Ah the Insta-woes and haven’t we all been there! I’ve had my fair share of anxiety over the ups and downs of the Instagram algorithm and there have definitely been days I’ve had to check myself on how silly it all is…
Except is it? For bloggers, Instagrammers, influencers, what have you, who are looking at making a living out of the content they create, numbers can really matter. The more you reach of your audience, the more chance of likes and those all important comments. Which as a user is what makes Instagram the brilliant social platform it is and also, let’s be honest, what brands (the right brands!) are looking for – genuine and authentic engagement.
But as most people’s reach is being choked by the algorithm – I mean even big Instagrammers agree that their engagement is no higher than it was 2-3 years ago despite followings having grown and I’m seeing huge accounts on Stories asking their followers if they’re seeing their pictures – it can feel utterly disheartening. On a personal level you question the quality of your content and on a business level you wonder how you can successfully return on any sponsored content.
And so you try harder, commenting as much as you can, sticking to rhythmic posting and constantly trying to improve your content. All of which are good things. But just this weekend, I realised two things which felt like a bit of gamechanger…
The first was inspired after a particularly bad day of Instagram reach and engagement which had got me down. Chatting with other Instagrammers, I realised I was not alone in this and so I searched on Twitter to see if others were finding the same. What I seemed to get wind of was inference of a new algorithm tweak – although I could be wrong here, Instagram never announces stuff like this; there’s just endless speculation from frustrated users.
So I googled some more and came across something that I realise now has been floating around the Internet for quite some time now (yep, late to the party as per!) – that the Instagram algorithm these days shows your content to 10% of your audience and depending on the uptake will then show it (or not!) to the rest of your audience.
Yes To Knowledge!
Ah the power of knowledge! Knowing that worst case scenario, that only 10% of my following will be reliably shown my posts filled me with a great sense of calm – as really it’s out of my hands. Forget the expectation anxiety – will it/won’t it do as well/badly as the last post – just operate with that criteria in mind; and anything more is a bonus! Not feeling on edge with hesitant expectation is so much more relaxing, trust me!
And the second thing… recently after a couple of my photos not doing that well, I thought a little harder and had a lightbulb moment (haha I know, I’m sure you’re all on to this!) and realised I wasn’t using the analytics tool Instagram so generously offers us business accounts.
Ridiculous that I have never looked properly at the block graphs which show when your audience is mainly online! I mean, doh! Of course, I’ve always had a rough idea and mainly kept to it, but not always! If you don’t have a business account then I think Iconosquare is a reliable app to give you similar info.
So after a couple of ill-timed and thus low reach photos, I took a look, and realised the errors of my timings. So then I made a point of posting when my audience is at its highest…
Well, nothing too life-changing! But a definite sense of the post moving as it should with a nice bit of life and engagement coming in. Add in the being active 15 minutes before and 15 minutes after you post (great post by Belle & Bunty detailing exactly this!) and it all seems so much more – dare I jinx it (!) – manageable. 😉
The truth is we have no idea how Instagram will evolve (although Facebook sadly is probably a good indicator, given that it now owns the app) but also things are always changing in the world of digital and as ever the most important thing is to just keep focussed on making and creating the imagery & content you love!
How do you cope with the ups and downs of the algorithm? And also if you love a bit of Insta chat, keep an eye out for Me & Orla’s next @theinstachat on Twitter… There was one last night, you can catch up with it at this hashtag #theinstachat – lot of interesting discussion!