These days you can’t go more than about four minutes without seeing a tweet from somebody who’s feeling disheartened by the Instagram algorithm.
And I get it, it’s shit.
For those of you who don’t feel as strongly about Instagram as they do their first born child, I’ll give you a v quick run down on what’s going down on the photo-sharing app.
Basically last year they stopped showing images on home feeds in chronological order. Which means if you refresh the app 71 times a day (no comment), it’s likely you’ll see the same ‘popular’ posts show up, rather than the newest ones.
Instagram is also taking it upon itself to show you the images it thinks you want to see, based on your previous stalking. Meaning you might not see posts from people you want to (because hey, why would you be following them if you didn’t want to see their uploads?).
There’s also a tonnes of theories about the app favouring personal accounts over business accounts, and favouring people with a high amount of followers already, rather than growing accounts.
But with all of this going on, people are finding it harder than ever to organically grow a following, so I thought I’d share a few things that have been working for me.
(Obvs this is just my opinion, I’m not like the CEO of Instagram or anything… OR AM I?)
The main way I see spikes in my follower counts is when a big (usually fashion) brand regrams one of my Insta uploads and mentions me within the caption. Primark is a big one for me as they have such freakin’ ginormous following (4.4m), but I’ve also gained substantial followers from Liketoknow.it, River Island and New Look.
The best way to get regrammed by a brand is to wear as close to head to toe of that brand as possible – the more that’s still in stock, the better. I’ve noticed brands also seem to prefer a professional looking image with a blurred background over a phone snap – and it’s also worth tagging them in both the caption and the image.
Finally, if you’re looking for a regram, don’t go too heavy on the filter, because that image needs to fit in with their ‘theme’ too. Some brands regram bloggers every day, and some (Zara, Topshop, Mango) pretty much never do, so do your research.
Despite what I said about brands preferring to regram glossier images, I find the iPhone snaps ALWAYS do better for likes and engagement on my own account. There’s something more relatable about hey look here’s me standing in front of a wall on my way to Tesco, rather than here’s me posing about whilst my £150 an hour photographer takes swishy snaps of me.
I mean, it’s obviously up to you. It’s your account. But by no means do you need a fancy camera to grow a decent size following – in fact, if you look at most of your fave fash blogger accounts (@emmahill and @chloeplumstead being good examples), you’ll see more and more iPhone uploads.
I was discussing the rise of the ‘non-theme theme’ with a friend last week. It’s kinda what I’d call my own account. I use the same two VSCO filters on every image I upload, and I brighten them the same amount, but I’m not pedantic about what I upload.
I would rather post snippets every single day and have them not look perfect next to each other, than only post a few times a week because OMG CAN’T FIND ANYTHING THAT FITS IN WITH THE THEME.
Good examples of those kind of accounts include @erica_davies, @thefrugality and @samanthamariaofficial. And those are my fave kinds of accounts to follow because I don’t feel like they’re only uploading an image because it ‘fits’ with their grid.
Whilst Instagram used to just be about the dreamiest images known to man, it’s now its own form of micro-blogging (and micro-vlogging thanks to Insta stories). Which means it’s more and more about the person behind the lens – what they’re up to, what they’re thinking, and well, what they look like.
Faceless accounts used to be the norm, but there’s no denying that my fave Instagrammers are the people who put their entire self on their accounts. I’m not talking about daily selfies, but I am talking about being active on Insta stories and appearing in the shots on their feed. I want to relate to people, I want to feel like they could be an offline friend, I want to get to know them.
On the same kind of idea as above, I like accounts with personality. I like captions that offer up more than ‘<insert word of choice here> vibes’. There are so many gorgeous accounts I’ve unfollowed recently because COME ON, REVEAL YOURSELF, GIVE ME A LITTLE SOMETHING TO WORK WITH.
I don’t want my home feed to be made up of gorgeous girls who make me feel rubbish about myself, I want gorgeous girls who admit that LOL just ate a whole bag of chipsticks or LOL cried because I missed the bus.
When I say using Instagram ‘normally’, I basically mean I haven’t tried to outsmart the algorithm. I haven’t joined a pod (a group who will comment and like on your latest image to help with engagement), and I haven’t attempted to comment on every single photo that I see in my feed in the hope that Instagram will see my account as super active and give me a boost up.
I just like the images I like and I comment on the images that make me go SWEET DIGGITY GIRL YOU LOOK AMAZING. Simply because it’s nice to lift each other up, right?
Admittedly, I have unfollowed a few accounts who commented on every single photo I uploaded because I knew they weren’t commenting because they genuinely liked the image, but because they thought spamming might somehow help their account.
Don’t try and outsmart Instagram, it’s way more intelligent than you give it credit for.