Mention the ‘problems’ of Instagram in the last few months and you’ll likely be met with a storm of opinions about shadow banning, the evil algorithm and the waves of people who are revolutionizing the way we use Instagram in 2017.
Even though everyone and their dogs have put in their two-cents on the matter – the matter of Instagram getting harder to break and sporadic in its support of you – I’ve decided to finally break my silence on it all and get involved.
Good Content Still Wins
Despite all the crap we sometimes have to wade through on Instagram, I’ve found that the one, undebatable truth of Instagram is that good content still wins all the battles. I can’t be the only one who has gotten a little lazy of late… for a few months earlier this year Instagram was really working for me – and I do mean for me.
My content seemed to be doing really well, each month I was growing as an account and making more and more meaningful connections. Then one month my life got a little busier and I got lazier with my content. My photos weren’t as impressive, I wasn’t putting as much into Instagram and the results meant that my growth slowed and I even started losing followers (eeeek).
It’s hardly surprising that when I spent some time taking great photos, writing engaging captions and planning out my feed a little more (not completely necessary, I know), my feelings toward Instagram grew warmer and I finally felt like I was doing it right again. Lesson learnt? Definitely.
Breakthroughs Feel More Deserving
Posting a photo you’re super proud of and having it get amazing engagement and really inspire your followers feels better than ever in late 2017 (just realised that it’s late 2017 so give me a second to freak out). Why does it feel great? Because unlike 6 months ago, where people received steady engagement rates and could probably tell you in confidence how many likes a photo on a Sunday morning would get… doing well on Instagram suddenly feels like you’re doing something right.
It’s no longer because ‘those people always like my photos’, it’s because ‘these people are actually enjoying what I’m creating’ – which feels much more deserving, don’t you think?
Of course, this larger divide in a photo doing well and it doing not so well can spark a touch of jealousy. When it’s someone else’s turn to bask in their creative glory, it can be hard watching from the sidelines with less than 100 likes and fewer followers than you had last month… believe me, I’ve been there. Thankfully, we have stopped blaming our tools (in this case, the Instagram algorithm and app) and have started improving what we can – our content.
There ISN’T Space For Everyone
Don’t jump to hating me on this one. In my opinion, there is not room for every great account to get the validation and support it deserves. Which is a crying shame – but that’s life I guess. Every time I scroll through Instagram I can’t help but think of all the accounts out there that would be right up my street but are hidden or buried under a million accounts that just aren’t for me.
Lately, I can’t help feel that Instagram has been missing something vital for its users. Something more than hashtags, more than geotagging but not something that would change the point of the app itself. If Instagram introduced some sort of Pinterest-style search system then I feel like I could find accounts and images that seemed like there were made for me at the drop of a hat. Even a third party app could do the trick. I just want some other way to find accounts based on aesthetic and photo content – that way smaller accounts might stand more of a chance of being discovered… opposed to big accounts just snowballing.
I guess this has a similar vibe to what happened to YouTube a while ago. The big channels got bigger and the smaller channels slipped through everyone’s net. I guess only time will tell. All I’m sure of is that I’m missing out on a lot on Instagram, and no-one has the time to dive in too deep. What do you think?
Balance IS Restoring
I for one absolutely LOVE these Instagram challenges that are gaining traction of late. Allison Sadler’s #freeuppmyinsta is probably one that you’ve heard of, with loads of bloggers and creatives joining in with her several challenges over the last few months – with the goal to free up their Instagrams (I mean, obviously) and make more space for creativity and life rather than cookie-cutter shots and constant self-promo.
This summer on Instagram has definitely felt more free and open to everyone doing Instagram their own way, and I hope it stays this way. After months and months of cursing about the changing algorithm and speculation about shadow banning, Instagram started to feel very business. At the end of the day, though, despite changing features and less exposure, Instagram is growing and the dust has started to settle. We can finally get back to our own Instagram lives in peace (or loudly, depending on what you’re all about).
There’s No Right Way
Now if anyone has waded through all the Instagram tips, advice and how-tos on the internet (in many forms), it’s me. The only thing that has stood out from all the blog posts, Instagram captions and podcasts is that there is NO RIGHT WAY. Different things work for different people – and that applies to basically everything.
Some days you just have to go with the flow, some days you just want to quit and on others, you feel like an Instagram queen. There’s only so much we can take in and we can only adapt our natural habits and aptitudes so much. I’ve learnt that this is fine. I always want to post to Instagram before 8 am… but I wake up at 9… you see the issue. For months I’ve tried to wake up earlier because I know more people use Instagram before 9 am, but you know what? People use it at lunch and in the evening too. There’s no right way, at least not anymore.
I’d love to hear some of your own thoughts on Instagram. Have you struggled lately and finally seeing the light? Or have you too been put off by the Instagram algorithm taking over the blogging world?
Let me know in the comments below – then go and enjoy Instagram!
Until next time,
P.S. From writing this post I’ve learnt that I really can’t spell algorithm right… every time it was underlined with red…