The biggest social media complaint I heard in 2018 was the steep decline in Instagram engagement. The algorithm tanked my engagement, my reach was cut in half, no one is seeing my posts. Am I shadow banned? What gives?
Let me be the first to say, the algorithm is not out to punish you unless you’re using shady growth tactics (ie. buying followers or likes). You and even I are too small of potatoes for Instagram to care what we’re doing on our accounts. Yes, the algorithm changes all the time. Yes, it’s annoying. But two things never change – quality and consistency. So perhaps the problem isn’t with Instagram… maybe it’s you. Yeah, I said it.
Remember when you were trying to grow your followers and crazy active on the app? I used to spend two to three hours a day on Instagram. An hour before bed and an hour when I woke up. Every time I pushed out a new post, I’d be online at least 30 minutes to an hour frantically responding to comments and liking similar photos.
If you’re like me, once your account got to a certain size you mentally checked out. My brain switched from growth to maintenance mode. I know for a fact I got lazy. Instead of spending hours and hours engaging, which the algorithm obviously rewards, I would push posts out and just expect them to do well.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Once you reach a certain level, your influence doesn’t just speak for itself as much as we wish it did. There was a clear drop in engagement when I stopped being an active user no matter how many followers I had. People theorize that the algorithm favors smaller accounts, but that’s not true. They just favor just frequent users, which if you think about it, makes perfect sense.
After my Instagram engagement tanked, I went back to the basics. I had to retrain my brain to start doing what I was doing when I was successful. You have to think about each piece of content you put out as if you’re launching it to the world. How are you going to get it seen by as many people as possible?
Each post should have a mini-launch plan. This means:
Selecting the right 30 hashtags (a combination of big and small, niche and general).
Interacting with those hashtags – liking and commenting on a few similar photos.
Pushing your post out on engagement groups on Facebook, What’s App, Telegram, your blog, your other social media channels, as many places as possible to signal to the algorithm it’s popular from multiple sources.
Stay online and respond to comments quickly. Speed and timing is still a major signal to the algorithm.
Do this consistently for every Instagram post.
Want more expert tips for improving your engagement or getting more followers? Get the guide.
Have you had tried this? Was your Instagram engagement affected this year?