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Today, after a long time spent putting it off, I finally want to sit down and talk about Instagram! I started blogging and using Instagram during what's probably now considered 'way back' in Spring 2014 and it was honestly a totally different world. In the new space of Instagram, I honestly don't really know where I fit in or what to do about that because, no matter how much time and effort I put in; my engagement just tanks that bit further every month. Instead of pretending it isn't happening, I'm just going to put my thoughts out there on what's happening with Instagram as a platform and how I feel about my own account now... (rambly post alert!)
I definitely think Instagram has changed a lot since I started using it as an influencer, both for the better and for the worse! Whereas before we all saw our feed chronologically, creators are now battling against an algorithm we don't really understand. 3 years ago, I'd easily scoop as many likes within the first hour of posting than most of my recent posts could ever hope to achieve. On the flipside, Stories and IGTV have added new functionality and interactivity that we never had before. It allows you to really connect with other users on a level that wasn't possible before and - as a creator - it allows you to do more informal, relaxed content, which is something I really enjoy.
At the same time; the standards for content have gone through the roof. I personally am not really the sort of person to plan an entire trip to an Instagram-friendly location just to take endless photos of myself - it just isn't my vibe; usually when I'm somewhere cool I'm having fun with whoever I'm with and maybe we'll take a photo or two but they won't be posed - however I feel the platform now almost demands it. At the same time, even standard beauty flatlays are now in another league and there are some creators out there killing it and whose content I love. At the same time, I follow plenty of accounts whose photos aren't this perfect pastel pink and gold theme, who are just sharing their love of skincare or makeup, writing long review-form captions and spending the time to really interact with their followers. I don't think there's a 'right' way to do it as such, but I've also had to accept that what I do is nowhere near as perfect and professional as what other creators are putting out and there are accounts being set up with incredible content from their very first post.
I guess I struggle to figure out where I fit in. I'm definitely not following some perfect theme and I don't feel the need to skip posting something because it doesn't 'fit' my feed, but perhaps I should be doing those things. I do look back at my feed sometimes and see a bit of a confused mess! I've also definitely noticed that accounts posting similar things in a similar setup have really great engagement because they're giving their audience multiple versions of the same sort of thing, which is bound to go down well because it's the reason they're following you. But surely this must get a bit boring? Or maybe there's a middle ground I need to find between the two extremes.
I think there's also an element of those of us who have been around a while having followers who are no longer in the beauty world, no longer interested in this topic or might not even active on this platform any more. Having lots of inactive followers who haven't actually unfollowed you makes you focus on the disconnect between the number of people you should be reaching and the number of people who actually care to interact with your content. If you're on Instagram and you're following creators you no longer care for the content of; the best thing to do is probably just to unfollow them!
Where I've landed is in a place of ambivalence towards the platform. I've stopped worrying about it as much as when I first started to notice my account was in decline and I've stopped spending so much time taking all of these photos that aren't getting much interaction. Instead, I'm just doing whatever feels like fun, because I'm only really carrying on the account because I love talking about beauty stuff and connecting with like-minded people. Whether it's voting on new beauty launches, sharing my night in skincare or doing a skincare routine video; I'm enjoying all of the new features Instagram has given us over the past couple of years, as opposed to being upset that my latest in-feed post didn't get much love! Do I wish more people interacted with my content? Of course, but at the end of the day you have to stop trying to give everyone what you think they want and just enjoy what you're creating. If they want to come along for the ride then they will...
How do you feel about engagement on Instagram? Did you experience a drop in engagement when the algorithm came in?