Beating The Instagram Blues

Sunday 8 October 2017

I don't need to explain to you what the "Instagram Blues" are, you've probably struggled with them before or are fighting through them right now. The combination of follow/unfollowers, the algorithm and shadow bans have slowly chipped away at our contentedness in Instagram as a platform, to the point where many of us are wondering if it's actually worth the hassle at all. Recently my relationship with the 'gram has started to improve, and my followers and engagement have been growing steadily, so I thought I would share some tips for making life on Instagram more enjoyable, and successful. 

Make Friends

The simplest way to gain engagement on Instagram is by sharing your posts, which I like to do via Comment Pods. For anyone who doesn't already know, pods are group chats on Instagram, which can contain up to 15 accounts at a time. Once you have posted your photo you share it with the "pod" and the other members of the group will like and comment on it, and in return you will like and comment on their photos when they share them. I know that pods are a bit of a controversial subject in the industry, but I love them, and through them I've made myself some real, amazing new friends, and I've seen my engagement sky rocket. I like to use pods in the fairest way, by trying to leave thoughtful and relevant comments, and by only joining them if they contain other high quality beauty/lifestyle Instagram accounts that I would normally follow anyway. I highly recommend joining one if you haven't already tried them! 

Making friends on Instagram can be so important, because without them it can feel like a bit of a lonely place. When I became shadow banned the first time round I felt so deflated, so it made the world of difference when a bunch of girls from one of my pods spent the entire evening (a friday night!) researching different methods to try to get me unbanned, trying literally hundreds of hashtag tests and just generally cheering me up! I find that commenting on peoples Insta stories and posts can really help when trying to make new friends, which leads me onto my next point ...

Interact (outside of pods)

It sounds really obvious but liking and commenting on as many photos as possible will boost your engagement, as well as helping you to make friends. On an average weekday I'll try to do a 30 minute scroll of my feed twice (once on the way to work, and once on the way home), and I'll like and comment on as many posts as I can in that time. I'll try not to force comments, because that can actually be a bit spammy, so if I don't actually have anything to say about a post I'll just skip it. It's a nice feeling when someone leaves a sweet or relevant comment on my posts, so I like to spread that positivity around. 

In addition to commenting on posts on my feed, I'll also try to do a hashtag search a few times a day, and like posts from there. Often I'll like someones post on a hashtag page, and they will in turn check out my page and like a photo, and sometimes they'll even follow me! I find that this technique is particularly helpful when you are shadow banned, as it will bring new traffic to your page. 

Think carefully about your content

I put A LOT of effort into my Instagram account, especially when it comes to planning out my feed. I like to use the app UNUM for previewing upcoming posts and for working out the order that I should post them. It's basically a mockup version of an Instagram grid, but only you can see it. Because I work full-time, I pre-shoot my Instagram content at the weekend, which means I am able to plan the week ahead in advance. I'll always save my favourite photos for Wednesday and Sunday evenings, which are my best times for engagement, and I'll post my least favourite on a Friday or Saturday night. You can discover your best engagement times by switching to a business account and viewing your analytics. 

Recently I've discovered that thinking more carefully about my caption can make a big difference. If I ask a question I get so many more comments then if I just write a simple statement, and the same applies when I take the time to write about my day, or my life in general. It's a small step that can really help when battling the algorithm. 

Good Things Take Time

I know, this is the most frustrating piece of advice to receive, it's the sort of thing your dad might say to you when you failed your Karate exam and you're bawling your eyes out and wailing that you want to quit RIGHT NOW. The reason I decided to include it (asides from the fact that it's true) is because I hear so much chatter about "the way things used to be" in the blogosphere, which just seems to spark unhelpful bitterness. We would all love for Instagram to go back to the way it used to be, when there was no algorithm and you could take a grainy iPhone snap of your new MAC lipstick, whack a Valencia filter on it and get better engagement than you do now ... but it wont change, and longing for it to wont going to make any difference. 

If you think about it, when was the last time you heard any successful person in any field say "Actually, it was really easy"? Instagram is certainly making it harder and harder to grow an account, but it is still possible.

I hope that this post is in someway helpful to those of you that are stuck in a rut! Let me know which techniques you have been using to grow your account.


p.s - a little disclaimer - I have never and will never buy followers or engagement, I also don't partake in following and unfollowing accounts for growth, or any other "cheat" methods that you can think of. 

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