In 2018 Instagram ruled out their new algorithm, and many of us were challenged to say the least! While it’s been a tough road for many to adjust, one thing is for certain, the algorithm is here to stay! Despite all of this chaos, I have still managed to grow my Instagram from 1,000-20,000 followers in a span of four months (my current record is 10,000 in a single month!) That’s more than some people grow in an entire year!
But does having more followers mean much anymore? Not exactly. Profitable > Popular.
There are many questions surrounding Instagram lately, and I have heard a LOT of myths and rumors spreading around. I asked YOU to tell me what Instagram myths and rumors you have heard, and in this blog post I am discussing 4 of them! I hope that debunking (or backing them up) and providing a best practice for each one of these “myths” will help you improve your Instagram strategy to yield optimal results. These strategies will actually help you increase your Instagram growth, boost your exposure, and even bring in the cash flow.
So, friends, here we go! The 5 common Instagram engagement myths that are completely false!
Myth #1: Switching to an Instagram business account negatively impacts you on Instagram.
There are many Instagram guru’s who preach that if you switch from a personal account to a business account, it affects your reach and engagement. I think the bottom line is this, if you are a business, you should have a business account. One more thing – if you want to work with brands, they NEED your analytics! Brands absolutely will not work with you if you don’t have a business account.
With a business account you can actually see the number of unique people that saw your post (your reach) and the overall number of times it was seen (your impressions.) You also have access to advertising tools, email, and have valuable insights to when your followers are most active on Instagram – helloooo best time to post!
Since Instagram founders have resigned, it will be interesting to see where Instagram goes in the future, but we can also look at what Mark Z. said at the beginning of 2018. He mentioned that they would be favoring content that inspired connection and conversation, regardless of whether you were an individual, a business, a group, and that they would implement these changes across all of there platforms.
What does this mean for you? Always make sure that you are creating captions for your posts that compel someone to respond! For example, “tag a person you would like to go here with” or tell a story that is inspiring, make some FEEL some type of way! Utilize Instagram stories with polls and questions as well! You just have to ask yourself, “if I were someone else looking at this post, how does this make me feel?” We want to educate, inspire, make people laugh, and share about ourselves, so that people will know, like, and trust you!
The algorithm is smart. I truly believe that it is able to identify an account as a business whether or not that user has a business account or not! I just created a new Instagram account @the_everyday_escapist and I am holding out on switching to a business account for the time being JUST TO SEE what all of the fuss about. Follow my account there and stay tuned!
Myth #2: You are “Shadowbanned” by using the same hashtags repeatedly
The jist of the shadowban is that when you post, your image isn’t appearing within the hashtags that you have added to your post. Time to shut this rumor down, you guys. THERE IS NO SHADOW BAN.
Here is what happened. Instagram was slowly transitioning to a new algorithm (which is now in full swing). Instagram no longer has a single “Explore” page that everyone sees, because everyone’s Explore page is different! It is uniquely curated for YOU based on YOUR previous activity. Everyone’s top posts for hashtags are now also different!! This is exactly why people thought that their account was being banned from hashtags – because the algorithm dictates which posts show up in hashtags for different users!
There are SO MANY FACTORS that determine how well a post performs. Many times, if a post doesn’t perform like we wanted it, we blame it on “hashtag fatigue.”
I think the important takeaway here is to make sure that your hashtags are relevant to your post. I have found that using 11 hashtags in my posts works best, and I keep 4 different sets of hashtags saved in my notes and rotate between them. You can use up to 30 so if that works best for you, GO FOR IT! If you’re looking for some travel/creative hashtag ideas, head here!
The average life span of a hashtag is 48 hours, so what you COULD do, is go back and delete your hashtags from your older posts to keep your hashtags fresh and new! I find that this is a good habit to get into!
Reach from hashtags has greatly increased so make sure you are doing hashtag research before posting (go check your insights, I’m sure you will be happy!) – this was a change in the latest algorithm!
Myth # 3: You need to spend hours on Instagram to see growth
Would you believe it if I told you that I spend 20 minutes or less on Instagram PER DAY?! There are SO MANY tools out there to help you streamline the process – if you use the right strategies and systems, and you put them into action in an efficient manner.
My tips: I personally never spend more than an hour per day on Instagram, even with TWO accounts! I truly believe that if you create and curate your content ahead of time, then pre-schedule your posts with Plann, you are ready to go for the week, or even the month, and you can focus on being more present in your life! Save your sets of hashtags ahead of time as well, in your notes or in apps like Plann or Later!
I like to edit my photos with Lightroom in batches at a time, upload them to Plann, and I like to also plan ahead what I want to say in my captions and save my ideas to google drive! When you edit and come up with a caption on the fly, it most of the time isn’t going to resonate with your audience. Never post in real time! Whenever I see a post that makes me feel some type of way, I make sure to save that post to give me some ideas of what I could say later on!
Use effective and efficient growth strategies. This way, you can spend as little time as possible putting this into action and still yield great results.
I dive into the specific strategies I used to grow TWO Instagram accounts by 10,000 followers in a SINGLE month (that’s 20,000 followers combined!) in my Everyday Escapist Instagram Course. Find more about the course right here.
MYTH #4: Instagram’s algorithm makes it almost impossible to reach your audience
I know a LOT of people were super frustrated when the algorithm first came out and Instagram started moving away from the chronological feed. While I have noticed my engagement decrease, I don’t believe the algorithm is to blame. Think about it…. EVERYONE is on Instagram Stories!!! People are no longer scrolling mindlessly through the feed, and they are instead scrolling through Instagram Stories!!
Because the habits of users have changed, we have to adapt! The feed is no longer the most important part of Instagram.
My Tip: Start utilizing Instagram Stories every day! Aim for a retention rate of 60% (which you will get if you have a business profile), and then keep working at it! Use apps like Unfold to create beautiful stories that align with your brand. Replicate that content your followers like! Maybe you noticed a certain day of the week you had more views, or a certain story.
My biggest engagement tip for you is to instead of spending hours a day mindlessly scrolling, replace this time with engagement time! Actually like and comment with your current followers, as well as finding ideal followers on your own by going into hashtags and other people’s account and following with/interacting with them. Get in this habit!
Instagram will only show your content to those who have engaged with you before. The more you engage with your followers, and they engage back, the more you will show up in their feed.
Myth #5: You should put your hashtags in the actual post, not the comments.
It actually works in both places! Just do whatever you prefer 🙂