A lot of Instagram users say fewer people see their stuff since the new algorithm kicked in. It’s disheartening. You wouldn’t share stuff on a social platform if you didn’t want people to see it – whether you’re using Instagram for work or fun.
Am I shadowbanned, hidden, hated? We share 95m photos every day on Instagram. We can’t control the algorithm, so why try and second-guess it? We now have to work harder to get our photos in front of new people, but it’s not impossible. To stand out on Instagram, we need to post really good work.
Here are five ways to get your stuff seen by more people – simple stuff too, stuff that works for me every day:
Post when your people are around
Posting time isn’t as important as sharing amazing photos (here’s how to make better photos). But it’s still a good idea to post when your audience is online. Initial engagement helps to push our content higher up in followers’ feeds. That leads to more engagement which pushes our content into Instagram’s suggested posts and into our hashtag’s top posts. More people will see our work.
Only create stuff you’re interested in, passionate about. But push yourself to do better work. Experiment. Try different types of media, really research your interests, challenge yourself. Your audience likes your work, your voice, or they wouldn’t follow you. But it’s good to surprise people too. That element of surprise will lead your audience to linger on your post a little longer, perhaps even come back for a second look, and leave more meaningful comments.
Make better work
As creatives, we’re all apprentices and none of us masters, as Hemingway said. Our work is never done. We can always, always improve. Instagram opens doors for people who previously had no interest in photography. Instagram develops and its audience’s taste develops with it. The kind of photos that were popular two, three years ago won’t have the same impact today and even less of an impact tomorrow. We should always develop our work. If the stuff you put out on Instagram is constantly improving, it won’t go unnoticed.
Great imagery is important, but it takes more than that to build an audience. Want to be there. Enjoy it. If you’re not interested in the stuff other people are posting on Instagram, you can’t expect them to be interested in the stuff you’re posting. Read captions and leave thoughtful comments. Reply to comments on your posts. Engagement works both ways.
When stuff isn’t going right, it’s easy to look for something to blame. It’s a downward spiral into negativity and self-doubt. It means accepting the problem can’t be fixed by your own hand. Take responsibility. We all have bad days from time to time. (If I have a bad day on Instagram, I am a right horrible little cowbag. Ask the people around me.) Try something else, something new. Positive, optimistic thinking is easier said than done. But when we feel good, we feel motivated, more creative. Negativity is easily projected outwards, especially on social platforms. Graft. Stick at it. Be sincere. Try to make the work better. If you do that, sooner or later, people will respond.
As always I’d really love to get your thoughts on this. Do you agree with this stuff? Have I missed anything important? What would you add?