Blog posts about Instagram are hardly groundbreaking these days. Whether it’s a list full of your top tips or seven giant paragraphs about how the changes in algorithm have ruined your life, we all know that Instagram has turned into a bit of a game of late.
It’s the game about growth and growing community or keeping followers. It’s a game about creativity and the subtle competition of composition and caption writing. Instagram is the one aspect of blogging or being a content creator that can really test us. It’s all about the visual and there’s nowhere to hide – with fake personalities being jousted a mile off and bots and shadowbanning – the vibe around Instagram has been anything but peachy.
Individually, we either absorb all this negative energy, buy into Instagram being the problem (which in some cases it may well be) and get downright grumpy about it all OR we decide to do what we can to make Instagram work for us again.
Unsurprisingly, I went for the latter option. You would too, right?
3-ish weeks ago, I stared at Instagram blankly, decided I’d had enough of my old way of doing it all and decided to just go for it. I made the decision to change things up and go about it all in a more effortless way.
Although my engagement has stayed pretty steady (read: average) over these last 3 weeks, my whole outlook on the platform is starting to positively re-shape. Today I’m sharing with you 5 of the things I’ve started doing this month – all of which have contributed to my own personal view of Instagram success.
I focussed on what I liked
The thing is that when you post an image that you adore, or you talk about something that you can’t hide your passion for, you don’t care if the post bombs or does brilliantly.
I’ve always posted images that I liked, but admittedly, if something I was proud of didn’t get the recognition I thought it deserved then I would nitpick it and assume it just wasn’t as good as I thought. This month I haven’t let others falter my own opinion. The photos that didn’t do as well as expected are still my favourite photos and those that surprised me still needed that extra element for me to love them.
This month I’ve really turned towards shots of nature and true lifestyle imagery – less styled and more realistic. It’s not what I really liked two months ago, but it’s what I like now, so I’ve embraced it and only hoped that my followers and friends have enjoyed it too.
I found balance
The balance between planning and spontaneity has always been a stranger to me. It was always all or nothing and without a plan, I’d feel lost and confused at what my Instagram feed was doing.
No longer do I see the point of delaying that great shot I got today because it doesn’t fit perfectly into my feed this week. I’ve said hell to the wind and stood in a doorway for ten minutes to edit and post the picture of my favourite shop. I’ve also said yes to the Planoly app – which lets me play around with my feed as and when without making it feel like hard work.
If you’re struggling with finding the right balance of image styles, my suggestion is to go all out for at least a week. Take all the pictures and post what you want just to see. At the end of the week, you’ll probably have a better idea about what you like posting.
I pushed my boundaries
During this time when I’ve been posting like crazy, I did very quickly come up against the problem of running out of photos. As someone who’s constantly attached to my phone I didn’t think I could run out of bits and pieces to post to Instagram… but lowe and behold, it happened. The only way to get around this was to take more pictures, of more things at more angles.
Instead of walking past something mildly interesting and thinking it wouldn’t be good enough, I embarass the person I’m with and stop for five minutes to get some snaps of it.
Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but sometimes I look back on the images later in the day and really like them – even though it’s something that I would never have thought would fit into my (prepare yourselves) aesthetic.
I got involved in other things
Whenever I’m struggling with blogging, Instagram or general social media, I always ask myself if I’m doing enough. Not doing enough work, not doing enough procrastinating, but doing enough living – you know, that thing that sometimes happens between to-do lists.
Most of the time the answer is no, so I get my shoes on, go for a walk and feel a smidgen more inspired.
On a larger scale, getting involved in #TheBlogRace competition gives me buckets of inspiration every week which I’ll so so grateful for being a part of. Whether it’s a group, club, competition or little 7-day Instagram challenge, all these things give us fuel for our creative fire whilst giving our overthinking brains a lil’ well-deserved break from the constant Instagram tick.
I came back down to Earth
At the end of the day, not getting as many likes on a photo isn’t the end of the world. We’ve all had cases of being the Instagram diva and cursing your followers (quietly) about not understanding your art. It’s just a social platform. Ultimately, we have no control over what happens to the algorithm or if we’re getting half the number of likes we expected.
Instagram and my followers owe me nothing, so what’s the point of getting all high and mighty about it? Putting the stats and the worries to the back of my mind, I’m so happy to shift my focus on it being fun and making my images and feed perfect for me – I mean, I’m probably the person who looks at my feed the most…
Yes, I did come back down to earth with a bit of a thud, but in hindsight, that’s the only way to really arrive. Now I’m happier, more realistic about Instagram and most importantly, getting on with it. Done is better than perfect, right?