Instagram is a platform that I’ve loved for years. I made my first account in 2013 as soon as I got my first iPhone. I had no idea how to use it, or what to really use it for. I’d been very active on Tumblr up until this point, which was probably the most visual social media platform until Instagram took off. I kind of expected it to work in the same way. I felt a little out of the loop because people had been using it for a couple of years already. When I realised I had to post my own pictures, I didn’t know what post aside from pictures of myself, or my pets… Kind of like Facebook.
Influencers weren’t really a thing yet. I knew that certain people on Tumblr had huge followings, but I don’t recall being aware of large Instagram accounts that didn’t belong to famous people. I think it was only in 2015 that I realised the actual power of Instagram.
When I started my first blog, I used Instagram as an advertising tool. Not advertising as in ‘to sell’, but to ‘move traffic’ from point A to B. Blogs are extremely difficult to gain traction on without external resources. Social media is a brilliant tool to combat this, but compared to previous years, it is noticeably harder.
My Dad says it’s the selfishness of others that ruins things for genuine people. It applies here, too. It’s the cheaters of Instagram, the ones who follow/unfollow, who buy followers, likes, and comments, and the ones who use engagement bots that have made it so much harder for others to grow.
I read somewhere that it’s these people that caused the chronological feed to be scrapped. It’s because of these people, that using certain hashtags will get you banned. Did you know if you use the hashtag ‘beautyblogger’ you could get banned? I don’t understand why either.
It’s probably also because of these people (I can’t say for certain), that only accounts with 10k+ followers can use the ‘swipe up’ feature on stories. Can you imagine how many spam accounts would use this feature if it was open for anyone to use? Again, this makes it harder for genuine people to put out the things they’re creating. As someone restricted to ‘link in bio’ life, I can tell you that the number of people seeing what you’re promoting in your story does not come close to the number of people clicking that link. Of course, some of this will be due to having followers that don’t have the same interests. However, in the age of instant gratification, although it seems unbelievable, people will not want to click 3 times to find the link in the bio.
After deciding that I wanted to start blogging again, and really put my all into it this time, I started researching the new Instagram algorithm. After reading somewhere that posting once every day at the ‘peak time’ as shown on your analytics page would ensure you got the most out of your posts, I gave it a shot. Then quickly noticed that with every passing day the posts would generate less and less reach.
So I did some more research. Then I read that posting every day would get you less reach on your individual posts, but more reach overall. Uh… What? Then another page would say ‘it depends on your band’. Then another page would say ‘here’s a list of the best days and times to post’ without telling you what timezone that applies to. In conclusion: Nobody has a clue.
In all honesty, I still haven’t figured out my posting pattern. I don’t think anyone else has either. It seems like people are literally throwing out some posts and seeing if they get lucky. People in articles speak with confidence when they tell you they’ve cracked the Instagram code, but they know no more than the average person with a small blog or business looking for answers.
It looks a little bleak, doesn’t it? Though, don’t give up and delete your account just yet, as I did find some useful information too!
The short answer is, yes, new content creators can grow but it will be slow and requires effort. You will also need to reassess the way you use Instagram. When trying to grow an Instagram account it’s normal to default to a mindset where it’s all about numbers. Try not to focus on how many followers you have, and how many likes you get because especially with likes, it’s not going to be consistent and it’s not a measure of how good your content is.
I read that it’s better to form good relationships with people who have similar interests to you. For this to work, you have to be genuine. If you’re going to make ‘friends’ with a ton of people just to better yourself, don’t bother. Think of it as more of a give and take of equal parts. Find people whose content you actually enjoy, people who you want to see succeed and support them wholeheartedly. They may do the same for you, and by having this mutually beneficial relationship, you can start reaching out to others, perhaps through collaborations or pure luck.
Honestly, it’s better to have a small number of followers who genuinely enjoy your work than to have a huge following where nobody cares.
To close this out, I had the idea that we could all share our accounts in the comments and find people with similar goals and interests. Leave your @ in the comments with a short description of what you’re about and have a look at other people’s accounts who intrigue you.
I didn’t mention it before, but following people who inspire you rather than just following people with perfect Instagram feeds will do wonders for your mental health, and you will feel more inspired and motivated!
I hope that some of you could relate to what I said and feel reassured that you can find success, even when it seems hard.
Pinafore from Miss Selfridge (Old) | High Neck Top from Miss Selfridge (Old) | Coat from Urban Outfitters (Old) | Belt from Primark (Old)
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Love, Flossie ♡