I’m assuming you’ve read the title of this post and clicked it because I must be the only person in the blogging community that is openly saying they’re having a love affair with Instagram right now. Well I am, and I am not ashamed of my current love. This is even stranger for those words to be leaving my mouth as 6 weeks ago I wasn’t posting on the platform as I hated it, I hated it more than my ex and I wanted to kick it in the balls – yes, Instagram is male FYI. So, how have I managed to fall back in love with it and grow my following? It’s kinda simple really. Although I shall make a quick disclaimer regarding growing my following; my following still isn’t huge, and to be frank I have only gained around 70-80 followers in the last 2-3 weeks, which isn’t an amazing amount. However compared to my losing 2-3 followers a day previously then the gain figure is actually quite good.
This is going to sound very harsh; I have unfollowed around 100 accounts recently. Don’t hate me, I wasn’t playing games I promise. The reasoning behind the great unfollowing of 2017 is that a lot of the accounts weren’t active anymore and also that many of them just didn’t interest me anymore either. For example, some accounts moved in to child/parenting content and as I don’t have children they’re just not relevant to me at this stage in my life. Accounts that I previously followed as beauty ones have now moved to lifestyle and I don’t like their lifestyle content for whatever reason. It’s not that I am being mean by unfollowing them, but what is the point in following an account I am never going to like or engage with?
By clearing out my Instagram closet I have made way for lots of lovely newness and I am seeing less of the type of pictures I want to skip over. I’ve also mass unfollowed a whole lot of brand accounts; I’m on Instagram for content created by my peers, not to be full scale marketed to. The same goes for the accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers – yes their content is stunning, but a lot of it is undisclosed ads, a life that’s not relevant to me or makes me unhappy about my own feed/life. I can manage to make myself feel bad, I don’t need a hand in doing so.
This most certainly does not mean playing the follow/unfollow game or following loads of accounts with the hope that they follow me back.No, it means taking my Instagram old school. Half the reason no one is getting many (if any at all) new and engaged followers is because no one is following new accounts. We can’t sit here waiting for new followers when everyone else is sat doing the same. We need to go and follow accounts, bring the joy of Instagram back for ourselves and for others. Don’t just expect people to follow you because you have nice pictures and witty captions, no one is going to follow anyone if we’re not following people ourselves – we’ll just end up stuck in this crappy situation we are in now.
To counteract the Intstagram stale mate I have been on the search for new accounts and I’ve managed to find some absolute gems, plus I have being loving clicking the follow button – it’s a bit of a novelty still for me. To help find new accounts I like to see who people I like follow, then finding new accounts that way. If I am following someone for their content, the chances are I’m going to like who they’re following too.
Dont be afraid to hit that follow button.
I think that half the reason I fell out of love with Instagram was that I was seeing perfection in people’s images and always wishing they were mine. So I have changed my style. Yup, you heard that right. Don’t get me wrong I adore my monochrome style and vibe, but it was holding me back from posting more lifestyle pictures or pictures taken out and about. Yes, I could have just got rid of my ‘theme’ altogether but my aesthetic is all about things working together and ‘matching’ so giving up a theme was never going to work for me and I would likely have ended up even unhappier with the platform and my place on it.
I’ve decided to take whatever pictures I want, add the same VSCO filter/edits to the pictures and see if that gives it enough of a theme to appease my inner matching demons, and it seems to be so far. My feed has brightened up and become a little more relaxed. I have seen a little more engagement and I have had some lovely comments on my new style. Most importantly though it’s given me the ability to add the insta back in to my Instagram game, and to stop curating my feed so much.
Eff the (harshly curated) theme
OK, so not so much of a strategy but a schedule. Previously I was posting 2-3 times a day and I was breaking my back to keep creating images, which took the fun out of it for me. So now I only post once a day. I keep my posting to a (kinda) schedule too, week days I post at around 7.30am after I have gotten ready for work, then around 9am on weekends. It keeps me in check and I know what I am meant to be posting and when.
In terms of a strategy I have found less is more. Previously I was spending ages at a time on the platform liking and commenting, and saw little to no difference. Now I spend around 15 minutes on a morning, 15 minutes at lunch and 15-30 minutes on an evening liking, commenting and searching for new accounts (sometimes I skip evenings if I am busy). I catch up with all my faves of a morning, at lunch time I use the ‘Following’ (slide across from your notifications) to see what others are up to, find new accounts, like and comment. I avoid just liking 1 picture too, as people tend to think it’s a bot nowadays, so I like a few images on a persons feed which basically says ‘Hey I am not a bot, come say hi back’.
By stopping solely engaging with people I follow has helped me to renew my love of the platform and for people to find me too.