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Stop Shit-Talking the Algorithm, and Start Doing These 4 Things on Instagram

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Once upon a time, Instagram consisted of caption-less photos and crazy filters. Today, it serves as a strategic marketing tool with a powerful impact.

People utilize the platform to showcase their skills, sell their services, and ultimately enhance their influence.

Instagram can help you land jobs, gain more customers, and increase visibility in your desired market.

Sounds pretty great, right? What could be wrong with a platform that helps you succeed for free? Well, apparently everything.

First, there’s the god-forsaken algorithm. Your followers aren’t seeing your posts in their feeds, and your engagement is suffering as a result.

Next, there’s the follow-unfollow game. You’re starting to finally see progress in your follower count, only to find that many of your recent followers are proceeding to hit that “unfollow” button just days later.

Finally, there’s the competition. You’re doing your best to grow your influence, yet you keep getting discouraged by huge Insta-bloggers who seem to have everything handed to them on a silver platter.

Oh, and you’re positive that some of those big bloggers totally bought their followers. You’re not jealous – it’s just unethical and unfair.

Okay, here’s the deal. Yes, these Instagram struggles are completely valid and frustrating. They can even lead you to second-guess your goals, as you consider whether or not it’s all worth it.

However, why not channel that negative energy toward the aspects that you can change?

With an adjusted mindset and redirected efforts, you might discover that growing on Instagram isn’t quite the train wreck you thought it was.

Rather than getting caught up in the complaining game, here are 4 ways to successfully “show up” on Instagram:

1. Bump up the value.

    The algorithm might be partly to blame for your lack of likes, but you’re also not entirely helpless.

    Forget about your feed’s visual appeal for a moment, and focus on what it offers.

    Are you solving a problem? Are you providing a resource? Are you helping others in any way, shape, or form?

    There’s a reason that “blogging about blogging” has recently skyrocketed in popularity. That type of content is extremely valuable.

    It touches on common pain points, offers tangible solutions, and provides bloggers with the encouragement they need to succeed.

    This doesn’t mean that you have to share blogging tips in order to grow. However, it does mean that you must provide something that your target audience needs.

    If you’re a fashion blogger, go beyond posting your outfit with a generic caption. Start sharing your personal experiences with a new brand or clothing item. Offer a specific tip for modifying a certain outfit to work well in varying settings.

    If you’re a beauty blogger, don’t just say that you’re “obsessed” with a certain product. Talk about how it made you feel before and afterward, and how it can help your followers. Ask your followers to share a life-changing product of their own, and respond to every comment.

    The algorithm might be working against you, but you do have the power to put your best content out there. Make sure that you’re taking full advantage of that.

    2. Focus on serving the audience that you DO have.

      Instead of stressing over your lack of growth, re-focus your attention toward your current followers.

      Once you understand what your audience is responding to, gaining followers becomes a lot less complicated.

      Test the waters with a photo that strays from your usual style. Maybe they’ll hate it, or maybe they’ll love it.

      Poll your audience on their favorite topics to read, or present a potential blog topic and gauge their interest.

      Tease blog posts with a related question sticker, and measure the level of involvement.

      Take notice of which topics are resonating with your audience, and start bringing them back in new and exciting ways.

      When your audience is authentically interested in your content, it helps you maintain and grow a “real” following.

      This means less of the randos and soon-to-be-unfollowers, and more people who are truly here for what you have to say.

      3. Find your sweet spot.

        Having trouble connecting on Instagram, because it seems too shallow or sales-y?

        Try digging a little deeper into your niche. Make your hashtags more specific, and start exploring.

        Go beyond “business owner” and start finding business owners who specifically target creatives.

        Look past “blogger” and connect with people who primarily cover sustainable living.

        Whatever your focus or goal may be, it can take some time to truly uncover that realm on Instagram.

        Take your time to browse relevant accounts and observe who they’re speaking to. Connect with people who follow accounts that are similar to yours.

        When you finally find that “sweet spot,” Instagram just might become less of a clusterfuck and more of an actual network.

        4. Give personality peeks. 

          As a writer, it’s safe to say that my posts can get a little deep and wordy. Therefore, I make sure to balance things out with some savagery.

          Amidst the motivational quotes and advice for personal growth, my Instagram stories will showcase a sarcastic tweet or a ridiculous media pitch I received.

          I also make sure to share tidbits of my personality, in order to help my followers feel like they truly know me. Otherwise, I’m nothing but a robot spitting out wisdom.

          I reveal myself as a super cynical yet sweet 20-something, with a passion for helping others succeed in their career or business.

          And honestly, people are all about it. Since throwing my personality into the mix, I’ve made much stronger connections with my current followers.

          Keeping them engaged via Instagram story has led to more DMs from prospective collaborators or clients, as well as more direct traffic to my blog.

          My personality keeps things interesting (I hope), while my content provides a specific service.

          Gaining trust in your business might take time, but your distinct attributes are just as important as your skillset.

          Sometimes it’s less about standing out from the crowd, and more about bringing some much-needed realness to the table.

          20 Comments Add a Comment?



          Posted on Feb. 10, 2019, 3:07 a.m.

          Love your advice! It's so important to serve the audience you have! A smaller, engaged audience is better than a large one that isn't into it. And showing your personality is such an important part of building a genuine brand ?. Your tips are all awesome ????. Appreciate it!



          Posted on Feb. 11, 2019, 4:26 a.m.

          I love these tips! I am trying to up my instagram game this year so I'll keep these in mind! Thanks for sharing!


          Megan McKay

          Posted on Feb. 11, 2019, 4:50 a.m.

          Such great tips! Thank you for sharing!



          Posted on Feb. 11, 2019, 8:43 a.m.

          These are great advice. Especially making a true connection, I always struggle with that bur once I do it's totally worth it. Thanks for the reminder!


          Madi Dearson

          Posted on Feb. 11, 2019, 10:05 a.m.

          The title of this post had me smiling already:) these are some really great tips and a lot to think about. I love the "find your sweet spot" tip. We each need to find our own way to use this platform, keep it authentic. Thanks for a great post.



          Posted on Feb. 12, 2019, 12:57 a.m.

          Yes girl! You are so totally right - love your advice here, and will be sharing this post around for sure.



          Posted on Feb. 12, 2019, 6:42 a.m.

          Awesome tips. I hate the follow/unfollow tactics but I’ve learned not to follow them back...big discrepancy in their followers/following numbers is a red flag...and let them pop in and out. I like your suggestions for keeping it real and letting personality shine through.



          Posted on Feb. 12, 2019, 1:27 p.m.

          This is very helpful as the algorithm seems to always be changing, thank you for these tips!



          Posted on Feb. 14, 2019, 1:53 p.m.

          Great advice! I can't keep up with the algorithm changes these days but this has been really useful info thanks!


          Katie Werthmann

          Posted on Feb. 14, 2019, 5 p.m.

          Great ideas, love a good cynic!


          Abby | theMomCorner

          Posted on Feb. 14, 2019, 7:34 p.m.

          Yasss! You can't change the algorithm. You can only work on your own stuff, do the best you can with what you have, and be willing to learn what works and what doesn't. Thanks for sharing!


          Jenn Summers

          Posted on Feb. 17, 2019, 12:50 p.m.

          I’m just getting back on Instagram and you have given me much to think about. Thanks for the great read.


          Chronically Caffeinated Mom

          Posted on Feb. 18, 2019, 12:47 a.m.

          This is great! That damn algorithm aside, these are some solid tips to get back in the game and cater to the followers I do have. Sometimes I think we care more about numbers than our actual followers, which defeats the whole purpose of social media!



          Posted on Feb. 18, 2019, 2:17 p.m.

          Loved this! I think it's easy to blame Algorithms ( they are quite problematic) but we also need to take charge and do better.


          Jodi Graham

          Posted on Feb. 18, 2019, 4:22 p.m.

          Thanks so much for these tips! We tend to focus too much on finding new followers and increasing our numbers, and neglect those people already following and interested in us...! I'm also guilty of not showing enough personality...thanks for the reminder ;)



          Posted on Feb. 18, 2019, 10:41 p.m.

          Thanks for this. Growing my instagram list is something I'm trying to focus on. I'm happy to see an increase in engagement, but it's tough to stay the course when others keep shouting about numbers.



          Posted on Feb. 19, 2019, 2:37 a.m.

          Thank you for this! I am new to Instagram and need all the help I can get! Never thought I would ever use it but now that I am a blogger I get quite a bit of attention from it.


          Style 608 by Ashley Anderson

          Posted on Feb. 20, 2019, 6:50 p.m.

          Great content! I will be coming back to these tips frequently. Thank you!


          Emily Mahr

          Posted on Feb. 21, 2019, 2:41 a.m.

          These are phenomenal tips, very detailed. Thank you!


          Ticking Time Momb

          Posted on March 7, 2019, 2:57 p.m.

          So needed to read this today! Thank you for your advice. I've been so frustrated with Instagram. I will definitely be using these tips to improve my page. Thank you for sharing????

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