Why Your Instagram Reach Is Low

Here is the real reason why you might be struggling to increase your Instagram reach…

Here is the real reason why you might be struggling to increase your Instagram reach...
Reaching for that engagement…

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. 

Content Quality Is A MUST

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. 

Quantity Of Content Is KEY

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.

Hashtags and Spam Control

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. 

Organic Reach For The WIN

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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40 responses to “Why Your Instagram Reach Is Low”

  1. Elsa Razborsek says:

    Such good point Emily! I “abandoned” Instagram a couple of years ago and have been trying to grow my following back again for the past few months. Things have gotten a lot tougher! Thank you for the tips and for sharing your experiment. xx

    Elsa | ElsasChoice.com

  2. Anika May says:

    Great tips! My Instagram engagement at the moment is quite steady and a lot of it is down to engaging with other accounts and using hashtags relevant to the content I post. Also, the time of day makes a huge difference!

    Anika | chaptersofmay.com

  3. gemmaajaynee says:

    I have always struggled with Instagram and have been spending the past couple of weeks experimenting to see what works! This post was useful for me to try some new things, so thank you for the advice xx

  4. Grace says:

    These are such great tips, my Instagram is all over the place right now, I think I’m just trying to find the right hashtags!
    Grace xx

  5. I might be using the same hastags to much judging by this post. I know I’ve cut down posting everyday to just 3-4 times a week to try and help avoid this. I’m not exactly great with IG

  6. This was really interesting, thanks for sharing! I never know what to post on Instagram as a writing/book blogger with zero aesthetic sense, but I enjoy using the platform, and I’ll have to think about the advice you’ve shared here and how I might be able to apply it.

  7. Paige Eades says:

    This is such a great post; I loved reading it! Instagram is such a difficult one to master sometimes so your tips are so helpful. Your blog is beautiful by the way; just followed you on Twitter and Instagram to keep up!

    Paige // Paige Eades

  8. This is such a helpful post, Instagram is such a pain. I had to start again recently due to a hack, but it is so hard to build up that platform. Thank you for sharing these tips!

  9. Amber Page says:

    I really need to work on the quality of my photos, I have just been using throw backs since I haven’t been able to take any photos during lockdown its so frustrating that I can’t post photos of quality! Hopefully its not long til I can take normally photos again!

    Amber – The Unpredicted Page – https://theunprdictedpage.com

  10. This was such a helpful post. I don’t post as much on Instagram as I used to because I’m focussing more on Pinterest but I have noticed that engaging with other people’s posts means my own engagement goes up too. I guess it’s called social media for a reason! Lisa

  11. glowsteady says:

    There’s some really great information here. I think every single person with an account has complained about Instagram and their algorithm changes at least once before. I hear so many people talking about the pros and cons of hashtags. I can’t believe in 2020 people still think they can get away with buying likes and followers too! x


  12. These are such great tips! Organic reach on Instagram is so important. I definitely need to experiment with hash tags more!

  13. These are all great tips, Emily! I definitely struggle with posting frequently. I usually post twice a week, so I have to work on posting more often. Also, I need to research hashtags more. Thanks for sharing!

    Much love always,

  14. Thank you for sharing these tips!

  15. aimsysantics says:

    This is such a great post. Instagram canbe so hit and miss, can’t it? I want to be more on my game with instagram, but some weeks I am just not that consistant with it. Something to work on I guess. Great tips, I am going to follow these to see if I can improve my reach/engagement.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

  16. Chloe Chats says:

    These are fab tips! I’ll admit that I don’t use Instagram very much, I kind of had a month or so with it where I was really enjoying posting and then I just stopped again! I think one of the hardest things for me is knowing what to post, I don’t take many pictures and lately I have been trying to get better at that, especially to have more content for my blog too. Maybe I will use Instagram again at some point. Thanks for sharing!

    Chloe xx

    • Emily Clare says:

      Definitely go for it! Take one day at a time with it and just post! If you post what you want to you aren’t doing anything wrong!

  17. I always have such a hard time with my Instagram! I went through a period where I tried really hard to make my Instagram feed cohesive with a color scheme. While I was happy with how the feed looked, I felt that the pressure to make it cohesive took the fun out of it (and limited what outfits I could wear/where I could take photos). Now I always go back and forth between trying to have a cohesive feed and just posting what I want… Would I have more followers if my feed were cohesive? Probably. But does it sort of ruin Instagram for me? Yah. It’s such a struggle!
    Your tip about not using the same hashtags in every post is really helpful. I had never heard that before and had no idea it might appear spammy to use the same ones. Thanks for sharing!

    Miles of smiles,


    • Emily Clare says:

      I am glad you have now realised about the hashtag thing!! And yeah I agree! Trying to make it cohesive can take away the fun, but then its all about the creative process. There is a balance between making what you want and then keeping it cohesive and when you find it, its an amazing feeling!

  18. Interesting read. These are all good points. I’ve always been unsure about how much I should post, but I like your idea of doing one in the morning and one in the evening. I think I’m going to try that out. Thanks for sharing doll!!

    Des | https://www.itsbetterinheels.com

  19. Via Singh says:

    Instagram has been such a pain for me. I spend sleepless nights on that platform and still it has no pity on me. There are so many people who do things and gain followers and my account will never grow. I started my account three years ago. and still not reaching anywhere. Sometimes I feel so sad. I realized numbers are so important a couple days ago when my rewardstyle application got rejected. 🙂

    Via | https://glossnglitters.com

    • Emily Clare says:

      Firstly, please don’t get sleepless nights over it! It honestly isn’t worth the stress! But I felt the exact same as you do about a year ago. But since I have worked really hard on engaging on the platform and it has really paid off!

  20. Samuel Jah says:

    Thank you for the advice! I post what I think is quality content (2+ hours of editing per photo) and I barely scrape 20-30 likes. It makes no sense, the hashtags I’ve used never gain a single like, and it makes no sense, so I’ve quit using hashtags. @jahsunset if you’d like to see what I mean

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