One thing I have been looking at more recently is whether there is a right or wrong way to be ‘doing’ Instagram. The platform that is so creative and allows people to even set up businesses, yet is run completely on the ever frustrating algorithm system. I think we could all raise a hand at the amount of times we have either gotten a shadow ban, found our engagement at an all time low, or just felt like jacking it all in because Instagram has just got you pulling your hair out.
I never really used to bother looking at my engagement. Its that whole “You shouldn’t get too caught up on numbers” argument which is what I found myself naturally doing. I was posting content and I couldn’t care. However with me wanting to go into social media for a career, and because of working with more brands, I have realised that actually you do have to care. Not to the point it gets obsessive, but brands will want to work with you on a regular basis if you engagement is good. Its pretty much a given. If you aren’t reaching people then why should a brand work with you? That being said, if you engagement isn’t high, it’s not the be all and end all. There are very simple ways to improve your engagement without getting too overwhelmed or stressed about it.
My engagement fluctuates SO MUCH. One day my post could reach 12,000 people and the next day it could reach 1000 people. And sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to that it is simply just down to Instagram. Sometimes when I put out a new post which is very different to my usual style, my reach will be better. Does this mean people like the unexpected or the unique? Or was it simply down to the algorithms? Its one of those even the experts are still trying to figure out. However these next few steps might take you in the right direction to slowly push up those numbers and find out where you are going wrong. All of this being said though, my likes never really vary in correlation to my engagement.
Instagram is such a saturated market. Thats not just aimed at the blogging community, or the skin care community, or the Mum pages of Instagram. Instagram has however many billion accounts on it all creating and posting content. You have to compete. Although its sad and however much we love #communityovercompetition you have to make content people will want to see. What does your content give that makes yours better? What do you do different? Whether thats using a fancy camera, using your own preset, or your niche of content. Or for a brand this might be increasing the amount of user generated content that you reshare.
I know there is always that debate about how frequent you should post. Whether one post is too little or if two posts is too much. I have been increasing my post frequently lately. If I post a photo or video to my feed to create more of an aesthetic I will then also post another image on top. I usually post in the morning and then evening if I double post to spread them out a bit. But it hits those two key engagement times and you can see what types of posts people are enjoying. But also people only see on average posts from 30% of the people they are following so there is a higher chance you will be seen from multiple posts. This also includes posting regularly to stories for people to see your BTS content which is more engaging than a feed post.
This is something I have been doing my own little experiment on. It is super important to use hashtags, and you get 30 hashtags on each post – any more and Instagram will block the hashtags. But sometimes, no matter how long you spend researching your hashtags before each post, often you get that little ‘Hashtags 38’ on your insights and you are like ‘WHAT???’. So there is two ways of looking at this. One might be because of the frequency of those hashtags. Do you use the same on each post? Or is there a few you repeatedly use? Instagram will see this as spammy – so make sure to really specifically tailor your hashtags around your posts.
Another way is from inorganic hashtags. Now I have been using ones like #l4l or #likeforlike on my posts over the last few weeks to see what it does for my engagement. And I can safely say the more I have been using them the fewer people I reach from hashtags. So it goes to show that hashtags like that aren’t doing your page any good. Experiment done and checked.
Finally something I cannot stress enough is to make your reach organic. DO NOT buy likes, or buy followers or increase your reach through the means of these. They just don’t work. Instagram is getting more clever at spotting pages with bots on. They might block your actions, or restrict them for up to a week. Also instagram goes through stages of ‘clearing out bots’. Ever see your followers drop drastically overnight? Or have a period of people unfollowing you more than they are following you?
This is sometimes down to instagram inactivating bot accounts. So the more you buy the more your reach will be over the place. This is the same for the ‘unfollow/follow’ method. This really grinds my gears as often I catch people out when they request to follow my personal account. Organic reach is also very beneficial in the long run!
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