Sometime last week, when I woke up and checked on my instagram app like I always do every morning, I noticed something was definitely wrong. The first post I was looking at was the same photo I have liked the night before. Then I thought to myself, has everyone stopped instagramming? Is my wi-fi dead? Is my phone broken? Oh, the horror!
When I scrolled down, I noticed that there were more recent photos below the first few. That was when I realised that #instagramchanges has happened. Most of us, including me, freaked out when we first heard the news about the upcoming change, and everyone posted to encourage their followers to turn on notifications. Hours and days later, we realised how silly and annoying it was to have notifications every time someone post a photo.
Now that the change has actually happened, we should start planning our survival strategy (in the insta world) , and stop wasting our time complaining about it. These are the things that I plan to do to overcome the Instagram algorithm change in 2016.
As an Account
1. Post quality content. Everytime.
Unless you’re as famous as the Kardashians, low quality contents are not going to gain a lot of likes and new followers. I have two separate accounts, my blog account and personal account. I don’t care how many followers I get on my personal account, so I don’t really pay attention on the visual aspects of the photos I post on it. It’s there as my photographic journal, documenting my baby’s milestones, family time, my friends, food I eat and places I go to. My blog account, however, have to be carefully curated. I even pre-post the photos on VSCO cam to see how they look like. I won’t post a photo unless they look right for the account. So if your intention is to gain followers and likes, no more low light, blurry and messy backgrounds for your photos, and always be consistent.
2. Be Consistent
Consistency is very important on instagram. If you look at some of the popular instagram accounts, these people or businesses are focusing on a certain topic, skill or style. Decide on the niche group you’re trying to approach (i.e, your target market). After posting different topics for a while on my account (party, stationery, planner, travel, sometimes personal), I’ve decided to make @designisyay to be an account where people can find printables and inspiration for their desk and workspace. That includes stationery, planners, desk accessories, cards and mail, happy mail that just arrived and desk drinks and snacks. What I post doesn’t have to change that much, I just have to alter the angle of the story I’m trying to tell. Being consistent gives me a lot of wins. I don’t need to buy too many props, I already have a back drop that’s perfect for the photos – my desk, the hashtags are always the same/similar, and ever since my account became more consistent, I gain followers faster and received more likes!
3. Collaborate & Feature
The key to a successful insta business account is collaboration, always have been, and always will be. I get most of my followers from having accounts with bigger number of followers re-posting my images. It is even more crucial now than ever for you to collaborate with other instagrammers, bloggers or brands, and to get your images re-grammed by them. If you’re too shy to approach big brands and accounts, find other instagrammers with similar number of followings as yours to collaborate. For example, I would love to collaborate with creative bakers in making frosted cookies with my design on them. The two of us can then take photos of these cookies in our own styles, post them on insta and tag each other! If you’re an illustrator, you can probably create an illustrated version of a popular dessert or fashion items. Don’t forget to tag the business/brand name, and if they like what you’ve created, they’ll re-post your creation on their account!
Hashtags are tedious, but they get you discovered, even for a short while. After finding your niche, research on the hashtags that your target audience use the most. They might not be something as straightforward as #stationery #donuts #beauty. Some hashtags, such as #flatlayforever, #abmlifeiscolorful, #thatsdarling, are so popular that people browse these hashtags a lot. However, do remember that you need to respect these hashtags, and never post anything rude, NSFW (unless the hashtag is meant for that purpose), offensive or anything that doesn’t have anything to do with the purpose of these hashtags.
4. Comment and like, but be genuine about it
Comment and like on photos from accounts that you actually like, and willing to follow. Don’t comment or like on other people’s photos just to get them to like you back. Be genuine about your opinions, because it does show when you’re just there for the likes.
As a Follower
As a follower, I also experience the downside of instagram changes. I miss a lot of posts by accounts I follow, and they are usually the good ones. I have turned off notifications on all of the accounts I’m following, because notifications are annoying and distracting. What I do now is checking back on the accounts that I remember. It’s understandable for you not to remember all the accounts that you’re following, but just like old friends, they do pop up every now and then in your mind. So don’t forget to check them out and see how they’re doing once in a while!
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