Ahh Instagram! As I shared in my blog post – The Plus Sides Of Instagram – I’m a big fan of the platform. Huge in fact. I love Instagram for all of the creativity, inspiration and community goodness it serves up.
That being said, I know how much it can rock my boat too. And sometimes it can put a big dent in my ego. Having spoken to friends, it seems that I’m not alone in this.
Just recently I was talking to a friend who was fretting over her stagnant Instagram following. She was pouring so much into her content, and yet she was losing followers. (Been there!) Other friends find themselves avoiding the platform altogether for fear of comparison. Or perhaps their engagement is lower than its been previously
If you recognise any or all of these scenarios, I’m sharing how to combat the times when your ego may get hurt on Instagram.
I hope that these will prove helpful next time you feel ‘meh’ about that lovely little app.
Here goes . . .
3 Times Your Ego May Get Hurt On Instagram & How To Handle It
1 – YOU LOST FOLLOWERS ON INSTAGRAM
So, you lost followers on Instagram?
A year ago I had broken the 25K mark, and as I type this blog post I have exactly 24,836 followers.
If you too have lost followers on Instagram lately (or in the past year or so) it may be puzzling you. It may even be a knock to your ego, I know it was to mine!
But let’s look a little more closely at what’s going on. If you’re proud of your content, you’re engaging with your community, and you’re generally doing what you feel is a ‘good job’ then stop beating yourself up about losing followers, and let’s analyse what’s going on.
Here are a few things to consider . . .
There Are More Opportunities For People To Un-Follow You
As James shared, Instagram followers now have more opportunities than ever before to hit ‘unfollow’. Whilst expanding your realm of content to include Instagram Stories and IGTV may feel like a good thing, and like you’re offering up more content to the people who’d like to see it, it also gives people who haven’t seen you pop up in their feed for a while more of an opportunity to hit ‘unfollow’ if your content isn’t working for them any more.
Whereas before you may have posted five times a week to your feed, and therefore been ‘visible’ to your followers five times in a week, nowadays you could potentially be in their eyeline five or more times a day. Meaning that if your content just isn’t their jam, they can hit ‘unfollow’.
FYI – this isn’t a bad thing at all, as I’m sharing below, but I totally get that it can feel like a knock.
Also know, that whilst people are unfollowing you, there will undoubtedly be new people clicking ‘follow’ too. And nowadays that follow is harder to come by than ever. So celebrate every new follower like a great new friend. Whoop!
Please know you’re not alone in this plight, and that ultimately . . .
You Want “Volunteers Not Recruits”
In episode 42 of the Happier in Hollywood podcast (one of my favourite shows) hosts Liz and Sarah discuss how they want “volunteers not recruits” to work with them. They also discuss how this applies to life at large. And I couldn’t agree more!
Ultimately, although it can be a knock to the ego, you don’t want to coerce people into following you on Instagram. It’s so much nicer to know that they’re there because they genuinely want to be. Of course you can’t technically ‘make’ people follow you on Instagram, but back in the day people were following accounts left right and centre. Nowadays users are just more choosy. And they’re editing down the people they follow. That’s no bad thing.
Instead of looking at losing a few accounts as being a bad thing, try and flip it on its head. You’re only losing the people who don’t want to engage with your account any more, for whatever reason. The people who are sticking around, and joining you afresh, are there through a considered choice. You’ve got a whole host of volunteers! Now, focus on serving them up the good stuff, rather than worrying about the handful of people for whom your account isn’t a good fit any more.
From time to time Instagram will have a big clear out of fake and inactive accounts. If your following is made up of false or inactive accounts, especially if you’ve ever purchased followers (NEVER a good idea!), you’re likely to see a big drop off following a clear out.
Even if you haven’t ever purchased followers, your following will likely be made up of a few dormant or shady accounts, so a small decrease is completely normal. As with the ‘volunteer not recruits’ train of thought, you don’t want those accounts to follow you anyhu.
2 – YOUR ENGAGEMENT IS DOWN ON INSTAGRAM
When I see an Instagram post (especially one I really care about) completely bomb, it sucks. No doubt. But once again, let’s take a little look at the ‘why’ behind this . . .
My highest-performing posts on Instagram tend to be the ones where I’m just myself. I’m chatting away as if I were sat across the table from you. Engagement on these types of posts tends to be high (as shown above).
Engagement btw is your reach and impressions per post, rather than just the ‘likes’ and ‘follows’. You can find the information on this by checking your Instagram analytics if you’re a business account.
I’ve found this high engagement to be true, even for my sponsored posts. That being said, whenever I use #Ad, my posts don’t perform as well and the posts which don’t have a sponsored hashtag. I think this has to do with Instagram’s commitment to showing its users images from their friends, family and accounts they interact with often, above the content created by brands. I.e. less sales-y stuff, more genuine posts.
The solution therefore, if you work with brands, is to make sure that your sponsored content works seamlessly with your non-sponsored posts. Partner with brands which feel like a natural fit for you. Create gorgeous imagery, and caption your posts authentically.
Nowadays brands are interested in the engagement of your account, as well as your following (often more so even!), and so it’s crucial that if you’re using Instagram for business, that you focus on your engagement.
I’ve noticed that although my #Ad posts may be slow burners, nowadays I get almost as much (if not more!) engagement for some of my paid projects, than I do on my day to day feed posts.
Ultimately it’s the sentiment which really resonates with people. A blogger who I feel does this brilliantly is Sally Fazeli – check out Sally’s gorgeous feed @SallyFazeli to see what I mean!
Speaking of authenticity . . .
After lots of trial and error, I feel like I’m in my groove when it comes to really getting to know my little Instagram community, and much of that I have Jenna Kutcher to thank for.
Jenna is an incredible photographer, marketing expert and self-made millionaire. She hosts the brilliant Goal Digger podcast, and serves up inspiration on the reg over on her own Instagram account @JennaKutcher. She also happens to be a truly wonderful, hilarious and kind person, and her and I got to spend some time together earlier this year when I attended Illume Retreat.
This blog post and accompanying podcast episode on 5 Secrets to Boosting Instagram Engagement are pretty much all of the advise points I would give to you! Read ’em all – they’ve been game-changers for me.
3 – YOUR COMPARISON LEVELS ARE OFF THE CHARTS
“. . . a quick reminder: this is NOT what motherhood or our lives looks like save the 15 minutes we spent taking photos. At least not my experience of it. Don’t be fooled, we did it for the highlight reel!!!” – this caption on one of Sarah Yates Mora’s recent Instagram photos got all the praise hand emojis from me.
When all you’re seeing of ‘someone else’s life’ is the feed of photos they’re posting, it’s natural to think that that is what their life looks like. Full stop.
But in case you hadn’t already gathered, no body’s life is glossy all the time.
If you find yourself stuck in a comparison trap on Instagram, do yourself a favour and try these 5 tips (and read the longer-length version of my advice here):
- take a tech break.
- know that everyone’s paths are different. Focus on looking forwards, instead of sideways.
- congratulate people you admire (i.e. the people you compare yourself to).
- keep a gratitude journal.
- stop procrastinating and do something for yourself.
Your ego will continue to take a battering if you don’t press ‘pause’ on the comparison, so try out my tips above and see if you can do a 180 and fall back in love with Instagram for all the right reasons.
4 – BONUS TIP! WHAT TO DO WHEN PEOPLE ARE MEAN
Comment back if necessary.
Report if they’re being abusive.
No time for that ????
Post to Instagram because you’re passionate about what you’re sharing. You love the people you’re connecting with. And the platform is serving you in a positive way.
If it’s causing you more woe than happiness right now, it may be time for a little pause. A breather. And time to re-focus your reasoning for being there.
Some of my most inspired seasons of sharing have been after some time for introspection.
Oh, and don’t overthink it! Nothing’s perfect. If you’re umm’ing and ahh’ing over an upload, either press ‘publish’ or take a brain break and come back to it.
The best stuff in life happens off the grid anyway.
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?
Have you ever felt like your ego has been bruised on Instagram? Do you recognise any of the above scenarios, and if so, how do you deal with them?
I’d love to hear from you!
Love, Monica x
Photography by Charlotte Bryer-Ash