Find the best way to scroll with purpose…
I know Instagram gets a lot of flack in the industry for it’s seemingly easy ability to buy followings and engagement and pull the wool over people’s eyes and also for the fact that engagement in general has dwindled for many over the years. But whenever I look at my breakdown of the hours that I spend on my phone – Instagram is sitting right at the top by a MILE. The introduction of Instagram Stories two years ago has meant that there is always something new to view or fresh to scroll (although I have to say that I’ve yet to sit through a whole IGTV video). It’s visual. It’s enjoyable. It’s a community. It’s how I keep up to date with the lives of my friends and family and people whom I admire their style, fashion, makeup or food and I will probably never meet in my life. Where strangers can become mates you end up chatting to most days; it’s an all-encompassing platform and it’s easy to see what it’s the favourite app of many (including me!).
For creators it’s been tough as growth has slowed over time – but think about it. The platform is massive and widely oversaturated. There’s something like 800 million users worldwide these days. Plus, do you yourself follow people as freely as you used to? For viewers things have changed as accounts have grown and the direction shifted to a glossier persona, whilst I sit there scrolling with this morning’s Coco Pop milk stuck on my chin. It’s the whole ‘Instagram VS. Reality’ disparity. It’s time to stop moping and instead change up how we use it. So here’s my advice for both camps…
TIPS FOR CREATORS
Whilst it’s easy to dish out the ‘keep it candid’ advice when it comes to what content to upload to Instagram, there are some accounts with über polished pictures and videos that I love and are wildly successful. So instead of trying to fit a specific formula, upload content that you enjoy creating and sharing. For me that’s mostly selfie outfit pictures (or ones that I’ve made Mark take before dinner), with some food, makeup and general lifestyle thrown in – not too polished, but not like it’s been shot on a potato either.
Connect with your viewers. Replying to every single comment and DM might not be possible (FYI I promise to always reply on Twitter or email!), but try and section off some time each day to say hello. Whether it’s ‘hearting’ comments or replying to questions, it’s always good to immerse yourself – even just for 10 minutes – plus you can soak up any feedback that’s there. Try to be a good member of your community too. I find that enjoying Instagram as a viewer helps me to be a more inspired creator.
If you feel like engagement is down and you’re uninspired by the platform then ask yourself – why have you and/or your viewers lost interest? Have you tried to take it in a direction that you’re not really feeling? Have you been inconsistent? Are you feel like you’re not bringing anything new to the table? Take a moment to map out the direction you’d like to refocus on. Experiment with upload times and days and see if you notice any trends and patterns. Engage with your community. Tweak, adjust and edit to find a way to enjoy it again.
TIPS FOR VIEWERS
We spend so long scrolling through the reams and reams of photo and video content available to us, so make sure that whatever you’re consuming is making you feel good. If any accounts are making you doubt yourself in anyway or stirring up negativity inside of you unfollow and don’t look back. Curate your feed to suit you.
Once you’ve edited your follow list, ENGAGE. Like photos that you like, comment, share posts with friends, save photos you love into your saved section, send supportive DM’s to creators who are making stuff that you’re enjoying, read articles, swipe up. Not only will the algorithm serve you more of what you want to see, but spreading positivity makes it a nicer place for everyone to hang out.
At the end of the day it’s still a social media platform and sometimes a 10 minute scroll can turn into a 90 minute marathon. If you feel like you’re losing valuable time then perhaps it’s worth setting yourself parameters on how long you want to spend on there each day. Have a search for apps that allow you to lock yourself out after a certain length of time that you determine – Sense is a good one for iOS users.
FIVE ACCOUNTS THAT I FOLLOW AND LOVE
Bonappetitmag. You guys know that I’m a HUGE fan of their YouTube channel, but their Instagram content is right up as one of my favourites. If you fancy recipes, cooking tips and advice – the lot – here’s where to head. They tend to make a recipe a week on their Instagram stories and then also do a trouble-shooting Q&A session a few days later answering people queries. So helpful. So delicious.
MyDomaine. Whenever I look through my saved Instagram photos, most that are interiors based are from this account. It features a nice mix of styles and their IG stories also links up helpful blog posts from their website which I find myself swiping up for regularly.
Hannahfgale. No one does Instagram Stories better than Hannah. FACT. They’re funny. They’re relatable. They will make you want to buy Nakd Bars. She’s a pro at finding high-street style steals and her feed is chocker with bright and zingy photos that will just make you feel all warm and happy. What a gal.
Leiasfez. My ‘saved’ fashion-related grams are basically all from Leia’s account. She’s the epitome of French chic, a lover of neutrals and leopard print and just looks so effortless in everything that she puts together. Whenever I’m having a ‘I’m not really sure what to wear?‘ moment I’ll try on one of her outfit formulas for size.
Nikki_Makeup. If I had to pick one of my favourite beauty accounts, then up there would be this account from from MUA, Nikki. She’s specialises in GLOW – like shedloads of it – and although I enjoy seeing her editorial work on her feed, I really love watching the BTS and the step-by-step processes that she shares on her stories (and saves to her highlights – THANK YOU!).
Photos by Emma Croman
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