It's official: Instagram and I no longer have a relationship marked as 'it's complicated', but are fully back together again. Instagram's been ruining my life for the past year and a half-ish, with algorithm change after algorithm change stunting my growth and messing with my feed. I mean, all I want is to see the accounts I like and for my numbers to go up not down, ya know?
In the last couple of months, I've really thought about what I want out of Instagram: what I want my account to look like, what I want to see on my feed, and where things have gone wrong. And I realised that I wasn't enjoying it because none of these things were what they should have been. So I had a reality check and here's what's going on now:
1.) I'm actually engaging with other people. Who knew that engaging with others would help engagement on your own platform, eh? I used to spend ages trawling through my fave hashtags when I was really starting to get into Instagram, and somewhere along the line I stopped doing it. And my engagement dropped off. You need to give a little to get a little.
I've started going through some of my fave hashtags again (#shinyhappybloggers, #blogandbeyond, #lbloggers and #ukbloggers are pretty high up on the list right now) and actually taking a few minutes out of my day to like other peoples' photos, pop out a few comments on photos I love and actually follow new people. And my engagement has actually risen. It's gone up to what it *almost* should be, and my followers are going up too (nothing short of a miracle).
The best part of this is that I'm coming across so many new styles of photos, accounts I can obsess over and I actually feel involved in a community again.
2.) I'm creating content I enjoy. I sat down and had a stern word with myself all about my content and why it was a bit lacklustre, and why no one - including myself - was enjoying it. I realised that if I came across my account I wouldn't be interested in it, and that's what was going wrong. So, I spent a while going through my feed, and thinking about all the kinds of photos from other people that I love seeing.
Some of my favourite kinds of photos are on-the-bed style flatlays with breakfast, books opened ready to read, beauty posts with flowers in etc etc. If you look at my account at the moment, I've filled it with everything I love. It means that even if my photos get no engagement I'm still enjoying the platform because I'm actually making the content I want to create, not the 'oh I've got nothing good to post, so let's put something easy up'. I can look back on my feed and feel happy with it, not be confronted with images that I'm just not feeling.
3.) I'm being consistent, and present. Instastories is something that I've grown to absolutely adore. I definitely notice an engagement boost on days that I post on there, and I love watching them as well as creating my own. It's something that I want to do more of, and I think it helps Instagram become more of a community again. The removal of the chronological feed made everything a bit distant, and stories brings that instantaneous engagement back. I love it.
I've also been keeping up posting twice a day most of the time. I've found that this is exactly what suits me, and rolled with it.
Basically Instagram has become a happy platform for me again. I'm loving everything about it, and I can't wait to keep on creating snippets of content over there this year.