It’s the one social media app that has bloggers and influencers flapping about and scratching their head trying to figure out just where it all started to go downhill and what they can do to claw back the good old days where likes, comments and followers came so freely.
I set up my Instagram account probably around 4 years ago and gained my first few thousand followers fairly easily (it was a whole different game back then). Real followers that didn’t unfollow just days later. Engagement was probably at its highest ever (for me personally) – I’d hit 500 likes easy and my Instagram feed was pretty basic back then too. But the blogging game was nothing like it is today and pretty Insta feeds were almost non existent; in fact, Tumblr was the go to place to lust over Acne Studio knitwear and magazine-esque imagery. With the ever growing popularity of blogging and a new route for millennials to express themselves creatively and even earn a few dollar here and there, there was always going to be a halt and shift in dynamics which has caused a little panic in the blogging world.
So what’s changed?
Pretty much everything has changed on Instagram recently… The algorithm, Insta stories, Insta ‘live’ (damn Facebook), the new ‘save feature’. But surely these are things that should be helping us reach out to more of our followers and increase engagement? The short answer is no. If it did, I wouldn’t see so many people shouting out about how bad engagement is lately. It got me wondering why…
Reflecting on my own Insta scrolling habits, it’s quite obvious that I can see why engagement has dropped. When I scroll through my Insta feed, 9 out of 10 images are a well thought out flat lays, a bloggers #ootd, a regram of a bloggers #ootd, a sassy quote & an overly exposed facetuned whitened building or a bedroom goals picture of some sort. I’ve personally become numbed to pretty imagery and stylish outfits. Everything is so overdone now, that I rarely like and comment on images purely because nothing screams out to me anymore – not like they used to on Tumblr anyway.
The fact of the matter is, Google tells me that there are over 500 million active users now on Instagram. People are following more people than ever RN & evidently, peoples feed’s are watered down & peoples lives are getting busier & busier, to the point where they don’t have the time to see every snap thats uploaded by the 498 people they’re following. Engagement is down across the board, not just for bloggers, but even for celebs too and the reasons I mentioned above have a hell of a lot to do with it.
The numbers game.
My twitter feed is flooded with people so frustrated with loosing followers on IG. Not reaching at least 100 likes on their last IG image is first world problems at its finest. I know how irritating it is, I’m too crying out and annoyed with lack of engagement. Recently, I’ve come to learn that there really is more in life than hitting a certain number of likes within the first hour. And more importantly, I know I’m guilty for swiping through my feed mentally liking and commenting on images instead of double tapping my finger or taking the time out to write a 3 word minimum comment + emoji to be supportive. I just don’t have the time. We don’t need numbers on a picture to make ourselves feel good! This unrealistic need for approval and acknowledgment from strangers needs to be put behind us. You know you look fly in that brand spankin’ new outfit, 12,343 likes or not.Just think of how many views one of your blog posts gets… 350 page views doesn’t necessarily equal 350 comments. So many people observe, read, mentally like and relate without letting you know and this is without a doubt the same with Instagram.
Back to Basics.
I’ve tossed and turned at night, I’ve even felt crappy and demotivated in recent months, all because of Instagram. I meet my photographer to shoot looks purely for Instagram and not for my blog. This being because I was putting all my emphasis on making my feed ‘goals’ and adhering to my greyed out theme. But why should I let an app, yes… an APP dictate how I feel and produce content for something that started out so true? I’m guilty for spending more time being an ‘Influencer’ and I’ve neglected my blog for quite some time, only posting content when really necessary.
What I’ve realised I need to do, is bring back more of my original blogging habits, before Instagram became the centre of my universe. I need to start writing more blog posts and talking about things again so people can read what I’ve got to say & in turn, hopefully come back for more – real engagement!!
Lets hope this shift in dynamics brings out the real engagement from everyone and not just likes/comments brought about by engagement groups.
How do you feel about the changing world of Instagram? Do you feel its a dying platform, or do you still think it’s thriving? Leave me a comment or tweet me at @FashernablyLate