Make Instagram Your “Happy Place”

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 your hard work and not to mention the community you’ve built there. With this in mind, any video content you’ve shared can be downloaded using YeetDL – this is a really useful tool as it’s not currently possible to download videos directly from Instagram.

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 been stagnating and rarely following anyone and generally not being very present. As a result, the algorithm dislikes The Beauty Spyglass so I decided to work on it…

  •  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 and  “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).

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.

Image use: All content and imagery are the property of The Beauty Spyglass. If you would like to use any of the images (with credit link), please feel free to email with your request detail.


  1. January 3, 2019 / 6:40 pm

    Great post, Samantha! Some really helpful tips to build engagement and get the best out of insta. Your photos on insta are beautiful! Angharad xx

    • Samantha
      January 3, 2019 / 9:58 pm

      Thank you so much. I’m glad you found it useful. It’s Definitely something to nurture if you want results. x

  2. Lauren Brooker
    January 3, 2019 / 8:05 pm

    I love that you touched on this subject as I’m sure so many people can relate! I felt like this for a long time in 2017 and some of 2018, but I don’t know what or how, my mindset just slowly started to shift and I began to enjoy Instagram again. I now see it as a place for me to find inspiration and discover new accounts and to engage with my audience and interact with people in my industry. I’ve also learnt to put less pressure on myself to grow or to be so active. As long as I’m making use of the time I am active, then that’s good enough for me! I love your Instagram though. I always enjoy engaging with your content and I’m so grateful for the support back. Great post and fab tips!xx

    Lauren |

    • Samantha
      January 3, 2019 / 8:23 pm

      Exactly Lauren! Make it your happy place and you completely change your feeling towards it. I’d let mine stand, as in who I was following for so long. Like you say, it’s a place to be inspired and find others who share the same interests. I plan on continuing to love mine through 2019. Trouble is, I’ve been neglectIng Pinterest and seen a massive drop in board views. I just don’t have time to focus on all the platforms at the same time! Thanks for your ongoing support too! xx

  3. January 3, 2019 / 8:10 pm

    Great tips here. I’ve had the worst insta game 🙁 I’m not on it as much as I use to be… maybe it’s lost its sparkle for me.
    xo Ros | ZenHealth

    • Samantha
      January 3, 2019 / 8:19 pm

      It’s really such a love/hate thing isn’t it?! Maybe try cleaning up your feed and only follow those who share the same interests as you. I feel so much happier about mine now. Good luck with yours lovely – (if it gets its sparkle back for you) x

  4. January 3, 2019 / 9:05 pm

    I absolutely love this post and relate to it so much. I’m really similar in that I only ever want to post the best images- I’d never follow accounts with a poor quality feed, stories are where the lesser quality belongs if at all! I know it can feel like an uphill slog but I definitely agree that Instagram is where brands tend to find us and I find it a good platform to collaborate with brands on content anyway!

    Soph – x

    • Samantha
      January 3, 2019 / 9:52 pm

      I’m pleased you agree! I believe silly/poor quality shots don’t belong on your “blog insta” account. Stories like you say, if at all! We are meant to be showing brands the quality of our work aren’t we?! Thanks for your support Soph, it’s very much appreciated. Glad we’re on the same page! x

  5. January 3, 2019 / 10:12 pm

    Love the tips. I think we were all carried away with social media and spent lots of time on it because it was fun and addicting (especially instagram). But now that we have understood the impact, it’s left for us to make it work for us. As much as many people say that the followers doesn’t matter, I will say that it depends. For us bloggers we need many followers to promote our brand so it’s really hard to ignore that part when we create content. But it’s left for us to deal with the negatives that come along with being on Instagram and indeed make it a happy place.

    • Samantha
      January 3, 2019 / 10:22 pm

      I love the way you’ve summarised this. I completely agree with you. We are always led to believe counting the numbers is wrong but for us bloggers it has to be part of the equation. Speak to any PR agent and they’ll tell you they always look at the numbers, plus engagement is key. It’s a shame it has come to that but if we want to move forward with our brand then we have to work on it! Have a wonderful, productive 2019 x

  6. January 3, 2019 / 11:32 pm

    As always, this was an incredibly thoughtful and well written post. Instagram truly is one of the hardest social platforms to make a dent in. I’m not sure if you have a business account or a paid account but I’ve heard rumors that IG will purposely lower your organic reach if you’re a “business,” because they want you to pay for advertising.

    I always love seeing your photos in my feed, Samantha! They’re always beautiful without looking overly edited.

    My biggest goal for next year Instagram-wise is to improve the quality of my photos and editing skills. In 2018 I definitely fell into the trap of thinking I needed to have my photos fit a color scheme.

    • Samantha
      January 4, 2019 / 10:52 pm

      Thank you so much for your lovely words. You’re right, Instagram is one of the hardest platforms, it’s almost like a game! I do have a business account and often consider switching back but I hear the the change is minimal so I’m torn. I’ll just have to keep working on it! Have a wonderful 2019 lovely, and thank you so much for your ongoing support. I really appreciate it xx

  7. January 4, 2019 / 2:40 pm

    Love this post! I’m definitely going to have a look through on my Instagram of the accounts I follow in the New Year and do some of these tips! That app sounds fab. I use Instagram for the same reasons and to find inspiration and interact. I think I’m starting to feel a lot more positive about Instagram since I haven’t been thinking about the numbers too much but like you say, it is Instagram that brands look at and they really are making it difficult for us. Who knows what the future holds for Instagram! I love your feed though Samantha! Thank you for always showing your support xx

    Amelia /

    • Samantha
      January 4, 2019 / 11:13 pm

      Thank you so much Amelia. Glad you found some useful tips. I love looking at my feed now I’ve thinned it down a bit, although, when it comes to finding bloggers to follow I don’t find it that easy! Some follow/follower counts are so skewed it’s not worth following! Then there’s those who you engage with yet they still unfollow. It’s a strange platform but is useful so we have to just put up with its annoyances I suppose! Thank you so much for your continued support, I really appreciate it. Good luck with your IG and have a fabulous 2019! Xx

      • January 5, 2019 / 6:05 pm

        I know exactly what you mean! I’ve had a few unfollow me back too as I expected, surely they would prefer followers who want to follow and engage with their content! Your always so welcome lovely! The same to you! xx

  8. January 4, 2019 / 4:55 pm

    I love this post Samantha, I have such a love/hate relationship with Instagram too so it is reassuring to know others feel the same. That’s a great tip about following the hashtags you use most on your posts, a very clever way to find similar accounts. I think I need to be more consistent with Insta, as I tend to ignore it for days then go on and try and catch up with everything in one go. I wish you all the best with your Instagram goals, you deserve all the success as your photos are gorgeous and you are one of the most supportive people I follow, so thank you!! Happy new year lovely! <3 xx

    Bexa |

    • Samantha
      January 4, 2019 / 11:06 pm

      Thank you Bexa, I’m so glad you can relate! I’m about the same and sometimes don’t post for days, like you. I’m planning on posting more if I can.

      Thank you so much for your kind comment. you’ve been a wonderful support over the last few months, it’s very much appreciated. Glad we found each other! Best of luck with your blog (and Insta’) through 2019! Xx

  9. January 5, 2019 / 7:06 am

    I really like instagram and the creative freedom it gives us. Plus, there is plenty of inspiration to be found.
    Have an amazing new year!

    • Samantha
      January 5, 2019 / 11:25 am

      I agree, it’s a great place for being creative and also for inspiration! Can’t knock it for those reasons. Thanks lovely, have a fab 2019! x

  10. January 5, 2019 / 3:11 pm

    I sooooo feel this post. I feel like 60% of the reason I fell of the wagon with blogging was because Instagram was becoming so fustrating and it’s always been my favourite social media platform. Ive always loved photography too and it’s the best platform to get creative, engage with others and promote blog posts and just generally the most fun. I started going through my followers and trying to sort those out but it just didn’t cut it for me. I think I need to follow in some of your foot steps and look at following and engaging with new people as well as the ones I’ve been following for awhile. I definitely think I will be coming back to check on your tips in the future, such a great post!

    Ellie x

    • Samantha
      January 5, 2019 / 3:26 pm

      I’m so glad you agree and it’s great to see you back! IG has a lot to answer for doesn’t it?! I find it’s not so easy to find genuine people who are willing to support and some still unfollow even when you engage with each other which just seems crazy to me. I imagine it’s a popularity thing with them where they want to keep their follow number down. I can get that, but since engagement is key, I find it strange! Thanks Ellie xx

  11. January 6, 2019 / 4:20 am

    This is such a great post, Samantha! I can totally relate to what you’re saying about having a love/hate relationship with Instagram! I actually have a post somewhere in my drafts about my frustrations with Instagram that I’ve been meaning to finish for ages haha! It can definitely be disheartening at times, especially when you’re putting effort in and getting little to no results. I couldn’t even count the number of times I’ve thought about giving up. That being said, your Instagram photos are stunning, and I always look forward to seeing them in my feed!

    • Samantha
      January 6, 2019 / 10:33 am

      Thank you so much lovely. It’s just so frustrating! We shouldn’t let it beat us though.i’m going to continue learning and see what I can do to fix my IG issues. Good luck with yours! x

  12. January 6, 2019 / 4:32 pm

    The never ending frustrations of the Instagram algorithm! I’m sure most bloggers can relate to that 😉 I use Planoly to plan my posts, I find it helps to view Instagram as a promotional tool and visually shows how your grid will look like.
    This post makes a great read!
    Julia xx

    • Samantha
      January 6, 2019 / 9:48 pm

      So frustrating isn’t it?! Yes, Planoly is a great app. I used to use it religiously when I had a pink, floral/marble theme but left that behind 18 months ago, or so and haven’t really used it since. However, I’m trying to lean towards a style change so I’ll start using it again for that. Thanks lovely x

  13. January 7, 2019 / 1:35 pm

    Such a great post hun! I love it! I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram as well, with the algorithm constantly changing and people playing the follow/unfollow game – it’s literally so frustrating! But now I only post what I like/whenever I like, at the end of the day it’s only a social media platform which obviously has its perks when you are a blogger but that shouldn’t take away the good part which is connecting with other people. Plus it’s a great way to experiment your photography and find your own style.

    You’ve shared great tips as well! I’ll definitely do them this week, and that app is amazing! I still use it on my old phone, for some weird reasons I can’t find it on my (new) phone. I’ve downloaded a bunch of similar apps but they aren’t good as this one so I still use my old iPhone for this sole reason haha! Great post as always x

    New Lune |

    • Samantha
      January 14, 2019 / 4:47 pm

      That’s good to hear. I agree, Personally, I feel following just to get the follow back to then unfollow is underhand. it’s not the right way to gain a loyal fan base! Thanks lovely, You Have a lovely week too! x

  14. Anonymous
    February 16, 2019 / 6:44 pm

    I love your blog! 🙂 It’s amazing! 🙂

    • Samantha
      February 16, 2019 / 11:40 pm

      Thank you so much. Really kind of you to say so! x

  15. April 14, 2019 / 5:23 pm

    Hi !

    Thank you for your post, I can see that I’m not the only one to struggle with Instagram since they launched their weird algorithm. I have also a blog and I use my Instagram for pleasure because I love photography but also because it helps me to to boost my blog traffic but since this algorithm it’s so difficult ?

    • Samantha
      April 15, 2019 / 10:09 pm

      Thank you for your lovely comment. Apologies for late response (it got caught in my spam filter). The algorithm is definitely sent to try us isn’t it. I don’t think we’ll ever beat it, we just need to find ways to grow organically but It’s very slow. Have a lovely evening! x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *