INSTAGRAM NEW ALGORITHM BLUES – HERE’S WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
Today I wanted to talk about a topic that I am seeing come up A LOT in my Boss Girl Blogger’s Group. That’s – INSTAGRAM & it’s sh*tty algorithm. Instagram was once “the spot” for bloggers, influencers, and youtubers. I’m not saying it’s not “the spot” anymore BUT it is true that it’s not what it used to be. I find more and more lately that bloggers are getting frustrated with Instagram rather than actually enjoying it!
As we all know, Facebook took over Instagram and they have made it BEYOND difficult to grow a following, let alone receive engagement on images. The way that this new algorithm works is that it’s showing photos in our feed of those that we engage with the most. Nothing is in chronological order anymore!
I’ll be scrolling through my feed and i’ll go to like a photo and stop myself because I realize it’s from 2 weeks ago! EXCUSE ME INSTA but i’m not trying to look like a creepy stalker! Could you just NOT do that to me PLEASE.
I miss the old algorithm just as much as the next person BUT it doesn’t look as if it’s going to change anytime soon. SO in the meantime…This is what I have learned from this whole “Instagram game”.
*aff links used – read my disclosure here.
ENGAGE WITH THOSE WHO AREN’T BLOGGERS
Am I saying that you shouldn’t engage with other bloggers? NO! Especially if you are a “blogging about blogging” niche, engaging with other bloggers is important. PLUS – MOST of the blogging community is extremely sweet and supportive – BUT, we are all after the SAME GOAL – growing our following & trying to make it big. So what’s the downside? Well, the downside is we all are caring about our numbers. Which results in very slim chances of bloggers following back + actually staying.
Apparently it’s important if you are trying to work with brands to keep this followers to following ratio low. Example: If you have 10,000 followers and you are only following 400, it looks better to the brands. WHY? I don’t know, and personally I don’t care because in this crazy Instagram world now a days it’s almost impossible to grow a following without following the other person back.
“If you don’t follow me, then I don’t want to follow you.” type of attitude. I know it sounds so silly, but it’s true! With all of the crazy apps out there, if you don’t follow someone back they are probably going to unfollow you. AND EVEN IF YOU DO FOLLOW THEM BACK THEY STILL UNFOLLOW. It’s CRAZY GUYS. I mean if you like the content why wouldn’t you follow? And if you like the content what’s the point in unfollowing?!
SOOOOOO with all that being said, engage with PERSONAL accounts rather than other bloggers because they are LESS likely to play the unfollow game. JUST SAYING.
UTILIZE YOUR INSTAGRAM STORIES
I was once a shy blogger and I was afraid to even put my face out there! BUT GUESS WHAT! If you want your audience to connect with you on a personal level – you gotta put yourself out there. As humans, we connect better with a face and a voice. At least that’s how I feel. If I have a face or voice to put with the writing, I will feel more connected and that blogger will begin to inspire me a whole lot more. On Instagram utilizing your stories to draw your audience in, helps a lot! I also heard that Instagram stories help with the algorithm too.
So, how should you use Instagram stories?
- Do daily vlogs or random clips of your day! Just talking to your following and asking how their day is while you tell them about yours is a great gesture.
- The holiday season is fast approaching, doing Instagram stories related to the holidays can help a ton! VLOGMAS anyone?!
- Let your following know when you uploaded a new Insta photo and tell them to go check it out!
- You can also do product first impressions or unboxing hauls!
- Even let your following know about a new blog post that went live!
You can get creative with your Instagram stories. Find out what stories you create get the most attention and continue! It’s a great way to establish personal connections with your following. I don’t care what anyone says, a personal connection goes a long way in the blogging world!
If you want to get a little extra attention to your Instagram posts, make sure to use geotags! This is when you tag your location. Yes, I know this is a bit personal but you don’t have to tag your location to a T. For example, if you are in the “Boston area” you can geotag “Boston, Massachusetts.” This is also awesome to utilize when you are trying to connect with a specific area ONLY. If you are a stylist in NYC, geotagging NYC helps to make sure your post is mostly getting seen by those in the area.
USE THE RIGHT HASH TAGS
I know a lot of people will say hash tags aren’t relevant, but guess what, THEY ARE! It’s all the matter of using the RIGHT hash tags. It is important to use hash tags that are related to the image you are posting but it’s also important to use hash tags that aren’t too popular. If you use a hash tag that has over a million others using it too – your chances of being noticed are much more slim than if you were to use a hash tag with 50,000 others using it. I suggest using hashtags between 40,000 – 600,000. That way they aren’t too popular where you won’t get noticed but they are being searched enough to the point where you can get noticed.
ALSO – if you are a part of my Boss Girl Blogger’s group then you may or may not know that we created a hash tag for the group so feel free to use it! We support each other by looking through and liking those who are using #BossGirlBloggers OR #BossGirlsUnited
Be sure to also follow BossGirlBloggers on Instagram and tag us for a chance to be featured!
TAG YOUR PHOTOS
Another way to increase your engagement is by tagging others in your photos! I’m not saying tag a friend or a random blogger, NO. But, if for example you post a photo using Maybelline on your eyes, TAG MAYBELLINE! People are constantly looking through tagged images of brands. Not to mention, you may even get the brand’s attention and they may reach out to you!
I did this the other day. I posted about my favorite Ole Henriksen truth serum & tagged them in my Instagram photo. They ended up private messaging me saying they loved my post and wanted to send me more of their products to try out! IT WORKS I PROMISE.
I also notice a lot of fashion bloggers tagging OOTD Instagram accounts. If you know of any “feature” Instagram accounts, always tag them because you do have that chance of getting featured and it will help your engagement! Again, Boss Girl Bloggers is a feature account so you can always tag it in your photos too – Must be following though!
THE DO’s + DON’Ts OF INSTAGRAM PODS
OKAY – so YES Instagram pods can work for you BUT there is a way to go about it. If you don’t know what an Instagram pod is, it’s something that influencers and bloggers came up with as a way to try and get around the algorithm. You join the pod and each time you upload you share the new photo link in the pod. Everyone in the pod will then go and comment/like your photo. You must like/comment on all new posts in the pod first though. It’s a way to support and gain engagement on your photos. AND YES it does help engagement but there is a proper way to go about it.
ONLY JOIN PODS RELEVANT TO YOUR NICHE – If you are a beauty niche and you are in a pod of graphic design or food bloggers, ehhhh irrelevant. I believe in only being in pods that pertain to your niche because Instagram will also show you more content in your feed that is related to the content you are liking. Plus if you are in a pod that isn’t related to your niche, commenting becomes difficult because you aren’t as interested, so you don’t really know what to say.
USE TELEGRAM NOT INSTAGRAM – If you are wanting to be in a pod, use telegram not instagram. Telegram is a messaging app and it’s a safer way to use pods. If you are using Instagram messenger for pods, Instagram may catch on AND THEY DON’T LIKE PODS. Just sayingggggg.
DON’T JOIN TOO MANY – Being a part of too many pods can do you more damage than good. Pods are a lot of work to keep up with because you have to engage with everyone else’s content in the pod before sharing your content. If you are a part of too many it takes up too much time and you will begin to stop focusing on those who do follow you and care about your content already. You don’t want to JUST engage with content of those in the pods. You want to make sure you are still engaging with those who you follow too. SO I would recommend 3 pods at max. Unless you know for a fact you can handle the work load and still engage with others outside the pod.
DON’T LIKE/COMMENT ON TOO MANY IN ONE HOUR – I forget what Instagram’s max is, but if you are liking and commenting on too many photos within the hour, Instagram marks you as spam. This will disable you from being able to comment/like for a while after. You don’t want to get restricted by Instagram, it can be frustrating to say the least. SO BE CAREFUL.
DON’T USE A BUSINESS ACCOUNT (under 10,000)
I have been both a business and personal instagram account and I noticed much more engagement being a personal account! When you are a business account Instagram lowers your reach because they think that you will be more willing to PAY to boost/promote your posts. Sneaky Instagram, but we caught on to your tricks! Of course Instagram wants your money!!! So don’t be fooled. I will say though a business account is GREAT if you have over 10,000 followers because you will be able to use the swipe up (add link) option on your instagram stories! You can also check your stats via the business account. BUT, if you have less than 10,000 followers I would hold off on the business account.
USE YOUR OWN PHOTOS
Instagram is a VISUAL platform. I’m sorry but if you want to see your following increase and receive high engagement, you need to use your OWN photos. I know that creating your own photos can be extremely difficult. I’m not saying you have to be a fantastic photographer BUT I am saying try. The only reason you might not use your own photos is if you are a brand that is featuring images of your products being used by others, OR if you are a feature account. Other than that, it’s time you start taking your own photos. I really get frustrated when I see bloggers using other’s images on their Instagram accounts because the whole point of Instagram is to show off YOUR photos. I promise once you use your own images you will notice your engagement sky rocketing.
LESS WORDS MORE IMAGES
Another thing that can make it difficult to gain following is if your account is ALL word graphics. Again, Instagram is a visual platform so people are more likely to follow and engage more with images rather than words. I love word graphics too though! Especially on the BossGirl Bloggers account. If you are a blogger I would recommend limiting your word graphics to every 3rd or 4th image! Less word graphics more images.
INVEST IN LIGHTING OR A CAMERA
I will always recommend this! I saw a tremendous increase in my following once I invested in lighting. I use LimoStudio Box Lighting for my product shots & to add more white contrast rather than yellow to my images. I also use the Neewer Ring Light for my “selfies”. I AM OBSESSED. All of my photos are usually taken with my iPhone 7 plus. But a good quality camera I recommend is the Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR . If you would like to see my Instagram for reference – HERE –
CREATE A THEME
Humans are visual, as I said before and will continue to say. If your Instagram feed has a theme and appears more organized and aesthetically pleasing, you will see that people will be more likely to follow! It’s simple to create an overall organized “theme”. I purchase card stock from my local craft stores to use as a background to any of my product shots or flat lays. I also picked up tile from Home Depot, super cheap!! You can even use a white fur rug. Investing in back drops can be useful too! Then when you edit, try to use the same filter or preset! I love using Lightroom or VSCO that I install from the app center.
Always make sure to make your captions longer than one sentence! & Ask a question at the end that way you are engaging with your following. This will get your following to respond and comment on your images! Works like a charm!
ENGAGE WITH YOUR FOLLOWING/FOLLOWERS
I know it’s important to engage with “potential” followers to try and grow your following but it’s just as important to engage with those already following you! Keep them interested in your content and keep them commenting on your stuff! The more they interact with your content, the more of your content that they will see! (thanks to the new algorithm).
REPLY TO COMMENTS / COMMENT BACK
It is super important to reply back to those who comment on your photo. Think of it this way – If you are walking down the street and someone smiles and says hi, chances are you will smile and say hi back, because you aren’t rude! Well same goes for Instagram. If someone comments something nice on your photo, respond back. This is another way to form personal connections. The sweeter you are, the more comfortable they will feel commenting on your photo. I’m telling you – IT’S ALL ABOUT PERSONAL CONNECTIONS. Also take it a step further and go comment on their newest image!
TELL A STORY
Make your images come to life. Have them tell a story. As much as flat lays are gorgeous, try to make your images tell a story. This is also important if you want to work with brands in the future! They love flat lays because they can be gorgeous, but if you can tell a story with their product instead, they will be ecstatic! For example: Instead of a product shot of the product, take a photo of you applying the product. Or if you are showing off new shoes, get an action shot of you running in the shoes.
LET YOUR NUMBERS BE THE LEAST OF YOUR WORRIES
The more you worry about how many people are liking and following you on Instagram, the less fun you start to have. Blogging is supposed to be FUN! It’s supposed to be your passion. Don’t let the numbers stop you from having fun! Continue to put out amazing content stop focusing on who’s following you and who isn’t. As long as you keep putting out content that you LOVE, the numbers will begin to grow. We all are having a stand still in our Instagram engagement and following, it’s not just you! Just continue to do what you love and the rest will follow.
And if it gets to the point where it REALLY bothers you, I suggest trying out a different form of social media! Blogging should never get to the point where you aren’t enjoying it anymore. I’ve seen many bloggers lose sight of who they are and lost all the potential they had to be an amazing blogger because they were too focused on their numbers instead of focusing on putting out their BEST content. They ended up giving up. DON’T GIVE UP BECAUSE OF A NUMBER. YOU ARE MORE THAN THAT.
Joining communities is a great way to network and meet others ESPECIALLY on social media. Here are a few communities that have helped in growing my engagement & following on Instagram.
Boss Girl Bloggers – A great community of all different niche bloggers!
Style Collective – Once you join you have access to all the members Insta accounts and they have their own hashtag too! (GREAT FOR FASHION BLOGGERS)
JOIN PALM – They have their own hashtag and a great Insta community
DON’T USE BOTS OR PAY FOR FOLLOWERS
I’m super serious about this! Bots are annoying! The comments they leave are usually “nice one”. . . SERIOUSLY … I can do without your bot/spammy “nice one” comment. I promise bots will do you more harm than good. AND DON’T EVER FALL FOR THE PAY FOR YOUR FOLLOWERS SCAM. The amount of emails I receive a day from companies wanting me to pay them for followers. NO THANKS. These are scams. The following you will receive are usually accounts that are not active and will NEVER engage with your posts EVER. So it’s pointless! You are wasting your money and it will just make you look a little silly. PLEASE DON’T!
GIVEAWAYS/ FOLLOW LOOPS
As much as these seem like a great idea, be careful. I have noticed when I tried the Instagram giveaway loop that it was kind of like buying followers but a LITTLE better. You are paying to be apart of this giveaway (30 – 60$ sometimes less sometimes more) The following you receive MOST of the time will stick around but not engage OR they will leave after a little while once the giveaway is over. If you are lucky you will get great followers from this, but it’s a toss up!
ALSO please don’t do multiple giveaways weekly. That’s excessive and can be extremely annoying to your followers. Monthly giveaways are good! And if you want a solid following from a giveaway, team up with some of your favorite bloggers and go about it that way instead of using the loops. Just my opinion! MAKE SURE TO DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST. Don’t break any giveaway laws.
These are just ideas and things that have worked for me when it comes to my Instagram engagement and battling the new algorithm! YES IT SUCKS but it is possible to work around it! I hope these tips are helpful! AGAIN – don’t let Instagram get you down, you are not alone!
Until Next Time