Have you been wondering over the past few months what in the world has happened to Instagram? You used to love posting pictures of your cute pets and sit back watching the likes and comments roll in …but now you’re wondering what could I have possibly done wrong? Are people no longer interested in my account? The short answer is no; in this post I’ll address why you’re seeing such a difference and also lay out some ways to raise that engagement!
Let’s address something first: Instagram is different. It is notably different. You’re watching stories and an ad or sponsored post pops up. You’re scrolling for miles down your feed and what percent of posts were ads as well? That is not how things used to be; both stories and your feed were truly just people you followed. A long long time ago, I can still remember when….Facebook was the same way. Seems like a lifetime ago that Facebook was a place for you to keep up with your friend’s life. It is now a scrolling advertisement. Does this sound familiar? Facebook owns Instagram, and they are slowly spreading this sponsored post virus.
Do you know what a sponsored post or story entails? It means that the account you’re seeing paid for that post to be pushed out to a wider audience. The sad thing is that when you pay for these posts, they are usually including people who already follow you. So you are paying Instagram to show your posts to people who have already decided they like and want to see you, but Instagram is hiding posts from them unless you PAY. Remember my previous post in this Instagram series when I said companies are now setting aside a budget for social media marketing? Instagram is taking FULL advantage of that. Why show your posts to people who actually want to see it for free when they could make you pay money to promote it now?
Below is a screen shot that I took from my account of how much Instagram might expect you to pay for these advertisements. For just $50 you can have a mix of ~5000 people (both followers and not) see your post! Is that worth it? Why did you start this account? Personally, I refuse to pay for these promotions; I started this account for fun! If you are running a business, I can understand why you would want to take advantage of this feature, just be sure that you have a lot budgeted for this!
The bottom line is that Instagram expects you to pay for your posts and you are seeing a direct hit on your engagement because of it. I’ve even heard from several people (without business accounts) how frustrated they are with seeing so many ads and therefore no longer want to go on Instagram. Sound familiar, Facebook?
Okay but enough of the bad news; let’s focus on what we can do to combat this! Here is a list of ideas for how you can increase engagement on your account:
- Make people interact with your stories! Instagram views accounts interacting with your stories as evidence that they’re interested in you (and therefore they’ll see your posts more often!). Throw in a poll, a sliding emoji bar, and cute/funny content that they’re motivated to share/send to their friends! The more actions taken on your stories by various accounts the better.
- Put a “call to action” in your posts. Play a guessing game, ask for suggestions in your comments, or tell everyone to tag their favorite dog account below. More comments = more engagement = more people being directed to your page!
- Videos tend to have a higher audience reach and are shared much more often. Though you will get less likes on them overall, more people are seeing the videos and your account!
- Collaborate with another (or more than one) pet account; post pictures, videos, or stories together for a ton of extra exposure! I can see from my stories how often accounts I mention get tagged and this is a great way to drive new people to your account.
- Try out IGTV. Instagram pushes these videos in a completely new way; they often go to the explore page and stay there for long periods of time. Such an easy way to get some new viewers for your content.
- Of course, in the end, content is king! See which of your posts did well and do more of that! Engaging content is the number one way to get the best engagement, of course! Bright, attractive pictures or silly videos will always do the best.
I say this in all of my blog posts, and I mean it: Instagram is for fun. When you just let go of caring how your posts do and post what you want you’ll have even more fun. I will never stop sharing videos of Bentley bringing something to pee, greeting dad at the front door after he gets home from work, or pictures of Bentley wearing sarcastic bandannas. When you’re silly and transparent, you might just find that people enjoy that even more and engagement comes naturally 🙂 Good luck gramming, friends!
Do you have any Instagram tips? Tell us in the comments!
I’m Kelly and I am the human that pretends to be my golden doodle on instagram all day (@minidoodlebentley)! I’m a math nerd and CrossFit enthusiast who has recently married the man of my dreams. My love for travel, dogs, and prosecco is unmatched and it would be a life dream to travel the world with Bentley!