Instagram? More like Latergram

October 19, 2015 5 Comments

goulash threads instagram If you have an Instagram account, you probably have noticed something has changed within the past few months:

Engagement is down.

Either you aren't seeing as many amazing photos in your feed (sometimes going a few days without a single photo from an account you follow) or you notice your engagement per photo has drastically dropped. Maybe you notice both and you keep wondering:

 

 


"What is going on? What am I doing wrong? Is it something I did? What do I need to change? Is anyone else struggling with this or am I the only one?"

These questions have been burning in the back of my mind for awhile now and it took some major research (and trial/error) to realize exactly what was going on: 

It wasn't me at all. It was Instagram (or should I say Facebook).

Instead of being the social media platform that I have been using for years to share what I love with those who love it, Instagram has purposely been limiting my engagement/exposure (as well as millions of other users) for their own monetary gain (aka limit the amount of people who see your posts and eventually you will be forced to buy sponsored content). 

I don't know about you, but as a small business owner, I thrive on platforms like Instagram that give me a voice to share my passion without sacrificing my content or vision.

Acting as free advertising for my business is a big (yet essential) plus.

Without it, the way I do business changes, drastically, especially if there aren't solutions available to get my content out there (without bankrupting my business first).

Basically, if I had the funds to pay for sponsored content, I wouldn't need to pay for sponsored content. 

Do you see the problem? Instagram doesn't. 

And that's fine because they are a business that needs to make money (or they too will begin struggling). So while I understand the changes they are making, I am still discouraged by it and constantly think to myself: 

"Do I stay on Instagram and struggle to get engagement (and thus the orders to stay afloat) or do I abandon my favorite social media platform for something else? But what else is there really for what I'm doing? Can I even leave Instagram?"

And my honest answer, for the moment is ... no. I can't leave Instagram (and you probably can't either) 

So, what exactly are we supposed to do?

Well, after research and more research and even more research, I found some solutions to help better equip your Instagram to obtain the maximum amount of engagement (as well as not miss out on a single photo from any account that you love):

  1. Limit the amount of accounts you follow
    Apparently, if you follow more than 200 people on Instagram, you will only be shown photos from accounts for which you engage with frequently (through likes or comments, basically the same way Facebook filters their newsfeed). To see all of the photos from ALL of the accounts you follow, you will be required to use a third party app (like Iconosquare). So, the first solution is to limit the amount of accounts you follow so that you don't miss a single photo from your favorite accounts. 
  2. Engage more with the accounts you follow 
    From what I understand, the algorithm that determines what shows up on your feed is directly related to whom you are interacting with on a daily basis. So if you like a photo from the same account every day, their photos are more likely to show up in your feed versus another account that you just scroll past a little too frequently. Comment more, like more, do more is going to be my motto from now on (especially if I want to follow more than 200 accounts ever in the future). 
  3. Turn on Post Notifications
    The guaranteed way to ensure that you never miss a single post is to turn on Post Notifications for each account you want to keep up with on the daily. This, although guaranteed, is tedious (and kind of annoying once your phone begins blowing up with notifications from those accounts who post more than five times a day). 

Any of these options (or a combination of all three) will help increase your engagement for now. But, when it really comes down to it, no matter how hard we try to stand out (with creative posts or good photography) or how frequently we do or do not post, none of our hard work will matter if the platform we are using limits what we can and can't do.

What does matter is how we embrace change (good or bad) and how we grow with it (not against it), so let's make the necessary changes, stay on our toes, and cross our fingers that Facebook doesn't decide to charge all of us for using their platforms because, let's be honest, we'll probably all pay up eventually. 

**Disclaimer: This article is a result of my own personal research and may not be actual fact (as Instagram themselves have not officially released any statements backing up these claims).**


5 Responses

Autumn
Autumn

November 14, 2015

I have noticed that I don’t see all the people I am followings photos. Sometime I even think I unfollowed them accidentally or maybe they blocked me, but this isn’t the case. I appreciate a “smart” feed system like Facebook and Pinterest but I wish that this feature was optional. I think its really dumb that people/brands/companys need to pay so much to get their stuff seen. Social media almost is to corporate for me anymore. I understand it is a necessary evil.

Dianne
Dianne

October 28, 2015

this is weird, I’ve noticed the exact opposite lately. I’ve been getting way more engagement (tbf I’ve also just started using hashtags, which I was pretty snobby about for ages) and had quite a wave of new followers lately? But I don’t have a huge amount of followers to begin with. I have noticed the missing peoples pictures though – which is annoying. I love the gram!

Heather
Heather

October 22, 2015

Yes! Thank you for posting this, I, too, am experiencing similar and it was driving me nuts. It appears that the rumbles of change are starting to take place within private seller groups I am a part of and you are not the only one talking about this any longer. I am finding people starting to shift to Steller.co (unfortunately, no Android version exists yet) as an alternative, but I am not sure of the user reach Steller has to this point.

HHV
HHV

October 20, 2015

Is there any Instagram documentation to back up your claims that they are throttling content? I haven’t found anything.

Stephanie @ Sustaining the Powers
Stephanie @ Sustaining the Powers

October 19, 2015

This makes me so sad!! Instagram is my favorite because of the way it doesn’t have a Facebook-like newsfeed. I was trying to research this info further to see if I could find specifics, but I can’t find anyone else posting about it but you. Do you have any links to further resources where you got your information so I could do more research? Thanks!

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