a day to Instagram, their constant notifications might get a little overwhelming.
It's also very important to point out that these notifications ONLY show up in your device notifications for Instagram. They are a push notification. They will NOT appear in your list of notifications within the Instagram app.
Which, technically, makes sense since your notifications tab in Instagram is for your post and mentions notifications - not what others are posting.
But, this means that if you have your push notifications turned off for Instagram, you will not see the notifications when an account posts. If you want to turn your push notifications back on, here is some advice.
And, if you're like me, and mindlessly dismiss your push notifications, you'll miss the update that someone posted. 😉 I've done that a few times already!
Furthermore, the only way, therefore, to access the post directly is to tap on the notification from your push notifications. This will take you directly to the post from that account. But if you go right into the Instagram app, and your push notifications clear out, you won't be able to see the post itself, unless you search and navigate to the account profile, or scroll through your feed to find the post they shared.
And, from what I've seen so far, if more than one account you're following posts something, the push notification only connects you to the most recent post (even though it tells you there are multiple posts). So you might have three accounts that have posted or one account that posted multiple times, but you can only go see the one post which was shared most recently.
Like I said, it's not perfect. But it's still a good option and opportunity!
So let's talk about how this can impact you!
You can make sure you never miss a post from your friends, family, or favorite accounts! All too often, people don't follow as many other accounts on Instagram because they don't want their feeds to move too fast where they miss content or posts.
But now you can follow more people, and ensure you never miss a post from those that are most important to you. So get out there and get engaged with more accounts!
You know how there are those you love to follow but they only post occasionally? I mean, they should post more anyways... But, for those accounts who aren't frequent users, you can make sure you don't miss their content in your busy daily Instagram activities.
You can now stay on top of what top influencers in your industry are posting. Never miss an important update or lose track of what's going on in your industry!
You can see what your competitors are doing. If you want to see what's working for them, how they're using Instagram, or what they're posting, here's an easy way to stay on top of their activity.
You can know instantly when something happens. Whether it's family, friends, industry news, news publications, or your favorite gossip site. You can find out the moment it is posted to Instagram - giving you a leg up on your "competition" for breaking news!
You can encourage your customers to sign up for your post notifications to ensure they never miss one of your valuable posts! Ok, now I'm advocating this with a warning. I've seen a few people already "instructing" their Instagram followers to go do this and get their notifications. Personally, I find it annoying when a company "tells" me to do this (the same thing on Facebook for getting page notifications). It's one thing to ask customers to follow you on social media but if the customer cares enough about you to sign up for your notifications (on any site), that should be their brand advocacy power to do so - not your instructions to do so. But that's just my personal rant on the topic....
If you run flash sales, or limited time promotions, or have other time sensitive content in your Instagram strategy, encouraging fans to get your notifications might be a good way to boost engagement on those posts and increase conversions.
Likewise, if there are accounts you follow who utilize time-sensitive tactics, or if you like to be one who engages early on their posts, make sure you sign up for those accounts' notifications.
Or, if you have an audience spread over multiple time zones around the world, and they receive your notifications, you can worry "less" about ideal posting times, knowing that they will receive the notification of your post when it's most convenient for them. And, likewise, if you follow an account that posts when you're normally asleep, notifications will ensure you never miss their content either.
As you can see, this new update can significantly impact businesses and marketers using Instagram. I genuinely think this is a great tool and a positive update for us. I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays out in the long run, but I've already had a few people tell me that they saw my latest blog post update or other posts via their push notifications. So, it IS working!
But I'd love to hear your thoughts too. Are there any other ways that this tool is benefiting you as a business? Or something you foresee being a problem? Join in the conversation in the comments below!