New year, new Instagram?
Instagram gets so much bad press doesn’t it? Although, I think we’d all agree, rightly so. Like most, I have a love/hate relationship with it, and recently let my account go to the dogs during a recurring “hate” phase.
Instagram could close at any time, taking with it our hard work and not mention the community we’ve curated there. With this in mind, wouldn’t it be better to plough your efforts into creating content for your blog or business and concentrate on the platforms which you actually own?
Social Media is such a time thief, but we need to change our way of thinking…
I need to get into the mindset that Instagram should be part of my weekly schedule and plan my posts accordingly. Sometimes I go for days without posting and tend to leave it on the back burner. However, I’ve now realised that whilst Instagram isn’t such a great traffic source for my blog, it is a place where brands can spot me, and opportunities are made. How many times has a PR email started with the words “We love your Instagram”? For those reasons, I’ve taken it by the reigns once again and I’m attempting to rekindle it.
By that, I mean posting regularly and trying to increase engagement but alas, even after my consistent efforts, the Instagram algorithm isn’t favouring me right now. After at least three weeks of showing up every day, posting and engaging consistently my images are still only being shown to around a third of my followers and sometimes much less. This is very frustrating, not to mention unfair.
It’s so easy to become disheartened and want to throw the towel in, but keep going and make a few simple changes.
I decided to really look at my account and freshen up areas that were overdue some attention… I’d got into a stagnant stage of rarely following anyone and generally not being very present. As a result, the algorithm hates The Beauty Spyglass so I decided to work on it…
- Using my Followers Plus app I went through and culled all the ghost accounts and unfollowed those which persistently take, but fail to return support. Also, for the boot were those posting silly, or poor quality imagery which doesn’t interest me. Once I’d cleaned up my feed I directed my attention to some “grown-up” accounts and followed/engaged with more of the great brands which I genuinely use and love.
- Next, I looked at the brands I was following and ditched those which I’d followed from the start thinking they were “blogger essentials”. I also found it helpful to unfollow people who made me feel inadequate or appear to be living overly pretentious or photoshopped lives. Again, I’m no longer interested in that.
Instagram is all about the visuals…
We mustn’t forget this, right? “Only post your very best work” is what I’m hearing over and over and for me, this is so poignant. If I wasn’t bothered about the image quality on my grid I could happily post two or three times every day, and not bat an eyelid. However, that’s not me – as a photographer, I want to showcase only my best shots.
I’m particularly fussy about what makes it onto my grid.
Themes are a continuing trend but personally, I feel each image should tell a story whilst keeping its individuality. Grids with a coloured preset seem to be popular but for me, this just meshes the images together and detracts from each individual shot. Plus, a real pet peeve – distorted colours. However, some grids are beautiful this way, if done right.
Saying that, I’m not in love with my grid right now, it’s a muddle of colours and looks quite messy. I’m not planning on overlaying filters or using presets but I am pondering over a “style” change. I’m also very much considering switching up my brand logo and giving it a modern, minimal look. I feel this would be more fitting with where I currently am in my blogging journey and the direction I’m heading in but that’s another post!
So, by showing up on Instagram daily, following the hashtags I use in my posts (which I hadn’t been doing) and generally being more active, my follower count has increased from a stagnant 1,600 to 1,815 which I’m pleased with, but it’s still ridiculously low considering I opened my account alongside my blog well over two years ago.
Fortunately, I was able to gain at least 1,000 followers quite quickly, but It’s been a slow ol’ slog ever since.
Gaining seventeen likes in an hour just isn’t going to cut the mustard and so something needs to be done about that. However, I must point out that I use Instagram purely for the benefit of my blog. I’ve not used my personal account in years so this isn’t some kind of validation or vanity exercise, it’s simply a means to an end for me. I also LOVE photography so this is where I can share some of my best/favourite shots and engage with like-minded “green beauty” and photography enthusiasts to make my feed a little more beautiful (aesthetically).
When it comes to blogging and Social Media, I’m a swat. Every day I listen to endless podcasts on Instagram/blog growth tactics. I love learning, and currently, Hashtag Authentic podcast is by Sara Tasker is my go-to for everything Instagram. Sara’s podcast is a fantastic resource for anyone wanting to learn the “ins and outs” of Instagram and I’d highly recommend subscribing. Also, while you’re at it, download Sara’s InstaRetreat, It’s a must-read! If you’d like something Instagram related for your coffee table then pre-order Sara’s book – Hashtag Authentic, (being launched next month, February 21st 2019).
I’m hoping to implement some of what I’ve learned going forward. If I can turn things around in a big way, I’ll let you know but I wouldn’t wait up!
I don’t like to get caught up in the numbers or “vanity metrics” and we shouldn’t feel we have to make it the focus. However, if you’re serious about turning your blog into a full-time job with an income to boot then you really should care, at least a little bit anyway. If you enjoyed this post then catch up with my Social Media Love it or Hate It post.
What’s your Instagram relationship like? Do numbers matter to you? How do you find it at the moment? Please share your triumphs and/or frustrations.