People hate change, I get that. And with instagram's huge announcement yesterday about changing everyone's feed I'm hearing a lot of whining and complaining and nonsense about signing petitions and changing instagram's mind.
My first reaction to the news was “oh man, here we go again.” But it didn't take me long to change my tune. And here's why:
These are the top three factors instagram will use to filter your content at the top of the new feed: likes, comments and searches.
And this to me is good news. This is good news for all of us who have really engaged, really genuine, really organic followings and people who haven’t purchased their followers. Really, absolutely.
People who have bought fake followers (yes, that's a thing – a rampant thing) are going to have a serious uphill battle with the new instagram algorithm, because it's all going to be about genuine engagement. Getting your posts shown will reward those who have real people following their accounts with real comments and real likes.
Basically, it's going to get more expensive and more pointless to be a cheater.
And I think it’s actually gonna be good for people with smaller followings too! Because when I had smaller following, it was easier for me to engage one-on-one with a lot of my followers. I could respond to almost every single comment. In fact, until my Instagram hit 10,000 followers, I made sure I responded to every single comment. When someone said to me, “oh I love that outfit,” every time I would respond to them with a “aw thanks so much!” or a kissy-face emoji or a heart or something. Something that let that person know I saw them and appreciated them. Now with 71k+ followers, that's much more difficult, but I try to catch all the genuine questions and still interact as much as possible.
Instagram told the Wall Street Journal that in addition to likes, comments, and searches, Instagram will evaluate users’ “relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post” to decide what will show at the top of the newsfeed.
I look at this and say to myself, “okay obviously I can't have a personal relationship with 71 thousand people on instagram.” But what I can control is my amount of engagement back and forth with my followers, making sure I'm posting content that they find beautiful or exciting or engaging, and that’s gonna tell the Instagram algorithm to keep showing my stuff to them.
My latest trick for growing my instagram goes right along perfectly with this new algorithm. And you might think this is silly hogwash nonsense, but I am telling you right now, it's working for me.
Let me give you the back story first. When I started growing my instagram, I grew like a weed. I went from 0 to 10k in under a year, and I did it by working hard, posting 3-4 times a day, responding to and engaging with my readers, and posting content that people were excited to see in their feed.
But when instagram's first algorithm happened, the one that started hiding my content from people, I complained and I complained a LOT. In fact, if you know me personally you've probably heard something come out of my mouth to the tune of “I'm so annoyed that my instagram has become stagnant,” or “it's so frustrating, my instagram just isn't growing like it used to!”
And it was true! I was trending to hit over 100k followers by the end of 2015 but after instagram's first algorithm, my growth almost came to a screeching halt. My followers weren't seeing my stuff, and it was obvious. Incredibly frustrating, considering the fact that I've taught classes on how to grow your instagram following at blog conferences, to large corporations, and I just could not figure this one out.
But what I recently realized I was doing was MANIFESTING that crap out loud! There is SO MUCH POWER in what you say out loud. So if you walk around saying all day that you can't achieve something, you'll tell yourself and everything around you that you can't. You're making it worse.
So what I decided to do a couple of weeks ago was to turn it around. I started saying out loud every day, “oh my gosh, my instagram is growing like a weed again! I can't believe how many new followers found my account today. This is amazing!” I said it out loud and I said it several times a day, out loud. I put a reminder on my iPhone wallpaper screen to manifest positivity about my instagram growing. And guess what? I grew 4 times faster over the course of one week than I had the entire previous month. Anthropologie re-grammed me to their 2 million followers, friends were tagging their friends more in my photos, and GOOD THINGS just started happening to me! There's POWER in our words. Especially the words we say out loud.
So you want to beat the new algorithm? You're not going to do it by complaining, wailing, weeping, or ranting. You're going to do it by having a positive outlook and saying it so much out loud that you start to believe yourself. It will sound something like this: “Instagram's algorithm is a good thing because it rewards people who have a genuine, engaged following.”
Most importantly, you're going to trigger that algorithm by having a genuine relationship with your real followers that you didn't buy from some cheater site, but by engaging with the people who pressed “follow” in the first place because they believed in your ability to make their day more beautiful, fun, interesting or inspiring.