I think I am not alone when I say: I am frustrated with Instagram as a creator. The huge demand for Instagram algorithm advice on YouTube kind of speaks for itself. It is one of the hot topics of this time, especially since about everybody tried to be an influencer in 2020, disguised as either an »entrepreneur« or an »online business«. Or my favorite: the »mompreneur« aka SAHM with an Instagram account who got gifted an RX100 for their anniversary.
Yeah, I’m kind of fed up with it. Over are the golden days, when you could just publish whatever and get likes. Real likes from real people that would not actually just come to your account to make you interested in theirs. I miss that. Because I actually liked Instagram. I liked the idea of having this cute little photo album of my life where I could memorize some nice moments.
However, it turned into that data consuming monster for polished creator portfolios, and I’m just not into that big of a hustle. Photos, yeah sure, that’s fine. But now it wants to be everything. It wants to be YouTube and TikTok at the same time, and I’m just like: Please, leave me alone!
Nonetheless, I want to give it one more try. After all, it is my portfolio. I like using the platform for how easy it is to talk to strangers, to connect with followers from YouTube and just the whole community experience. You don’t have that on YouTube at this level.
So for the next few months, I want to be more consistent with my Instagram and I will run a little experiment on it. I actually batched my content for three months and I will upload it all through Facebook Creator Studio. That’s in my opinion the easiest way to schedule posts on Instagram. I personally hate apps like Later, which charge you for something as basic as grid preview and scheduling posts (especially since this is very easy to program and the GUI of Later is a slow and hot mess on top of it).
I want to do this at the level of posting 3 times a week very consistently for those 3 months. Therefore, I need about 40 images overall, and the only thing I will have to worry about are the stories then at this point.
From previous experiments I know that follower numbers correlate with number of story posts per week, not with number of feed posts. Feed posts however have another important role. They land you in suggestions due to classification by hashtags. So, if you keep using the right hashtags in your feed posts, you will be suggested to an audience of people who might actually be a good fit for you.
That is why I think it makes sense to give it another try. Because I kind of neglected that. And I also didn’t post consistently. I am more of a »one week 5 posts, then a 10 week break« person. The algorithm doesn’t like that.
What actually happens if you do that is that your maximum reach is restricted. That is, Instagram cuts of your reach so that you will not get more views and therefore likes (1:1 correlates) on your posts than what you got on your last post(s) before the break. I don’t know why that is, but that is basically how they choose the upper limit.
So if you don’t post for a month, you will not be able to get more likes than what you had on your last post, no matter how awesome, likeable and shareable it is. I have tried that on my own account and also measured it in a lot of other influencers’ accounts. It seems to be accurate in about 98% of cases.
With my little experiment, I want to find out whether or not I get less reach because of inconsistency or lack of niche content. Those two things are the ones which are the hardest for me. I hate just posting content from just one niche, so I have been fairly inconsistent in even thinking about what I post. I like to just share my thoughts and random ideas. They are curated in a way, that it’s mostly about sustainability and minimalism. But still, it is not very specific, and it’s all about myself.
After all, this is what I find bothersome in most accounts and it is the number one reason I don’t follow people. The people I follow are either friends, super interesting or they provide value and inspiration. I can’t be everybody’s friend. So I have to be one of the latter. I personally don’t think I’m super interesting. So what I am trying to achieve is moderately interesting personal but objectively valuable content. Let’s see if that works out or if it annoys me too much.
I mean, I do think it is possible to share your life and value at the same time. I don’t think that just because your account is about sustainability, all you can share is that, and if there’s a portrait of you, people will get mad. On the contrary. I’ve seen it many times that the beautiful pictures are like the entrance, the value and the topic are the hallway, and the personal stuff is the living room. You want to hook people by showing them what you can do with your camera, but essentially people want that personal relationship. And I do think that Instagram is nice for that. Because what is all of this for if not for a connection with your community? If you just post stuff for yourself, you can have a private account, right?