Today I wanted to talk Instagram and it’s shitty, damn, blasted algorithm. From bloggers to influencers to businesses, it’s been ranted about in every digital and literal form since changing from the place to be, to the place where we lose our minds and our content mojo. But since moaning can only let off so much steam, I thought I’d write a post that would actually help you through the worst of it, better yet, even start enjoying again. These things come in waves but we gotta all start somewhere, right?
As we all know, when Facebook took over Instagram they took it upon themselves to make it as difficult as possible to grow. What’s more, the bastards even use our existing followers as hostage, opting for an algorithm that works in favor of larger accounts or pics with an instantaneous reaction. Waving goodbye to our beloved timeline, the new algorithm only likes photos that have the most engagement. This is why on your daily scroll you’ll come across pictures you haven’t seen but were posted 2 weeks ago. This isn’t the first time I’ve talked Social Media Anxiety, I think it’s safe to say we all miss the old Instagram, but it doesn’t look as if it’s ever gonna go back so here are some tips that helped me out of my Instagram slump and keep growing. (albeit, slowly!)
DON’T LET YOUR THEME DRAG YOU DOWN
Humans are visual creatures, so it’s only natural if your Instagram feed has a theme and aesthetically pleasing people will be more likely to follow you. Creating a theme comes naturally. but once you have one don’t let it get the better of you. I used to bin perfectly good content all because my insta-OCD wouldn’t let me post something that wasn’t cohesive with my bright, high contrast feed. Turns out, the only person wrapped up in that was me, and no one actually cares that the first 9 don’t go altogether? Do you like it? YOU POST IT!
GET ON STORIES
Who doesn’t love a good story? Sure, since launching last year we may go for the stories, but 9 times out of 10 we stay for the photos – but that’s not always the case with everybody! There are loads of accounts I follow for their story content alone and even though their photos do pop up, I am not particularly engaged with them. However over time the more I get to know them, the more I find myself commenting and double tapping pretty much everything they do. If you aren’t quite into video yet, find a way to make stories work for you. Try apps like Hype Type which add text onto images or even create a series for people to tune into. Either way, the more people tuning into your stories, the more Instagram will show them your main feed.
PADDLE FOR YOUR DINGY?
Don’t you just hate being ignored? Everybody does, so make sure you take the time to reply to comments. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no point replying “thank you” to every compliment, but if there are ever any questions make sure you answer them.
NEEDS A HASHTAG
I know a lot of people say hashtags are no longer relevant, but guess what, THEY ARE! It’s all the matter of using the RIGHT hashtags. It is important to use ones related to the image you are posting but it’s also getting that balance of using ones that aren’t overpopulated. If you use a hash tag that has over a million others using it too – your chances of being noticed are much slimmer than if you were to use a hash tag with 50,000 others using it. It’s a maths game, really!
CREATE A HASHTAG!
One thing Instagram has recently kicked in is follow hashtags. Before you would need to click through a hashtag on a post, or you could search one specifically, but now you can “follow” a hashtag the same way you would follow an account. Instagram’s algorithms will then pick and choose some of the highlights from that collection and surface them in your main feed which is why I’ve now taken on #RealLifeVelma. It’s hard to find a hashtag that no one has used before, and since my name is already @foreveryoursbetty, I thought I would choose one which could be potentially searchable. Given there were only 20 odd posts there and a few of my followers have commented those very three words on a few occasions I thought I would give it a go. I’ll keep you posted on the results.
Tagging may sound like an obvious way to get people to see your images but you’d be surprised how many people don’t. From your lipstick to your handbag, people are constantly looking through tagged images of brands – not to mention, even getting the brand’s attention! Some bloggers tag non branded OOTD Instagram accounts who potentially feature them, but before you do, make sure your content fits in with theirs. There’s no point in tagging these pages if your content doesn’t fit, find ones that fit you which only leads me to my next point.
YOU DO YOU, BOO
O.K so you keep tagging these huge repost accounts and you aren’t getting reposted. Why? There could be a number of factors, but instead of looking at what you can change to fit in, look at the things you can celebrate for being different! For instance, my feed is extremely colorful, bright and high contrast AKA the exact opposite of this luxe, grey scale fashion accounts so instead of tagging them and feeling rejected afterward, I look to other accounts, like ones with colour! Just don’t try and change you, you won’t feel good about it and neither will the followers that know you already. Authentic is always best. TRUST!
Do you sometimes check out locations on Instagram to see what cool stuff is there before going? Me too, and so do a lot of people so if you want more people to stumble across your photos make sure to add a geotag. Some people don’t want to share where they are specifically, but you can always make it a greater general area e.g. Glasgow, Scotland, to still get in on the geo-action!
STOP NUMBER CHECKING
This is where “comparison is the thief of joy” has never rung truer. We all know the more we check on stats, the worse it gets. So why do we do it?! Apart from sucking all the fun out of everything, it can spiral into an obsession and even affect your mental health. Instead of numbers focus on the type of content you just LOVE to do, focusing on bettering yourself and your abilities, not the counter on your profile. So long as you are happy with the content you make, the numbers WILL grow. Keep in mind that everyone is having their own battle on Instagram and it’s not just you!
I know all too well that the last point is MUCH easier said than done (BELIEVE ME), but if Instagram is sending you into a spiral of depression (not even an exaggeration) then try and shift your focus to another social media channel for a while. For me, I found focusing on my stories kept my anxiety at bay (well, ish) when it came to my images, and honestly? It helped. My % of engagement has gone up and now if I only do a few short stories a day, my followers message me to ask what I’ve been up to and why I’ve not been on! Seeing something else do well really can help cushion the blow, whether or not that’s Pinterest for you or even back to your blog, just try to do something that’ll take the edge off. But please, I beg of you from one digital human to another, DO NOT GIVE UP BECAUSE OF A NUMBER. YOU ARE MORE THAN THAT!
Has this helped with your instagram slump? Be sure to let me know over on my latest image on @foreveryoursbetty