I love Instagram, and I have done since I first joined. However if I had to describe what I see most on my Twitter feed, it would definitely be related to the Instagram algorithm and it wouldn’t be positive. Every day there is someone complaining about not being seen, about missing their friend’s posts, about hating that damn algorithm and calling for change back to how it was.
In all honesty, I don’t hate it at all. I see why it was done, and in actual fact, I think it works okay for the most part.
Why I Don’t Really Care About the Algorithm
Towards the end of 2017 I made a little pact with myself that I’d try to focus more on Instagram and see if I could grow. Now my numbers are still not massive, but I’ve grown on average around 60 each month which, compared to the 10-15 I was growing previously, is pretty huge.
And you know what, engagement has grown too. I’ve been interacting with more people in my own feed, and more people in the hashtags that I search and all that has come back to me. Plus, now I get likes and comments trickling in even a few days later, whereas previously it would get posted and then completely disappear. Never to be seen again. With the chronological feed, if you weren’t online when someone you like posted, then you were likely going to miss it anyway unless you scrolled for hours on end or actively sought them out…
I feel like by focusing more on the community within Instagram, I have grown to love it even more. Yes I love getting the likes, and I love having new followers appear, but I’m not actually putting my whole self-worth into that anymore and it feels great. Back to the basics, as it were. I won’t be hopping over to Vero anytime soon, that’s for sure.
5 Reasons to Love Instagram
#1 Finding Your Community
As I mentioned above, I started engaging more with my feed. I put more effort into seeking out other people’s posts and I commented and conversed with them. I didn’t do it because I wanted a comment back off them, I did it because I actually enjoyed the photo. It made me feel something, or struck a thought that I wanted to share.
Sometimes it can feel like you are talking to nobody, but create conversations and you’ll get conversation back. There are certain hashtags that I find more interactive than others, but it all really depends on the photo you are posting. Even better, create your own hashtag for others to use. Create your own community.
#2 The Visuals
Nothing feeds my wanderlust and travel envy better than a scroll through Instagram does. Some people hate how ‘fake’ it can make life seem with everything so perfect and nice, but like… that’s what I’m here for. I used to spend most of my time on Flickr and the communities on there. We would all share photos, most often highly edited, and enjoy the things that you could create with just a camera and a bit of time and imagination. I want to see a nicely curated feed.
With all kinds of things being documented on Instagram, you really can let your creativity flow. Create a feed that is just a mixture of photographs that you like, stick to a general theme or maybe even try to go for a full on everything is the same thing theme. The main ones I can think of for the latter are symmetrybreakfast and coffeeandbooks for example. I think that seeing other people posting amazing photos helps you to think more about what you’re doing, and pushes you to get better with each photograph that you take and post.
Instagram gives me the visuals where Twitter or Facebook won’t, and that’s why I keep coming back. I love writing and blogging, but photography is where my passion for all kinds of media started.
And with those visuals, you get plenty of inspiration. Countries to visit, places to stay at, restaurants to try, clothing to buy, make up to use… The list goes on. The bookmarking tool is super helpful here. You can create different collections of photos from other people, and this is basically where I keep ‘notes’. Like I have a food section for when someone posts a meal that sounds delicious and comes with a bit of information on how to re-create. I have a home section, with beautifully decorated rooms or living areas. I have a travel section with just incredible looking places. Basically, the world is your oyster with these collections – you can create them for anything!
When the algorithm first changed, I did see mention of having a ‘faves’ collection. Place a photo from someone’s feed that you want to keep track of daily and then they’re all in an easy place to find.
#4 Watching IntaStories
When stories first appeared, I just couldn’t see the point. Why have the same as Snapchat on a totally different platform? Well, it didn’t take long before I switched over to Instagram Stories as my preferred method of sharing. For me, stories is the more personal side to Instagram. It’s for real life, and behind the scenes. I like being nosy at what people are doing each day and seeing all the raw bits that aren’t visual enough to be placed on their feeds. Because if the aesthetic matters to you, stories is perfect for those imperfect moments.
It may be coincidence, but since using stories more regularly (though still not braving the chat) and tagging things or locations, I’ve noticed a lot more people seem to come to my feed.
Sometimes I really want to write and get something off my chest, but it doesn’t quite fit into a blog post. I’m not a pen and paper diary kind of girl, so enter Instagram. Here I can post a photo and then write a little about my day, or what I’m thinking about. I personally love reading captions and that is where most of my comments will come from. A pretty photo catches my eye, but the caption and person behind it is what makes me stop and think, and react.
A lot of people seem to be micro-blogging now, and I think it’s the perfect middle-ground for those who don’t want to run an actual blog. You can write and write, without having to worry about anything else. Plus I find that the more information you give, the more people want to interact. This works especially well for those in the fitness/health communities I’ve discovered. Easy way to combine a love of writing and photography in one place without much fuss!