Blether Digital

Investigating Influence - The Podcast

001: The Instagram Algorithm Isn't Out to Get You

Spoiler alert: Instagram doesn’t care about your flatlays.

People seem to be so caught up in “beating the algorithm” that they stop creating authentic content and become a bit of a slave to the likes.

Yeah, I’ve been there. I’ve lived that life, and I am a hell of a lot happier just posting photos I love instead of thinking about what’s going to perform “well”. Thats easy for me to say when I care considerably less about my Instagram now than I did three years ago.

I do think there’s a balance to strike between content that resonates with your audience and content that you genuinely enjoy creating - especially as an influencer. In fact, most of what I’m going to say in this episode is more related to influencers and bloggers than businesses.

What happening to creating content because you love it? Because you enjoy it and it’s about things you’re passionate about? Instead it’s become this game of creating content because it performs well. Does that kind of shit actually resonate with people? I know that I’m fed up of following accounts that all look the god damn same. This obsession with beating the algorithm seems to be killing creativity.

I don’t use Instagram to see the exact same types of content again and again and again. I sure as hell don’t use Instagram to see people moaning about reach or asking me to turn notifications on for their account - I want less notifications, not more. I want to follow different people and see their different perspectives and what different content they bring to the table! Stop creating content for the sake of likes and create the shit that makes your heart happy.

The Instagram algorithm is not “out to get you”. The instagram algorithm does not give a shit about you and your flatlays. Instagram is there to serve two things - itself and its users. Instagram is a business and they want to make money. They make money by keeping as many people on the platform for as long as possible so that they can see as many ads as possible, giving the advertisers a return on their investment and making them want to spend more money.

Think about it - if Instagram was in chronological order again how boring would it be? You’d probably get LESS likes because of the speed that the platform moves. If someone wasn’t online at the exact time you posted your content, or if loads of other people were posting at the same time as you, your post would be pushed to the bottom never to be seen again. It would be like Twitter - your content would have such a short shelf life. The average instagram post has a lifespan of 48 hours in which it gathers most of its engagement. A tweet has around 17 minutes. Would you rather your content had 48 hours to be seen, or 17 minutes? I know which one I’d pick.

Then there’s the argument about Instagram “choosing what’s relevant for you”. Yes, okay, they get it wrong a lot. But at least they’re trying. The user experience on Instagram would be SO BORING if it was irrelevant content all of the time. If you follow thousands of people they have to do some sort of narrowing down to decide what to show you. Yes, it’s annoying that you don’t always see everyone’s posts - but imagine how busy your feed would be if you did.

The algorithm in it’s current state is pushing us to connect and be social with the people who’s content we enjoy instead of just pushing our stuff out into the void never to interact with anyone else on the platform. Instagram want people to enjoy their platform. It’s a social network for gods sake, they want people to be SOCIAL. They’re not trying to “ruin your engagement” or punish ads.

If you think they are punishing your content, maybe you need to take a look at what you’re actually posting. Why should your audience care about what you’re posting? Is it relevant to them? Is it useful? What are they getting from it? They’re the ones that matter, not the algorithm.

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Music from https://filmmusic.io
"Fearless First" by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)
License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Charlotte Dougallinstagram