If you’ve come here looking for a long ranting post about how bad Instagram has got, then congratulations! You’ve come to the right place.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about and are wondering why I’d have an issue with Instagram then I’m glad you’re oblivious but you need to crawl out from under that rock and see the light.
Instagram is a mess.
I can’t put it any other way.
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From being on Twitter, I’ve seen that pretty much every other blogger is in the same boat as I am. Our engagement is low, our likes are low, our feed is messed up and our hashtags don’t work.
I’ve been an Instagram user for probably 5 years now and I’ve had my fair share of accounts but my last account before my current account, did really well. I had 1.5k followers, really high engagement and that was without hashtags or the bare minimum number of hashtags. And I loved Instagram. I was addicted to posting and would document my life on there. It became somewhat of a diary but as I grew out of my fandom days, I told my followers I wouldn’t be posting anymore and logged out.
I created my new account last year and started from scratch. It’s been a long hard slog to get to where I am and I was cruising around 1.4k in September last year but then that started to drop. Despite posting daily. My engagement took a nosedive and with my feed no longer being in chronological order, I stopped using Instagram so often.
Now, I love photography and I work hard on my photos (believe it or not) and I love scrolling through my feed to see how I’ve improved but when I don’t get recognition for that because Instagram’s app DOESN’T FREAKING WORK.
Oh, and do you know what’s even worse?
They BANNED certain hashtags.
114,000 to be exact.
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Yes, I do somewhat agree because this helps control the content that appears so extremist and other radicalist content isn’t so easily spread BUT WHY THE HELL IS #BEAUTYBLOGGER A BANNED HASHTAG?
But do you know what’s not blocked? #fashionblogger.
THERE IS NO LOGIC IN BLOCKING ONE BLOGGING HASHTAG AND NOT ANOTHER!
I lost it when I saw that. I really did.
I’ve always said that Instagram never drives traffic to my blog and it probably never will do but that’s not the point. I take photos, work hard on them and then post them to get some form of recognition (likes) that adds to a ‘social standing’ that brands look at when they want to work with me.
Me and many other creators do not tirelessly work on our photos and Instagram feeds to be told by Instagram that we can no longer connect with our audience because hey, #beautyblogger or #woman IS NO LONGER A FUNCTIONING HASHTAG.
BUT #MAN IS STILL WORKING.
I apologise for the caps locks but can you see my issue?
You just can’t make this shit up.
I don’t really think this is fair, is it? pic.twitter.com/CzhuJXuGjY
— Melanie 💛 (@melaniewithaie) February 24, 2018
And that’s not the only issue. Our feeds are out of order. I remember when posts were listed chronologically. I never used to see posts from 6 days ago at the top of my feed. I would see EVERYONE’S post. Not just the ones Instagram thinks I want to see.
Every blogger and their dog has complained about the ‘Instagram Algorithm’ and so many people turn around and say “oh just work harder” or “keep at it”.
We are fighting against a system that doesn’t want to work for it’s users. WE are not the ones who should have to be working hard to find out what we can and can’t do. Instagram created their app so users could upload and share their photos with the world. That’s ALL we should have to do! If you really create an app to make it easy to share photos with a wide audience, don’t make it a god damn guessing game to work out how to actually get that content seen.
I know there’s no coherence in this post but it makes me angry. And yes, ask me why I care so much about likes and follows but when you put content out into the public domain that you WORKED HARD ON and ARE PROUD OF, you want people to engage with it and like it and share it.
So is there ANYTHING you can do to boost your engagement again or at least keep it steady?
Well, yes and no. You will never beat the computer programming of a multi-billion dollar corporation that ultimately will control how you use the app in order for them to make the most money or keep a good reputation/not get into hot water with the content on their platform.
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As the internet faces rising pressure from governments to tighten controls on what is and isn’t allowed to be posted, there is always that risk that computers will misinterpret content but when tags as mundane and innocent as #desk and brand tags are blocked, it goes past safety and into the controlling zone.
If you truly want to keep using Instagram for your blog, good luck to you. I am considering coming away from it and not posting anymore. My engagement is depressing me somewhat to the point it feels like a reflection of how hard I work or how valued I am.
But my first tip would be plug your account like hell. Promote it on Twitter, your blog, Facebook… make sure you have ACTIVE followers that want to see your content because we can no longer rely on hashtags to put our content in front of an audience.
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If you want to still use hashtags, then there is a way that you can check if they work.
Go to Instagram and search for a tag and when you find it and click on it, go to the RECENT tab. If it shows photos, then it’s OK to use. If it displays the below message, then it’s been blocked.
This is the only way to check.
There is no long list to do the hard work for you. But I do suggest making a list in a notes app of all the ones that do work for you and sticking to those. Perhaps find 30 that are very general but fit your niche and stick to those for every post. That’s what I plan to do and if that doesn’t work for me? Well, I guess it’s bye bye Instagram.
I want to know what problems you’re having with Instagram and if you have any solutions to share with people.
Lots of Love,