Grab a cup of tea, coffee or gin (whatever your preference is) as today’s blog post is quite a lengthy one at a record of 2,057 words..
Much like every other blogger on the planet, I am an active user of Instagram: the social media platform which allows you to post photos, connect with other people, share your thoughts, post crazy boomerangs of your day and much more..
But of recent months, Instagram took a turn down a path which not everyone is happy with. Unless your Kylie Jenner posting a photo of her baby, then you’re not going to get a shed ton of likes within 1.5 seconds.
With the algorithm changing so users only use “popular posts,” it has become harder to the little people to showcase our photos on a daily basis.
Quite a few of my favourite bloggers have written a blog post about their feelings towards the platform and so, I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon as it would seem that I have my fair share to say…
We’re all very aware of Instagram’s algorithm and how the change has made it more difficult for people to reach a certain amount of likes on their photos.
Is that what the world has come to? Being devastated because your photo of the day didn’t reach a certain amount of likes? Apparently so and I know that I’m not alone in feeling this way.
I am very aware that Instagram has quickly become a job for some people, but to me, it all seems crazy that our mood depends on how many likes a photo reaches. Sure, people do put a lot of work into the photo and if you’re a blogger like myself, you’ve probably scouted out a location (I’ve done it!) and made sure that the weather was suitable for the photo. I understand completely that some people rely on the platform to pay bills but we shouldn’t allow a certain amount of likes to dampen our spirit.
But when you’re not using the platform to earn money, is it okay for us to be frustrated with the platform because it’s not giving us the results we thought we deserved?
Sure. I’ve been therefore. I still have moments of doubt about a photo and many times, I’ve deleted photos because they no longer suit my theme.
Beating The Algorithm
Times are most definitely changing in the crazy world of social media and we’re slowly adapting to the possibility that our photo may not be seen by 99% of our following. But Instagram *apparently* know what they’re doing and every week, there’s a fresh rumour going around that someone has spoken to a friend of a friend who works at Instagram HQ and they are going to change the feed back to a chronological order.
I have called bullshit on that rumour since day one and I will continue to do so until Instagram actually pull their finger out of their booty hole to change it back.
Every blogger gets their hopes up about the so-called-coming-change and before you know it, the clicks on the page of the person who shared the rumour is going up, up and up. Click bait my friends, that is click bait at its finest.
So, beating the algorithm, how can it be done?
There are three ways in which it can work and I’m 98% certain that it does. True, my feed is completely back to chronological order but it’s almost there and that’s the main thing.
1. Sharing The Love
There are two ways in which you can do this and over the past few months, I’ve figured out that this is the best possible way to get your feed as to how you would like it.
Firstly; Like and comment on every photo on your feed. I comment on 99% of the photos which I see when I refresh Instagram. That tiny 1% which I don’t comment on are the Kardashians because I just don’t feel the need to and it’s not like they need the extra boost from me. But I do spend a good chunk of time going through my feed and making sure I like and comment the photos in which I see.
Side note: If you don’t particularly know what comment to leave, start a conversation about a topic relating to their photo and see where it goes. Sounds like dating advice..
Secondly; I screenshot my favourite photos from the week on a Friday and I upload them to my Instagram Stories. This has proven to be seriously popular and not to toot my own horn, but many people are doing the same. Have I started a trend? No, Emma. You’ve probably not, hun.
2. Your Following
I recently wrote about the pressure of following back and so many of you agreed with what I said in the post which was really nice to see because in reality, it’s true.
As of 8th April when I’m writing this post, I follow 74 people and 6 of those are celebrities (Kendall Jenner, Khloe Kardashian, Cheryl, Kim Kardashian, The Script and Kylie Jenner). So that leaves me with following 68 bloggers which I think is pretty good going.
There is the argument that following a small amount of people isn’t being supportive of the blogging community but Susan, there’s too many of us and at least I’m playing my part unlike some people who just expect it all on a gold, encrusted plate.
Following those 68 bloggers ensures I see their photos because not every one posts daily and at the end of the week when I round up my favourite photos of the week, I click into everyone’s profiles and if I haven’t seen their photo, I’ll give it a like and leave a comment.
3. Comment Pods
Ah, now this is one which some bloggers aren’t fans of but hear me out..
Since I joined comment pods in early 2017, my engagement has gone up. Some may see that as fake/forced engagement but I do still get other comments from fellow bloggers who aren’t in any of my pods.
As of 8th April, I’m currently in three and in all honesty, they don’t take up a lot of my time which is handy. There was one point of last year in Autumn when I was part of seven pods and even though I was unemployed and looking for work, it was a nightmare to keep up with (also, they can get pretty bitchy as well!).
Pods are there to engage more. According to several bloggers, the higher number of comments that you have on the photo, there is more chance that Instagram will make sure other people will see your photo.
Whether you’re in a pod or not, it’s all about engagement so if you get anything out of this blog post, let it be this: engage more because we could all do a little bit better at sharing the love around.
FYI: I’m in a pod which bloggers who I admire, ones who I already knew and some, I’ve met through the pod and developed a lovely blogging friendship with.
Timing Is Everything
One thing I’ve noticed about Instagram is the timing.
If I post at 3pm, I’ll barely get any likes and my photo will become lost in a sea of flatlays and bunches of flowers. However, timing is everything and I’m going to share my little trick with you..
On a weekday, I used to post in an evening when I knew that majority of the blogging community would be online and that worked absolutely fine for me but if I became busy or forgot, posting it later than usual would hit everything off. In evenings, I find it’s best to post at 9pm as that is when everyone seems to be the most active as either a blog chat is coming to an end or people are having “one last scroll” before going to bed.
Although, I have scraped the evening posting all together now and I much prefer posting in a morning when I pull into my work’s car park at 7:30am. Granted, I may be a few minutes late but any time between 7:30 and 7:40 seems to be ideal. Checking how the photo is doing at lunch time and I can be anywhere between 60-100 likes and I know you’re probably all thinking, “wow, that’s a small number,” and yes Susan, it is but don’t forget – I’m a small blogger and numbers aren’t everything, hun.
On a weekend, things are a little different as not everyone will be waking up at 7am and so, I post at 9am with either a photo I’ve saved from a trip or a #socksunday photo.
Timing really is everything.
Goodbye Snapchat, it was nice knowing you!
Instagram Stories has quickly become something that I adore. I love catching up at the end of my working day to see what everyone has been up to and it’s also a great way to see if you’ve missed anyone’s photos.
There are many ways in which you can use IG Stories to your full advantage:
– Have you seen today’s photo? Sharing your most recent photo or a screenshot of your feed is a great way to give people a nudge to catching up. Granted, you may not get a lot of engagement out of it (I certainly don’t. Hint why I’ve stopped doing it), but a lot of bloggers say it’s useful to do.
– Location = views. If I go to Liverpool, I’ll put something on my IG Stories and I’ll tag the location. This means that it maybe shared on the location story and therefore, your views will go up. Do people follow you because of this? Yes, yes they do. I have Liverpool shops, restaurants and photographers following me because they’ve found my account through the story so it is pretty handy to do.
– Hashtags = views. I personally don’t use hashtags on my Stories and there’s no real reason for it so I’m probably not the best person to comment on this, but a lot of people say it works so maybe I’ll give it a go? Much like the location, your story may be included within the hashtag story.
££ = Followers
Money can’t buy you friends, but it can buy you followers.
I’ve never really thought about buying followers and truth be told, I wouldn’t even know where to start. On a daily basis, I must block about 5 accounts which all include links of how to boost your following aka. buy followers.
Is buying followers technically cheating?
I guess so.
Multiple bloggers have been caught out from purchasing followers with the website Social Blade exposing people. Ohhhh, sneaky!
Am I bothered by it all?
No. Not in the slightest.
True, it may be cheating and it is frustrating when smaller bloggers are trying to up their game and boost their following in an organic way but I’m not bothered by it because I don’t follow the cheats.
Your Feed, Your Style, Your Theme
When I first started using Instagram, I posted everything and anything.
I knew nothing about photography (LOL, still don’t), but my photos have definitely improved and I’ve deleted the horrific evidence of the bad shots.
It was only in early 2017 when I decided to take Instagram more seriously. I had a following of 300-400 and I knew that if I wanted to continue blogging for a few more years, I should up my game.
So I did and it worked.
My following is almost at 1,400 (still low, I know) but I’m proud of my achievements. I have an iPhone 7 Plus which takes brilliant photos, I know which style of photos do and don’t work and most of all, I enjoy it.
Instagram may be frustrating with the algorithm but at the end of the day, it’s just an app. If you feel annoyed by it, take time away or just don’t post for a while. I’ve done that many times and it’s worked.
I love posting photos of buildings, colourful doors, snapshots of Liverpool, flowers on the windowsill, my adventures, food, books and of course, #socksunday.
You have to find your own style and before you know it, it’ll eventually become some sort of theme. What’s mine? Put a pink filter on it and hope for the best.