2018 has been a year of ups and downs for everyone on Instagram, with so many algorithm changes - who can even keep up?!
How many times does Insta need to tip everything upside down and leave people scrambling to work out what on earth is going on?
I've seen so many bloggers and influencers throw in the towel this year after their posts' engagement just crashed.
And I totally get it...
I mean, why spend so much time and effort creating content, engaging and spending pretty much your entire life on the app (that's how it feels sometimes) if Insta is only going to show your posts to a smidge of your following?
Frustrating doesn't even cover it.
So... my Insta-year started off pretty well, my engagement and following were on the up and one by one, bigger brands started contacting me to collaborate with them. (Eeek!)
In January I was invited to a Blogger Brunch (thanks to Robyn - ) where I met so many amazing bloggers! We talked about all things Insta and I quizzed them on how they were growing, what their Insta-tactics were and best apps to use for collabs etc.
Aside from the networking, it was so lovely getting to meet other girls who share my passion and whilst I live at the other end of the country to most of the bloggers who were at the event, some of the girls I met will be friends for life!
Apps & Pods
After the event, I joined a few more Insta pods (don't get me started on the pod debate - they work if you use them properly!) and my engagement was on the up!
Over the year I've also tried out so many apps and programs to edit my photos to create the consistent, clean theme that I love.
I tried out:
...the list goes on! But I've found that I've always returned to the app I used at the start of the year which is Facetune... but the newer version of it, Facetune 2.
The whitening tool on this app is just so much better than any other I've used!
I also then run the photo through Colorstory to adjust the tone and then check it fits with my feed using Preview (I've tried UNUM but always come back to Preview).
I'm still not entirely happy with my feed but I'm pretty fussy, so I doubt I will ever be completely happy with it.
The Return of the Dreaded Algorithm Change
So, after everything was on the up... the dreaded algorithm change came.
Instagram changes things up and adds new stuff all the time - which is awesome, I love trying out new features - but this time it was the change that the entire blogging/influencing world hated.
Us bloggers and influencers were forced into virtually begging people to turn on post notifications for the chance of even being seen by our followers...
That's how bad it was.
If posts weren't being shown to followers, engagement would drop and so would the views on the content you've spent so long working on.
That was the point when my engagement went through the floor.
It's so depressing when I spend so much time planning and creating content... but I suppose that's just how the cookie crumbles. (And why it's why I started to focus more on my blog... but more about that in a minute!)
The Shopping Didn't Stop
I kept going... If anything, it was a perfect excuse to keep shopping and finding new pieces of clothing to style and match, in the hope that Instagram might be nice and show my posts to my followers.
For the last couple of months there's not been much of a change and whilst my content is picking up engagement again (super slowly!), my following seems to be on the up.
So What's Next?
If you follow Gary V on social media, or have read any of his books (I seriously recommend reading Crushing It! if you're building a business using social media!) you might have heard him preach that you 'shouldn't get down over the numbers - ignore them and keep doing what you do, they'll pick up'.
So at the moment, I'm kinda taking Gary V's advice but... I'm also kinda not taking it at the same time.
I mean, if I agonised over the numbers everyday, I'd be so stressed out. But I do keep an eye on them from a distance. I like to think of it like feedback... if I'm producing good content, the followers come.
If my following drops, maybe I need to mix things up a little?
Or maybe it's just an Insta-blip... who knows?
For example... my 'product shot' posts get way less engagement than my outfit posts - I only know this by looking at the numbers and doing so over a long period of time. But this means that I can tailor my content plan and post more of what people want to see.
I'm spending a little less time on Instagram at the moment - still posting daily and engaging with my fave accounts, looking for styling ideas and new trends etc., but not jumping on the app and refreshing it every time I open my phone.
In 2019 I'm going to be focussing more of my time on my blog and my other ventures (to be revealed - watch this space!).
One of the reasons behind doing this is the fact that my Instagram account and following is never really my own - it belongs to Instagram... but on a self-hosted blog like this one, the content and email list is mine.
Anything I post on my blog will stay there until I choose to remove it and each post helps to build my personal brand and reputation.
I mean, I know this is unlikely but what's to stop Instagram deleting your profile?
Or removing your followers?
It's their platform.
They own it.
And unfortunately, they can do what they want with it.
Just some food for thought if you don't have a blog yet!
On that note, here are a few stats I took from my Instagram account for 2018:
Instagram Growth 2018
Instagram following at 1 Jan 2018: 16,647
Instagram following at 30 Dec 2018: 20,055
Growth of 3,408 (+20.4%)
Instagram posts at 1 Jan 2018: 291
Instagram posts at 30 Dec 2018: 765
Growth of 474 (+163%)
Top Post of 2018
And finally, one thing I definitely believe in is consistency.
Consistency is key.
And that's what I'm going to focus on going forward and I'm not going to let Instagram get in the way of everything else.
(I'm still kinda addicted though...).