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These past few weeks (but really years), I have spent way too much time trying to figure out Instagram. The algorithm makes things choppier and choppier. My feed just seems to be filling up with prettier and more perfect pictures from other accounts. It feels like there’s no way to catch up.
As I focus on these things, I feel like I’m losing what I love about Instagram. I love connecting with people. I enjoy seeing pretty pictures, sure, but I also love hearing what’s on peoples’ hearts, hearing about their real lives. And it’s fun for me to create content, and also capture the moments in my own life.
So, that said, I just don’t have the energy to stress out about it anymore. Instead, I’m focusing on the parts of Instagram that I actually enjoy. Maybe you would even call it making Instagram fun again.
And truly, the accounts I appreciate the most on Instagram are the authentic ones. The ones with people who are like me, who have beautiful and messy parts to their lives, both.
Are you in the same boat as me? Maybe you’re tired of scrambling to keep up on Insta? It’s still possible to connect more and worry less on this social media platform. Here is how to be authentic on Instagram again:
1. Use Stories. This is one of my favorite new ways to share what’s going on, and interact with people is to create one of these short videos. It’s kind of like a glimpse behind the scenes. When I started I was dead against any kind of video because it terrified me. But being able to share what’s going on in the moment, and hear what’s going on in other people’s is actually really fun.
2. Share something heartfelt. While I don’t expect it of every post, I think some depth, some honesty, some heartfelt sharing in your caption is a good thing. Because not every post can be about the latest sale or your undying love for coffee. Although I’m not knocking those posts either – sometimes a light post or a quick note is all you need (or all you can do) for the day.
3. Respond to comments. This is something I’ve been failing at because I’ve been too concerned about other aspects of Instagram. But people commenting is such a special thing! It’s such a great way to keep the conversation going. I hate to think I’ve been throwing that away. I’m working on it for sure.
4. Post the good, the bad, and the ugly. I just can’t seem to make every post fit a theme, to schedule them in advance, and/or to have all the same look to them. It’s cool that people can take the time to do that and all. But sometimes my photos are fuzzy. Sometimes the lighting isn’t great, sometimes the editing isn’t the same, and sometimes it’s a picture of me with frizzy hair or a flatlay that doesn’t sit quite right. It’s okay. Hopefully it reminds you that I’m still human.
5. Leave genuine and thoughtful comments. Exploring other pages through hashtags, or through different posts is a fun way to get to know others. But comments like, “great picture” or “cool!” are rather spammy, and at least for me, don’t initiate a response. However it brightens my day when someone gives a well-thoughtout response to a question I’ve asked, or checks out a blog post I mention, or share something they’ve connected with from what I’ve said. Thank you, thank you, thank you for everyone who does that! It means for me less comments made, but much more authentic ones. And again, sometimes I just don’t have the time to do all of that, but hopefully I say something that will encourage you, even if it’s short.
6. Shoutout your favorite accounts and brands. What a boost it is to get a compliment or a virtual high five on Insta! I don’t necessarily mean Target, although it would be cool if they responded. I mean small businesses, or local ones. Or another blogger or friend. It goes a long way.
Why do I stress so much about Instagram? Because it’s a big part of my blog – a way to connect with others, a creative way for me to keep memories, and also a way that I work with brands. I do monetize, and it’s something I’ve really worked hard to grow and keep up with, so I can continue to help support my family and do what I love to do. I mean, let’s look at my pictures from the beginning until now:
I’d say there’s a bit of a difference. And some of the thanks for that goes to Instagram for Success, an e-course with Helene Sula. Talk about authentic – even as a huge blogger, Helene still takes time to genuinely interact with teeny accounts like mine. What initially made me go for the class was not only her own proven success with Instagram, but also her interactions with her followers, her attitude that there’s enough room for all bloggers to do well, and just the way she is herself in her pictures and posts.
After taking the class, I saw more interaction on Instagram than I ever had before. I learned how to edit my photos, and felt empowered to try new things. Plus Helene is so sweet and doesn’t just hit you with a bunch of facts, and then runs. She answers questions in her Facebook groups, and is constantly adding new information and testing new methods.
Are you curious about upping your Instagram game? Looking to monetize, or want to find out the way to reach out to many more people through your account? While I don’t think you need to stress about it and I do think you should be authentic (see above), there are some strategies to help you get where you want to go. I definitely encourage you to enroll in the class. She opens it today, and is offering some amazing bonuses through July 20th – like a live coaching call and access to the Instagram group. The course closes July 26th.
Also, if you join using my link, shoot me an email at whatyoumakeitblog @ gmail . com . I’d love to send you a copy of a free 30-day Instagram challenge to see more growth and interaction on your account. (But if you’re on my email list, you’re getting a copy anyway, just because you’re you.)
What do you love or hate about Instagram? Let me know below!