Instagram is giving away free headaches these days. I remember when I first started and things were going smooth, the algorithm was showing photos in chronological order, but now things are so damn different. The algorithm is constantly changing, posts are hidden from friends and followers (at a point, my own family couldn’t see my photos in their news feed, lame, right?) and hashtags are broken which makes it impossible to get discovered.
Before getting started, I’d just like to make it clear that this is not a post where I would be whining about the number of likes I receive or so. It’s about Instagram who is limiting our creative work, it’s also about Instagram who is turning this platform into a place that promotes accounts with very similar photos, same edits or presets, same poses, almost same outfits and so on. You probably know what I’m talking about. We all love seeing a pink sky every now and then, but seeing a billion photos with pink pastel edits, pink skies, fake birds and what seems to look like a perfect life it makes me feel sick to my stomach. Some influencers even released Lightroom/Photoshop presets and people rush to buy them so they can get the exact same tone in their photos. I get it, you might like that specific edit and you have no clue how to recreate it, so the only legit solution is buying a preset that looks like that one or why not just the same preset if the person who you are following is selling it. But you know, the internet is full of resources, youtube is filled with videos about photo editing, there are plenty of articles from photographers and freelancers and so on. Why don’t you just try to learn how to make something similar but with your own twist?
We are all unique, just be yourself and you will find a suitable niche. Try to learn how to edit, put some real effort into what you’re doing, try to think out of the box instead of turning into a sheep. Don’t you think that would be a lot better? I really can’t stand seeing more photos that look like a carbon copy, try to check Pinterest or magazines, search for what you like on Google or Tumblr, get an idea and add your own twist to it. Remix it, make it yours, but please, I am begging you, stop copying the same photos over and over again just because they get an enormous amount of likes. This topic was also brought up on Instagram by many artists and I really wish some people will get a wake up call and stop the sheep effect. I’m aware that things might not change, but hey it’s worth giving it a shot and hoping for the best. Let’s stop copying and let’s start creating unique content. You are all unique, so take advantage of that. Just be yourself, everyone else is taken.
So now back to the platform that is creating monsters, I really love Instagram, I adore it with all my heart, but its current state is getting me sick. Since it was bought by Facebook things constantly changed. Why tho? Probably because they want people to invest in their non-effective promotion tools. I’ve been testing out Facebook ads and post boosts in 2016 and guess what? They’re just a waste of money, those tools don’t boost your posts or your page. I was getting a few likes on my photos, but the reach was the same as when I didn’t have the posts boosted and the likes I was getting were from some weird looking pages that looked like fake profiles. So after a few months of testing it out I came to the conclusion that it’s just a waste of money and I stopped doing it. So the same thing happens with the silly Instagram promotion tools. I haven’t tried those, but I have friends who did try them and had the same results as I had with Facebook ads. Their reach was low and the likes were coming from spam accounts. So why would we invest in something that’s not working? Just because you’re money hungry Instagram?
Let us reach the people who are following us, the people who are genuinely loving our work and want to see it. That’s pretty clear since they followed us in the first place, right? But oh well, I guess Instagram has a very different point of view. We worked on gaining a loyal following, so why are you trying to take that away from us? People have reported losing plenty of followers in the past few weeks, a lower increase in likes and a much lower reach. Thing is they did nothing different, they kept doing what worked best for them, but suddenly that seemed to go wrong. Same thing happened to me, I kept posting at my usual times, when most of my audience would be online and engage with my work, but somehow my posts didn’t perform as well as before. Switched to a business account to access Insights and my reach kept dropping for no reason. I’ll put that on the new algorithm which decides who is talented enough and who isn’t. They just keep encouraging the sheep effect, fake it till you make it. Put a fake smile on your face, show some skin, wear the shortest skirt in your wardrobe, your skinniest jeans, grow your hair, dye it blonde, buy a pastel preset and you’ll do good. Well, not everyone is willing to do that. You can’t force us all to stick to a very specific niche, we are different, I personally like seeing diversity, but all I see is copies, copies and more copies.
So Instagram, please stop messing up with our work and small business. Stop holding likes and engagement from us. It’s really funny when I look at my newest posts and compare them with older ones, the new ones receive about half of the engagement I used to get, that’s how growing looks like to you?
Just fix the algorithm already, bring back the chronological one, this one is harming us and affects a bunch of artists and businesses. As @sarahloven pointed out, ‘many users have experienced forced unfollows, their real life friends are no longer following them and they also noticed a drastic drop in their engagement’. So how are you making things better Instagram?
Stop it with the red flags and shadowbans for overly using too many hashtags. Why penalize people for using the max allowed number of hashtags? How does that make any sense to you? Also why shadowban people for using the same hashtags daily? Obviously we will use what works best for us. I took the time to research mine and found 30 hashtags that worked really well for me, why would I change them into something that wouldn’t be as good?
And on top of that, there are some new glitches, we are able to follow only up to 1-2 new accounts a day. LOL. What if I discover 10 kickass accounts and I want to follow them all? I can’t, because you don’t want to let people grow, right? These things are really ridiculous and I really hope more people will use their voice and talk about this problem. Feel free to share this article on your stories or wherever, let others know what’s going on too. #takebackInstagram