How I’ve Embraced My Declining Instagram Following – And Why I Am Happy About It
Since June 2017, I’ve watched my Instagram following and engagement drop with unfortunate disbelief. The time, money and effort I’d invested into growing and cultivating my community was dwindling away due to the (unannounced) change in Instagram’s algorithm over the past year. The fact is, not enough accounts are seeing our creations that Instagram deems relevant to them.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to bash on the algorithm and complain about low engagement (cause I’ve had my moment, thank you very much, and there are plenty of blog posts on that subject out there, I’m sure) but my reason for writing this post is to share that I’ve since come to accept and embrace the changes, even if it’s meant watching my Instagram following, numbers and engagement decline quicker than it can grow at this time. Why am I okay with this? Since embracing the changes on Instagram, I’ve become much happier and have returned to the fundamental reasons I began sharing on Instagram in the first place – to express my love for capturing beauty in creative forms and sharing it to inspire others.
I want to make it clear that I do not believe that the number of followers an account has or the level of engagement on a post/profile equates to a human beings worth. We are worth more than the numbers at the top of our Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube profiles despite what social media, brands and influencers lead us to believe.
I’m happy with the decline of my engagement because I know that my numbers are not a reflection of my community, the quality of my work and the level of impact my posts have on this community. In fact, if people and brands could look past the numbers and focus on the value, content and quality of message at hand, we would all be much happier and healthier together. Regardless of my falling numbers, I receive ongoing offers to collaborate with brands and am happy to accept them should they fit my brand and aesthetic. I was also invited to join Reward Style and other influencer networks and opportunities so I am assured that the quality of my work goes unnoticed. I hope this is enough evidence for you to know that it’s not about the numbers.
*NB: No, I did not type that last sentence and italicize it to make myself feel better – it’s the truth and I’ve had many discussions with fellow successful Instagrammers and bloggers who feel the same way.
I’m happy to have embraced this new attitude because I’m truly happier and less stressed…
- I’m less stressed about “investing” x amount of hours on Instagram on a daily basis.
- I’m less stressed with creating enough content to share 3-4 times a day. Um, how did I even do that?
- I’m less stressed with writing witty and engaging captions for engagement cause believe me, they take a lot of brain power, aka fapping around on Pinterest till I’m inspired.
- I’m less stressed with keeping up with engagement/comment pods. In fact, I’m so glad I quit these which might deserve a blog post of its own…
- I’m less stressed with keeping up with fashion, food and lifestyle trends and being “social”. It’s okay to not know everything that is going on in the world. It’s okay that you haven’t been to the latest and hottest restaurant or dessert spot. It’s also okay to switch off from social media when you need to and not have FOMO.
- I’m less stressed with chasing perfection and having a beautiful feed. I post what I like and when I want because that’s what I am happy doing.
There are so many more reasons that I’m happy with the changes I’ve implemented. This new attitude and mindset shift has shown me that I was completely caught up with the Instagram “rat race” that inherently traps us all within its little squares. Good news, it’s possible to live a happy and thriving life outside of these little boxes, I promise! Reality check, Instagram is not the real world.
Instagram is a beautiful community and I am still very much in love with the app because of the amazing inspiration and friendships I’ve made all over the world. Instagram has undoubtedly shaped the way we perceive the world, our behaviour and I think most importantly, marketing and our response to marketing cause if it’s not “Instagrammable” or “Instagram worthy”, it’s not worth our time anymore (sad but true for the most part at this time). Heck, businesses practically build their business model and aesthetic around their Instagram and how it will affect their feed. But I must ask, is it wise to build on a rocky and ever-changing foundation like Instagram?
At the end of the day, the content we share on Instagram technically becomes Instagram’s property. This also means that Instagram has the authority to do what they wish with our accounts. Not a comforting thought I know but I’m not raising this point to scare us all. No, what I mean to shed light on is that because of this simple fact, we should take Instagram lightly and take back power over our lives. Let’s not put all of our eggs into one basket. If you’re a content creator, business, blogger, or someone who relies on a well cultivated and highly engaged Instagram profile for customers, I hope you have a plan B and plan C because at the end of the day, it’s just a smart business strategy.
Plan A should be a website and/or blog. At the end of the day, what we have complete authority over is the content we create and share on our personal websites and blogs. This is our nirvana. This is where we have complete control over our precious content, how it’s distributed and where we can share our voices freely, however and whenever we want. Social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc… are tools in which we share nuggets of goodness here and there, leaving a trail back to the website/blog.
Yes, I know that I can improve my Instagram engagement and following if I dedicate resources to building my community but at this time, I’m quite happy with the reality that I am content, stress-free, and most importantly eager to invest my time into learning how to create content that is unique, value-driven and creative. I also know that with time, my Instagram will grow on an authentic and genuine basis.
A valuable life skill is learning to embrace and love change because if there’s one thing I know for sure is that life is a series of endless and beautiful change. Learn to flow with the current rather than fighting it and it will lead you to happy places and experiences.
I’m grateful for my existing IG community of friends and creators and am even more grateful for those who choose to follow me now. I’m even grateful for those who choose to unfollow me because I have taken a new perspective and direction with my Instagram and understand that the content they see now is not what they initially followed me for. I’m grateful for the Instagram’s ever changing algorithm because it has given me the opportunity to remember, refresh and recharge my love for sharing on a creative platform. Instagram’s algorithm pushed me out of the tiny squares I got trapped in to evolve and advance my creativity and skills in unique ways that are new to me and that are beyond the confines of Instagram.
It’s my hope that by sharing my thoughts on this topic, we can have a healthy and respectful discussion on good mental health practices, practical steps to self-love and self-care and safe social media habits.
What is at least one thing you’re happy about that Instagram’s change in algorithm has resulted in? Let me know in the comments below!