Have you been feeling like you aren’t getting as much enjoyment out of Instagram as you used to? If so, you certainly aren’t alone. For many early adopters to the popular photo sharing platform, the last few years have been quite a bumpy ride.
Although it feels like we have been dealing with a lot of change lately, some of these updates have been expected and a long time coming. The alarm bells first sounded back in 2012 when Facebook acquired Instagram. Until then, we had been enjoying the growth of the platform, the communities we were building and the connections and friendships that came with it. There were many updates after this and it wasn’t until a few years later that the first major change took place with the removal of the chronological newsfeed.
All of a sudden we stopped seeing our favourite accounts pop up in our feeds, we freaked out and some serious FOMO set in. Morale sunk even lower with the introduction of advertising and paid promotional posts. We felt outraged, first we weren’t seeing all the content we signed up to see and now to add salt in the wound we were being served content we never wanted to see in the first place.
Those genuine connections that we cherished felt harder to find and maintain. The rise of influencers and social media entrepreneurs made us question the integrity of each post and then came the bots. These automated accounts filled our notification feeds with spammy comments and we quickly tired of the same accounts following and unfollowing us over and over again.
There is no denying it, Instagram has changed and so has our use of it. Sadly, many of us still haven’t been able to capture that same feeling of enjoyment that we used to get scrolling our feeds and sharing little snapshots of our lives. If you are in this camp, there is still hope. While you can’t resurrect the Instagram of the past you can change the way you use it now and in the future. Have a read over the following suggestions and see what you can implement now to find more joy in Instagram in 2018.
Give yourself a clean slate
Like the old saying goes, comparison is the thief of joy. The most important thing you can do this year is to give yourself a break and stop comparing your account to others. Even more importantly, please don’t compare your own account now to how it was last year or even last week. The platform is frequently updating and the algorithm constantly evolving, the true workings of which will likely forever remain a mystery. Is there any point worrying about something that you have no control over? Do yourself a favour and give yourself a clean slate this year by thinking about the present and the future rather than dwelling on the past.
Don’t look at the numbers
There are so many reasons why your numbers of followers and engagement will fluctuate over time and very few of them are meaningful in any way. If Instagram were to shut down tomorrow what would you have achieved by having a certain number next to your name or post? Next time you are obsessing about the numbers just remember - there is no magic number of likes that will make others think any differently of you. It’s time to stop focussing on external validation and look internally to find the joy that you create for yourself. Your account shouldn’t exist to please others and you should be proud of what you share even if you think no one is seeing it.
Quit trying to beat the algorithm
We are all savvy enough now to realise how easy it is to try and game the system. People who have bought fake likes or followers are easy to spot, as are those who fake engagement partaking in comment pods. While it can feel validating to receive lots of likes or comments on your posts there are no winners from manipulating the engagement on your account. Chasing these vanity metrics is ingenuine behaviour and is essentially misleading your audience. Deep down only you know the truth about your use of the platform and your integrity should never be questioned, but if you have been resorting to these tactics it can’t be making you feel good inside.
Do some housekeeping on your account
With our feeds being curated by an external algorithm it can feel quite isolating when we feel like we are missing so many of our friends and posts from our favourite accounts. With many of us having used the platform for many years it is common to find yourself questioning why certain posts that you can’t relate to pop up at the top of your feed. If you haven’t interacted with particular account in a long time, or no longer shop at an online store then why not just remove them from your feed. You don’t owe anyone anything and it is completely ok to unfollow accounts that are no longer meaningful or relevant to you. It is your feed and you are in control of what accounts you interact with so why not give your account a spring clean to help the algorithm improve your experience on the platform.
Delete that follower app
I’m just going to put it out there - nothing good can come from those apps that show you who has unfollowed your account. As previously mentioned in the intro, there are a lot of bots and ingenuine accounts out there that will follow you only to unfollow you shortly after. This is nothing to do with you, or your account they are just automated to perform certain activities and unfortunately there is a lot of them. Follower apps will only serve to make you further obsess about the numbers or make you feel bad about who is no longer following your account. If someone you like or admire unfollows your account the only thing you can do is leave your ego at the door or better yet just turn a blind eye. Your only concern should be your own use of the platform and your account, not what someone else is doing with theirs.
Be engaging and give first
If you aren’t feeling connected with your own feed, or feel like your friends are missing all of your posts the best thing you can do is amp up the engaging you do on other accounts.
As well as monitoring your activity, the algorithm will be watching who visits your profile, tags your account, watches your stories and likes and comments on your account. Be active and engage with others, leave lots of positive comments and start building new friendships. Every interaction you have and each person that reciprocates or replies will contribute to refining your algorithm and how often you appear in other feeds.
To summarise all of the above the best thing you can do moving forward on Instagram in 2018 is to focus on the things that matter. Forget your follower count, don’t question why you are getting less likes than a year ago and take back control of your own account.
For you to find joy in the platform only you matter so make sure you are focusing your time on meaningful activities. Be original and true to yourself and create quality content based on what you love, not what you think others will like. Be genuine and engage with others because you want to, not because you are hoping it will be reciprocated. Always give first and most importantly - if it doesn’t serve you or bring you joy it’s ok to change the way you do things. There is no point having a flourishing online presence if the real-life you is feeling miserable because of it.
Do you have any tips we could add to this? We’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments.