Instagram notifications – what they are and how to use them
Why use Instagram notifications? Well you might have heard me say in the past that Instagram restricts or filters content that followers see. You might have heard me say that on average each piece of content you post is likely to be seen by only 5% – 10% of your audience. Pretty low for all that effort right?
Well here’s the thing – it isn’t quite that simple and it doesn’t have to be quite so restrictive. You see Instagram isn’t actually blocking your content it is simply prioritorising it (or not as the case may be). Notifications can be a way to navigate around the way Instagram chooses to prioritorise things to some degree.
Why does Instagram prioritorise content?
Most people will follow hundreds of accounts once they have been on Instagram for some time. Those accounts will all be putting out regular content. That content will take much longer to consume than most users are on the platform for. There simply are not enough hours in the day for users to consume everything. If they do not view content within 24-48 hours, the algorithm will simply substitute newer content in their feed instead.
Some of the accounts you follow will be better than others. The content will be more interesting and engaging. Instagram wants to keep you on its platform. It knows that you are not going to stay if what you receive is not what you want to see. It is very much in Instagram’s interests that the content it shows you interests you and is fresh!
What does Instagram prioritorise first?
Well that is a whole blog post in itself! In a nutshell, however, the Instagram algorithm tries to show you the things that ‘it thinks’ you want to see. It has to work that out based on how you interact with the content and accounts concerned.
Only Instagram itself knows entirely how this works. It does change frequently. A lot of common sense, however, can be employed as to how an algorithm can possibly work out ‘what interests you’.
It thinks about who you follow of course. As I said this is typically hundreds of accounts. Then it looks at how you interact with those accounts. When you see posts from them do you engage with them? Do you like posts, do you comment, save, share them and so on? All of these actions and more suggest to Instagram that you are particularly drawn to that content. As a result it will deliver more content from that account as a priority in your feed.
How do I get Instagram to prioritorise more content?
Like me you probably follow a few accounts that you receive valuable content from. You might look forward to receiving the content on some accounts, (maybe like this one) where content is produced weekly? Do you find that despite all your engagement with that account, however, there are times when you simply miss content? Has Instagram prioritorised other content in your feed instead?
Wouldn’t it be nice to take back some control instead of simply letting Instagram figure out what to show you? You could give it some stronger signals to alert you to key content.
How can I get to see more of the content I want to see?
Instagram provides a feature called notifications to do just that. For each account you follow you can tell Instagram to send you an activity notification. You can be very specific about which notifications you receive for which type of content.
There currently seem to be two ways to activate notifications depending on the account. Visiting my account as seen below you can switch on notifications by clicking the dropdown list button labelled ‘follow’ or ‘following’. You will then see another menu labelled ‘notifications’.
Once you have selected the notifications tab for an account you are following you can then choose what type of things you want to be notified about. There are options for posts, stories, live video, reels and so on. Select all that apply for accounts that are important to you, however, be selective. Remember that if you set too many notifications then you will defeat the object. Don’t leave yourself faced with too many notifications. If you do that then key accounts will then no longer be singled out. You might start to miss things again.
Note, however, that you might see a different way to activate notifications on some accounts. On some accounts you will see a small bell symbol at the top of the account profile. Click this bell on these accounts to activate the same notification settings.
How do Instagram notifications help me get customers to see more of my content?
For me notifications really help with my research. When I find accounts with content that I find really useful I set notifications so that I am less likely to miss things from that account in the future. I don’t want Instagram to only show me 5%-10% of that accounts content. Even if I interact with the account seeing 50% or so of content still isn’t good enough for me. I want to be notified whenever there is content!
You might do this yourself if you are keeping an eye on competitors. Maybe you are watching someone growing very quickly and you want to work out how they are doing it so you can employ similar techniques in your account?
Now let’s switch this around. Put yourself in the position of your own followers? Do any of them possibly feel this way about you and your account? I am sure they do and many are missing content they would have liked to have seen (think promotions, giveaways, Instagram lives, studio sales etc).
Tell your audience how to use Instagram notifications
By regularly telling your audience about the notifications feature and how to use it you can increase the consumption of your own content. I discussed in 134 – Why Has My Instagram Engagement Dropped Recently how you can use additional features such as stories, reels, lives etc to get the algorithm to favour your content more. Notifications and educating your audience on how to use them so that they see more of your content is another very important tool to use to ensure that you receive the maximum possible exposure for the content that you are creating in Instagram.
Do you have Instagram notifications on for Simple Art Marketing?
This post is this weeks content from Simple Art Marketing. A new blog post like this will appear weekly on my website and I will tell my Instagram audience about it in a weekly Instagram post. Do you follow me on Instagram? Do you have notifications switched on so that you never miss a reminder when new content is available?
This week I am researching material for the social media module in my Simple Art Marketing Academy online course which will launch very shortly. During the launch there will be both a giveaway on Instagram and a free scholarship. 1 lucky winner will receive a free place on my course along with a few other goodies. 1 deserving artist, maker or photographer who cannot afford to take a place on my course will get one for FREE. Turn on your notifications now so that you don’t miss either of these Instagram posts or similar ones in the future!
Do you use Instagram notifications? I would love to know which accounts you have notifications set on and why?