I sat down with Calli Cholodenko, an LA-native, fellow USC Trojan, and founder of social media agency Something Social to get some insights on how brands can better leverage Instagram. Here are the 5 key takeaways I learned from our conversation.
1. There's a lot that we don't know about the Instagram algorithm.
Ahh, the algorithm. Doesn't it seem like everyone has their own theory on how exactly it works? According to Calli, rather than trying to crack the code on what exactly the algorithm calculates, she emphasizes the fact that there's a lot that we don't know about it. What we do know is this:
"Instagram is an app. The more you use the app, the happier the app is." -Calli Cholodenko
In essence, the more you use the app and all of its features, the "happier" it will be, and in turn, will reward you by showing your content to more accounts. She also mentions the importance of using certain key features, but I'll let you listen to Calli explain this in the video below.
2. Instagram 'Likes' are NOT the most important metric in an influencer campaign
During our conversation, of course I asked her about a hot topic around Instagram right now: What does the future of influencer campaigns look like without 'likes?'
Something that a lot of people are not talking about is how many influencers are buying likes. While Instagram makes efforts to combat this, it's still an issue that many brands face when trying to find the right influencer to work with. Luckily, there are more important metrics to look at, such as Impressions, Saves, and Audience.
Before working with an influencer, brands should request to see the influencers' analytics.
3. Brand + Influencer fit IS the most important aspect of an influencer campaign
As a brand, it's important to be selective in choosing who to represent your brand for an influencer campaign. Calli emphasizes the importance of not only looking at an influencer's content and style, but to also think about who that person's audience is, and would this audience be interested in purchasing from your brand?
As a brand, you want to be able to use the content that an influencer creates, so it's important to have the brand and influencer match by aligning content, style, and audience.
4. There is no 'secret sauce' to the perfect Instagram post.
Not everything is for everyone—and that's a good thing! The important thing, to Calli, is that you're providing your audience with value. She mentions a word here that gets thrown around quite a bit—Authenticity.
It really is what makes one account [whether it be a brand, influencer or otherwise] stand out from the next. Establishing your voice and what you have to offer that's different from the rest is how you'll establish who you are and what you have to offer. Which brings us to the next point...
5. Even in the most saturated spaces, there is always room for a unique voice.
If you're an emerging brand or influencer looking to break into the Instagram world, but are worried that there's no 'room' for you in it, just remember that even in the most saturated spaces, there's always room for a unique voice.
The way that one person or brand covers a specific topic won't resonate with everyone. As Calli mentioned earlier, not everything is for everyone. Find out what makes your voice your own, and really hone in on it.
Watch the full epside of Millennial Life on EverTalkTV below to catch all of the detail we went into on each of these points.