"I was sick of comparing myself, I was sick of spending hours researching hashtag optimisation trends, I was sick of checking other bloggers social blade profiles and convincing myself they were buying their engagement and followers. Mostly, I was sick of the dread I felt every time I analysed my story engagement or went to post a photo."
Oh Instagram, you old devil you. Let's have a chat about you, shall we?
I restarted my Instagram in 2015, if you've followed me since I lived in Australia, you'll know I had a bit of a social media clear out after going through some shit and I just wanted to start my grid again, especially as I was blogging more regularly and really wanted to make it a part of my **shudders** 'brand' so to speak. I started out mostly blogging about beauty so most of my grid was about beauty, we had marble print flatlays of MAC products, close up selfies from my youtube make up tutorials (lol it's like another world guys, because I honestly would NEVER blog about makeup now, but hey it takes us all a while to find our feet and what works for us right?) and I put a lot of work into it. The Australian beauty blog and insta account world is HUGE, and by posting daily, interacting and getting involved with shout outs and hashtags, I was sitting on just under 5k by the end of 2016 - OH PRE ALGORITHM INSTAGRAM I MISS YOU SO MUCH.
The State We're In
Then the Algorithm rolled around, Instagram swore it was to make our lives better and easier and every influencer / blogger / youtuber / instagrammer rolled their eyes so deeply they might aswell have bowled into the back of our heads and struck down pins. I was upset, frustrated and I felt like the platform I loved the most, and that I'd built most of my following on, just wasn't cooperating with me anymore and was actively working against me. My photos pre algorithm were routinely getting 400-500 likes with around a 4.5k following. Fast forward to 2018 and I'm lucky to get that amount of interaction with a 8.5k following.
But this post isn't about moaning, it's about admitting that YES the platform is frustrating, it's actively working against you and not showing your photos to a large amount of your following so you'll shell out the $ to have it advertised to the people who already have chosen to follow your content, and that's so frustrating that it just has made me want to tear my hair out and cry at times. But post new years, I feel like I've found what works for me and my grid, I'm now routinely getting around 300-400 likes, whereas before christmas my engagement was a shocking 70-150 likes per photo and more than that. I actually ENJOY posting and interracting again, which isn't something I really thought was likely to happen again.
So What Changed?
So I set myself a goal in 2017 on reaching 9k, which lol I didn't make (oh well, I'm not miles away I suppose so I haven't done TERRIBLY in that respect.) When 2018 rolled around, yes I wanted to make a goal for Instagram, but more than that, I wanted to actually start enjoying it again. I wanted to clear out my feed from the accounts that no longer inspired me and I wanted to start really engaging with the accounts I follow, feeling inspired by everything I saw on my feed, commenting and getting all the style inspo from the amazing girls I follow and just enjoying it again. Because I mean really, I was sick of comparing myself, I was sick of spending hours researching hashtag optimisation trends, I was sick of checking other bloggers social blade profiles and convincing myself they were buying their engagement and followers. Mostly, I was sick of the dread I felt every time I analysed my story engagement or went to post a photo. That's not why I created an instagram account, I created an account to be more creative, share pictures and feel inspired.
Instagram Rewards Interaction
I find it so hard to find up to date information as to what actually works as a way of getting around the Instagram algorithm at the moment, because I mean, let's be honest, it changes daily. But I've found by just setting time aside 3-4 times a day to scroll through and like, comment, and find new accounts, not only am I gaining new followers, but I'm bloody enjoying it. When it comes to hashtags, let's be honest, there's no secret recipe for success. Something I always try to remember and hold on to is that you're only as good as your last nine. You can have the BEST hashtag strategy but if your content isn't at the stage where you're happy with it, it's pointless. So just do you, focus on creating a feed you would love to follow, and the rest will come naturally. Some of my friends have also created some incredible hashtags to find new accounts, some of my new faves have been #TheUncoolClub, #HappySelves and #AnotherOutfitPost
So here's to falling back in love with the app that makes me want to pull my hair out daily and actually enjoying posting again, because really, that's what we made an account to do. Oh PS - GUYS STOP BEING SHADY AND BUYING FOLLOWERS - IT'S V OBVIOUS K.
Photography by Fordtography