A while back I wrote about how I’d fallen out of love with Instagram. I know I wasn’t alone in that – the algorithm changes and the follow/unfollow culture meant that so many people were becoming disillusioned with the platform. I’d found my follower numbers plummeting and I wasn’t picking up any new followers either, so the whole thing started to become very depressing. But lately I’ve been feeling the love again, and I put that down to a number of ways in which I’ve changed my approach.
Relaxing my approach to what I post
I admit it – I got caught up in all the advice to only post your ‘best’ photos. I’d ponder over whether a photo was instagram worthy, rather than think about whether I just loved it. Recently, if I love a photo, it goes on, whether it’s a beautiful shot of our outdoor adventures, or just a quick snap of my boys playing indoors. I’ve also found that relaxing my approach to my feed has made me more relaxed to my attitude towards unfollowers – before I’d always take it quite personally, but if they don’t like what I’m posting, then they can unfollow!
Taking the relaxed approach a step further, I’ve started using Instagram Stories a lot more. I’ll admit, when Instagram first brought out Stories, I didn’t get the appeal. I’ve never seen the point of Snapchat, and I just didn’t see why I would use a feature where my post will just disappear in a few hours. But although I’m never going to be a ‘chatting to the camera’ type, I love posting just snippets of what we’re up to – the chance to post photos which are really blurred and a terrible photo, but where I just love the massive smile on my son’s face. I love when I get a bit of interaction back from them too – it starts up a genuine chat a lot of the time, and suddenly instagram seems like a far more friendly place again.
Leaving the comment pods
A comment pod is a group of friends who all commit to liking and commenting on each other’s posts, usually within a certain timeframe, although the ones I was in were all fairly relaxed. Before I left the pods, I felt that they were a genuine way of interacting – all of the people in them were accounts I followed and wanted to keep up with, so this was a good way of doing that, and I felt that we would probably mutually comment on each other’s posts regardless. But since leaving, I realise that that’s not quite the case, and how much freer I feel without that commitment. I’m still liking and commenting on those people’s posts when they come up in my feed, and some people I will seek out their feed to check for new posts, but the lack of obligation or timeframe means so much less pressure. And equally, those people don’t always feel the need to comment on my photos either – sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. I realise now that’s a far more natural way of interacting – you comment if you have something to say, or if you connect with something. It’s a rare account where you would comment on every single one of someone’s posts, just as I wouldn’t expect someone to on mine.
Of course it’s harder to make sure that you catch posts from all of your favourites. I’ve never found notifications work well for me, so I’ve started using the Collections feature, where I’ve saved a post from each of my favourite Instagrammers. This means I have a quick way of browsing to their profiles and checking I’ve not missed anything.
I’ve found that leaving the comment pods has been freeing in terms of what I post myself. When I was in the pods, I would make sure that I posted a caption that would give people something to properly comment on, rather than having to give a generic comment. But recently I’ve posted more than a few with just a few words and it’s lovely to just get back to posting without stressing over every word you’re writing, as well as worrying if your photo is good enough!
I tend to go through phases with what I like to follow on instagram. Since joining, I have followed lots of floral based accounts, child focused accounts, outdoors accounts, fashion and lifestyle accounts. Variety is definitely the spice of life for me! I’ve started using the Explore tab to seek out new accounts and themes – once you start liking certain things, Instagram will spot the trend and show you more of that. Doing this I’ve discovered a new found love of travel instagrammers – my explore feed is now full of photos of Italian cities, quaint English towns, and moody Scottish landscapes. It’s ignited a huge sense of wanderlust and I think I’m basically using it to plan our next few holidays!
I’m also using Instagram more like Pinterest for this, and using their Collections feature to group pretty photos together in collections like ‘Italian trip’, and ‘UK breaks’. I love looking through these from time to time for inspiration, and I know they’ll be so useful when it comes to actually planning our holidays.
And I have to credit autumn for helping me find the joy again – if ever there was a season that Instagram was made for, it has to be autumn! So many beautiful colours to see, conkers to find, pumpkins to pick, and moody beaches to visit. Everywhere you look there’s a new beautiful sight to share.
And suddenly I’m enjoying Instagram a whole lot more! I’m posting more often, I’m opening up the app more often to browse, and I’m interacting with more people. And what do you know – suddenly my followers are picking up again too!