We’ve talked about Instagram before. In this post, we shared how we quickly and organically grew our following (and you can, too!) and on episode 48 of our podcast, we discussed why we think the Instagram bubble is going to pop–spoiler: it has a lot to do with people trying to take short cuts.
If you use Instagram just for fun, then this post doesn’t really apply to you, but there’s been a lot of buzz from people, like us, who use Instagram as a part of their business and are having trouble getting our content seen by our followers. It can be frustrating! The best thing you can do as one of our followers is to like and comment on things we post if you like it! It will allow our content to continue to show up in your feed. I always say, if you like it, heart it! If it makes you pause, maybe that’s worth a comment!
On the other hand, if you do use Instagram to reach others, I’ve been doing some research and testing and thinking in the last few weeks and this is the conclusion I’ve come to about the new algorithm: Instagram just wants us all to act like human beings. Not businesses. Not influencers. Just people who want to connect with one another. And Facebook’s recent announcement about wanting to make the platform about connections really confirms that–especially since they own Instagram.
With that in mind, here are 6 introspective questions to ask yourself if the Instagram algorithm has you down:
1. When’s the last time you responded to comments and questions?
Comments are great on Instagram. They’re gold actually. We all want that kind of “engagement.” But, in real life, those are called conversations and how weird is it if, in real life, 100 people said something to you and you never replied? Instagram likes conversations and that means taking time to respond to people who took time to leave a comment–even if it’s just to say that you already answered that question above. Which is a completely different issue I’m still trying to figure out. I don’t answer every comment, and I probably miss a lot of questions, but I try. And hearting comments is easy!
2. When’s the last time you opened up your Instagram app to not just check on your notifications, messages and analytics, but to see what someone else was up to?
It’s very easy to get overwhelmed with all the notifications you should tend to when you open your Instagram app. See #1. Not to mention, the analytics you want to check on. There have been many times that I get busy doing all of that that I put down my phone before I even scroll through to check in on the people I follow! Once I realized, I stopped doing that because that’s not what friends do. Real friends, real human beings are interested in each other. Instagram wants us to act like human beings.
3. When’s the last time you liked or left a genuine comment on a photo, no matter how many followers they have?
In my post about growing your Instagram following, I mentioned the importance of leaving genuine comments on other people’s content. But real human beings don’t care about how many follower’s someone has before they leave a comment or like a photo. Don’t just leave a comment to get exposure on another person’s account. Leave a comment because you like them and their content, regardless of anything else.
4. When’s the last time you shared (with credit!) an account or photo that you love–without it being a trade?
There’s a new trend on Instagram, I’ll promote you and you promote me. And while I’ve never done it personally, I have checked out a lot of accounts because of other ‘grammers that I know who have done it and tagged someone in their feed or stories. So, it works, I think! But when’s the last time you just shared a photo or account just because? I think there’s a lot of humanity in that. Humanity and good karma.
5. When’s the last time you went out of your way to thank someone for sharing your ideas, a photo or account?
Notifications get buried quick–I totally get it. That’s why every time I see that someone tagged us in a comment, photo or story, I reply immediately with a “thank you!” or some sweet emoji or comment–because, goodness! There’s nothing better. They want their friends to know about you. It means so much to me every time, and I can’t even believe how gracious they are when I notice them sharing about Chris Loves Julia.
6. When’s the last time you were excited about the content you were publishing on Instagram?
Lastly, and most importantly, you have to be excited about what you’re posting. If you don’t love what you’re posting, then why should other people? A few months ago, I was in a rut. I was posting a lot of recycled photos just to post something. I wasn’t excited about it. It didn’t feel new or exciting for anyone else, either. In real life, the people you interact with can 100% tell when you’re phoning it in and your Instagram followers can, too. They can tell when you’re not excited. So, whatever it is you’re posting about–be excited to share it. (More posting tips in this post.)
These are all questions I have asked myself, and tried to correct in the last few weeks. In a highly digital world, I think the app is trying to force us to be human again…it’s kind of amazing, don’t you think?
Ps! You can always connect with me over there at @chrislovesjulia!