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There’s certainly been some mixed messaging from Instagram’s comms team of late.

Exhibit A: Remember this gem of advice from a few months back:

As you might expect, this didn’t go down super well with IG creators, and Instagram deleted the post within 24 hours. But it’s still publishing seemingly contradictory or controversial advice from its official accounts, which is sparking all sorts of discussion among the broader IG community.

For example, early last month, Instagram shared this slide at a creator event, which explicitly advises against posting Reels longer than 90 seconds.

Instagram longer reels

But then, last week, Instagram published a video overview that explains how to create Reels longer than 90 seconds.

Confusing, right?

The technical point of contention, which Instagram specifically notes in its post, is that video clips over 90 seconds long won’t be eligible to be recommended in Explore or in the Reels tab.

So you might still want to post longer clips, for whatever reason, to share with your audience, but their actual reach potential will be significantly reduced. So the two things aren’t as contradictory as they, initially, may seem.

Then late last week, Instagram provided even more confusing advice, by publishing a video which recommended against using answer-specific CTAs in your video clips.

Instagram quickly deleted the video post, so I can’t directly link to it, but here’s exactly what was said in the clip:

“Here are the things to avoid that can limit the reach of your content. First, don’t try to hack engagement, and here’s what we mean by that: If we believe your content explicitly asks for engagement through shares, comments, tags, or other actions, then we won’t recommend it. An example of this is asking people to comment with a specific word, number, or emoji. We do, however, encourage you to create content that inspires people to engage in real discussion, so open-ended questions and call to actions, they’re both fair game.”

As many have pointed out, this isn’t exactly new advice, as Instagram has always advised against the use to of engagement-baiting as a means to trick the algorithm into boosting post reach.

But some have also expressed concern as to how this might impact their approach when using marketing automation tools like ManyChat, which prompts engagement based on automated triggers.

It’s hard to say whether there may be some impacts based on this, as Instagram explicitly notes that using a specific word, number, or emoji will effectively reduce reach. So if that’s the approach that you’ve been taking with your IG strategy, then seemingly, you’re not going to get optimal performance, but then again, this only relates to recommendations in Explore and to non-followers, so maybe, if you’re only trying to drive engagement with existing fans, it’s not so bad?

I would recommend using a different approach, like calling for more detailed responses. But that does also change the way that you work with automation tools.

Really, it comes down to experimentation. If a certain approach works for you, stick with it, but it is worth noting this advice from Instagram within your strategic approach.

And again, it’s another confusing tidbit floating out of IG HQ, which could have a bigger impact that Instagram seems to realize.

I mean, social platforms have never been the most attuned to their user communities, and their needs and desires in using their platforms. But Instagram’s comms department is certainly on one at the moment, as it seems to be trying to provide more specific and helpful advice, but then it steps back from such when people question it.

Maybe further clarity is coming, and the feedback they’re getting will help refine the advice provided.

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