I’m definitely not the only one with a love-hate relationship with Instagram. In so many ways, the platform is amazing, providing inspiration and opportunity to anybody with a smartphone. However, it’s also become a source of great frustration! Especially for micro-influencers.
The constantly changing algorithm is gradually shrinking influencer exposure, reducing the number of people that see your content down to a trickle. It’s estimated that posts are now only shown to about 10% of your followers. But even to reach 10% or above, you have to follow certain rules of engagement.
Rules? Yes, rules. Anything from how much you engage, to the relationships you build to the frequency of posts, comments and replies. It all gets tallied up and mishmashed into the algorithm to give you more or less of said elusive exposure.
Whether Instagram is actually trying to make improvements or just being a dick, the jury is still out. From where I’m sitting, it just encourages more annoying influencer bad habits. Such as, following just for the sake of getting more followers back or joining engagement groups in order to ‘beat the algorithm’ and maximize exposure, as more organic methods take hit after hit.
I’m not saying I’m innocent. I’m trying to work out how to best grow my account like the rest of you. Post better content, content, yes we’ve heard it a million times already. But we all know that good content alone doesn’t cut it. Anyway, here’s me ranting about why I love and hate Instagram, and what I think we should do about it…
I Love Instagram
I love scrolling through hundreds of photos and hitting love love love sending love to everyone all around the world. To all these beautiful people in beautiful places sharing their beautiful moments. It’s flipping fantastic.
As a blogger, it helps me in so many ways. Although my passion is writing my blog, my photos make people interested in the stories behind them! So the more followers I get, the more people are discovering Miss Portmanteau and clicking through to read my blog.
It was also Instagram that took me over the 5k threshold, which is a requirement for many brands to work with you, opening up new opportunities for collaborations and sponsorships. There is serious, real money to be made as you grow to 10k, 50k, 100k, etc. But even at 5k, the platform opened doors that were otherwise closed.
I made friends! I’m part of a wonderful supportive community on there. Likeminded people that have got to know me, who I’ve got to know, through nothing more than our captions and captures.
And like my blog, the act of posting regularly on a public forum has also helped me to improve my photography! I’m taking more photos because of the platform and better photos, as practice really does make perfect.
But I Also Hate Instagram
I hate the follow-unfollowers, cringe face, where it doesn’t even matter if I follow back or not. It’s annoying as hell! But I understand it… How else can your account be discovered? Following new people is still one of the key ways to grow, and you simply can’t follow everyone back. But unfollowing indiscriminately is still not cool, ok.
The engagement game, where you’re expected to engage back with everyone who engages with you. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Where you get what you give. Rather than getting comments and likes from people who actually want to, they mostly come from people who want something in return, and vice versa, which is, let’s face it, a bit shit.
Instagram bots and pods that all the big accounts use and I mean all. Anyone with a business page is getting in on the pods to get as many likes and comments within the alleged golden hour of posting, which I totally get, but is it authentic? If real engagement is what we’re all after, isn’t that kind of, pointless?
That pesky apocalyptic algorithm that keeps changing so that less and less of your real followers can see your posts as it pursues its end goal of getting us all to pay for exposure on the platform. And the sad thing is that now even random people (and not only those with a business) are spending their money to boost their posts on the gram like, just to inflate their egos?
The monotony of the home and discover pages and how they’ve morphed from a mix of authentic and eclectic images to a highly curated, highly edited, highly scripted barrage of copycat professionals.
People thinking that their influence means more than it does, and people only in it for the freebees. These are the poeple who are actually ruining the reputation of the influencer industry, jumping on the bandwagon without a clue what they’re doing, and doing it for all the wrong reasons.
A Plea for Change!
One of my biggest insta-pet peeves is that part of the reason why so many influencers take the same, identical photos is because that’s what gets the most likes! It’s a vicious cycle. We all like the Eiffel Tower, and wearing a red dress pops on the screen, but if it’s already been done, please, for the love of god, do something else!
If we keep liking every tenth or 100th picture of the Eiffel Tower with a girl in a red dress, guess what, that’s what we’re gonna see. So if we want to see more originality on Instagram, it’s up to us to encourage it.
The likes, the follows and the comments, these are our tools. These three little actions are the makers and breakers of influencers. It doesn’t have to be trivial. If only we all start using them more authentically.
What do you think about Instagram? What are some of your Insta-pet peeves?
Featured Image Photo Credit: Tofros.com from Pexels