Instagram seems to be the one social media platform I can’t make any progress with. I’ve nailed Twitter, cracked Pinterest but Instagram? No luck. I’ve moaned about it, I’ve considered giving up and then I decided to really give it a go.
Over the last month, I’ve tried a few different tactics to see if I could up my Instagram game.
1. Posting in the morning.
Using Tailwind’s smart schedule, I discovered the best time of morning to post would be between 8 and 9am. So, that’s what I did. Every day for two weeks.
Generally, posting in the morning is my preference, anyway. As I like my posts to have a positive theme, I think it’s a nice way for most people to start the day.
The results varied, presumably depending on content.
2. Posting in the evening.
For the last two weeks of the month, I switched to posting in the evening. The times were less specific and I uploaded whenever I felt like it. I am much more likely to browse Instagram in the evenings, and assumed others may be the same.
There wasn’t much difference in the level of engagement.
For both phases, I used Tailwind to help me find appropriate hashtags and increased the number I was including per post. While there are people who swear by using all 30, I aimed for around 15 per post. This is one side of things which didn’t seem to make a blind bit of difference – despite people consistently preaching about the importance of hashtags.
As with most platforms, this is what seemed to do the trick. By following others first, liking their pictures and leaving comments, these actions were often reciprocated.
The trouble I find with engaging on Instagram is that I can do it comfortably in my own circle. I’m happy to comment on things that pop up in my feed. Overall, I’m generous with my likes.
What trips me up is finding people beyond that to interact with. All I did was go through the hashtags I seemed to be using most and try to strike up connections. It worked with a few people, and achieved absolutely nothing with others.
I’m the first to say you don’t need an Instagram theme to be successful. Not having one doesn’t make you any less of a blogger than others. I do stand by that.
On the other hand, I feel like you need to be consistent. I didn’t feel like my feed had that quality. It was bright and fun, but I don’t think it did myself justice, or my blog. I put so much effort into everything I do, but I felt my lack of enthusiasm for Instagram was starting to reflect in my pictures. This comes down to being my own harshest critic, I realise, as it’s not something I’d see if I looked at someone else’s feed.
I did have a few lovely comments about this from blogging buddies who told me they really liked it, which was nice! It didn’t seem to have much impact on the whole, though.
I started with 1500 followers, and ended up with over 1700. Over 200 followers in a month is good progress in my eyes, but most of these followers didn’t come from these tactics. The majority came from Facebook groups, or Twitter.
The only other platform I really struggle with is Facebook. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they’re both owned by the same people. It seems they are making life more and more difficult in attempts to push people towards paid advertising.
Does this mean I’m going to give up? Tempting as it is, the stubborn streak in me wants to find a way to make it work. It may seem like I’m taking it all too seriously, but I want to try different approaches before I admit I’ve been beaten. Plus, I appreciate the importance of some sort of Instagram presence if you’re in the blogging business, so I don’t want to abandon it altogether.
- I’m going to try some of these 5 tools, to see if they take me any further.
- Rather than posting every day, I’m going to try every other day. I recently saw someone on Facebook touch on the idea that, due to changes in the algorithm, your posts have a slightly longer lifespan now on Instagram. This means posting something else before that has played out can harm your engagement. I’ve seen other people say similar things on Twitter, too, so I’m interested to test it out.
- I also know I need to make more use of stories but, truth be told, my life isn’t that interesting – and this is where I fall short with Instagram as a whole. I spend about 80% of my time, sat in front of my laptop. Oddly enough, I have plenty to write about, but very little to say.
So, I haven’t exhausted all my options yet and my quest to crack Instagram continues.