By Emily Quinton
I love Instagram. I have loved it for the past few years and it continues to be a positive, happy and inspiring part of my every day.
But it is a part of my every day. I use it both personally and to grow Makelight. It is a part of our marketing planning and activities. It is a part of my online community, both personally and for Makelight. I make sure that I use it nearly every day but I do not let it take up too much time and I do my very best to not let it have a negative impact on my day.
There is no denying that things have changed on Instagram and it’s not the place it used to be. Nearly every day I hear someone worrying about their drop in engagement on Instagram. They can’t find people they used to see pop into their stream each day. They are worried about all sorts of things that are all tied up in Instagram. Yes, the algorithms have changed. Yes, it’s most definitely not the same place it used to be. It’s frustrating and annoying but it’s often what happens when platforms grow, develop and experiment.
Instagram is free for us to use(unless you are paying to advertise), so while I do share the frustration that things have changed, I do also feel super lucky that we’ve got Instagram at all. If Instagram is the first social media platform that you’ve really engaged with the way things have changed over the past 12 months may have come as a big shock. Many years ago the same thing happened to Flickr. I sometimes still miss those magical early Flickr days but I love and totally appreciate that they happened in the first place. I still have friends around the world from those happy days. And then there were the early days of Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
Next time you are thinking about Instagram remember that it is still full of inspiring images and wonderful communities. You just have to work a bit harder to find them. Don’t let that stop you enjoying spending time there. Try to embrace it for what it is now and hold onto the positives.
I know engagement has dropped for many people, me included, but put aside how many people are seeing your images and think about just how amazing it is that you can post an image onto a device that’s in your pocket and people all over the world can see it. Don’t worry about how many of them there are. Think about the amazing technology that is making this happen at all. It wasn’t that long ago that none of this was possible.
Life moves so fast that it’s hard to remember the time before Instagram but it really wasn’t that long ago. Try to focus on the good stuff that’s still very much a part of Instagram.
Things change all the time. If they didn’t then we definitely wouldn’t have Instagram at all. We wouldn’t have cameras on our phones or indeed mobile phones at all, digital photography, laptops. We wouldn’t be able to do our supermarket shopping online and have someone deliver it right to our kitchen. We wouldn’t be able to track our fitness with a bracelet. And so much more.
Over the years things have changed on all these platforms. Sometimes it’s all sorts of wonderful- take Facebook Live (a real game changer for our business), private boards on Pinterest (and then being able to have as many as you want!) and the ability to add images into tweets on Twitter. But sometimes the changes don’t work for you and it’s super annoying. Change is always extra hard when it doesn’t go your way or when you don’t have any control over it.
Technology is moving faster than ever. It’s important that we get used to adapting to these changes. If we can adapt fast then we will be in a stronger, more resilient position. Some of them will feel amazing straight away, others will take much longer for us to get used to. Some changes and developments we will love and wonder how we ever lived without them, while others will feel irritating and perhaps sometimes like a step backwards. Instagram and other social media platforms are all a part of the technology that is changing our lives and our future. Sometimes these platforms will feel perfect and life changing, other times they will feel frustrating and out of our control.
I know it’s hard to see something change without warning. I know it’s difficult when you’ve invested time and effort into building an audience on a platform and then are blocked from reaching them in the same ways that you used to be able to. But this is exactly why it is important to firstly remember that this is one part of building your business or blog and secondly, to diversify.
How else can you reach people? Where else can you build an audience? Perhaps on other platforms. Perhaps by writing a blog. But I think you should most definitely build an email list. We never know what developers and their investors have planned for social media platforms. We don’t own our audiences on these platforms, so if things change we can’t take them with us.
But we can build email lists. Without our email list we wouldn’t have been able to build Makelight and we are always thinking of new ways to build our list. (Join the List in July to learn more about how you can build your email list too). We focus on that much more than ways to build our social media following.
We also make sure that we are spreading our attention across Instagram, Twitter and our Facebook Page. I know it’s hard to run more than one platform but diversifying is particularly helpful when you are faced with things changing on one particular platform.
Try your very best to continue to enjoy Instagram even with all the changes. Or, if it really is frustrating you too much and taking up too much of your time then step away for a while or just post a couple of times a week.
Use your time for more positive things in your business. Think of ways to grow your email list and look at other social media platforms you are using and put some energy there too.
Our new, updated Instagram and (and other Social Media) course, Honey begins on Monday 10th July. Come and join us if you are looking at how to both improve your Instagram and what you are sharing in other places too. We have some great tools for you to use to help you, as well as a series of video lessons, assignments and Q&As.
PS- last time I wrote about the Instagram changes I had some criticism from a few people who thought I didn’t have anything to worry about because I already have a big following. Yes, I do but if I can’t reach the audience I do have then there really is not much difference between 80,000 and 800.