Instagram, how to survive the algorithm changes
The chances are that if you have never had to work with Instagram, your idea of it pretty much goes like this:
You post a pretty picture (or not) of your child, your cat or you spaghetti bolognese from last night, in passing you post your latest product or creation and you expect a lot of “wow”, “awesome”, “did you make that?!” kind of comments from people ranging from Sally (your school mate from 5th grade you haven’t seen in 25 yrs) or your mum who loves nothing more than stalking you on Instagram.
This is as simple as this, no plan, no agenda, just what goes on in your head as you type.
Working effectively with any Social Media platform however is nothing like that. Let’s make it clear from the get go.
One thing I have found to be true is that you can’t expect results on social media without a strategy but what is also very true is that you can’t be too strategic or business focussed either.
Balance is what you want to aim for.
Used properly social media will help you to connect with potential buyers and create valuable conversations and emotional connections with them. You will also be able to learn who they are and what they want to see more of.
Social Media also helps brands reach people they would have never been able to reach before. However expecting it to be the main driver to your sales page can be misleading.
Think of it this way, as a creative your audience will want to see more than just your products and special offers. They expect, demand even, to be let in your world. What you choose to share or where you place your boundaries is entirely up to you but sharing your story will help you develop connections that will become invaluable and people who are ready to be in it with you for the long haul.
Now, only doing this will most certainly bring your friends, but you also want clients.
Clients will want to know, in amongst other things, what you make, how you make it, what inspires you, how you package your products, how you source your supplies, etc.
Get the balance right and you will gather a tribe who are ready to buy as soon as you release a new product, who will help you grow outside of your audience and will keep coming back.
To start this Mindset shift you will need to ask yourself some very important questions:
Be clear on your goals
Why are you on Instagram? What do you want your followers to know about you? What are you willing to share and where do you draw a line? What would you like your audience to say about you when you are not in the room? What type of content can you post to make it happen? Does your voice convey the same message?
Get to know your followers!
Connect! Don’t focus on numbers, focus on quality interaction. Even if you have 23 followers, that’s 23 people! Get to know them, support them, show you care and see your connections blossom.
Don’t get defeated if at first it is slow, it always will be. Stay consistent!
Create consistent content
Before you go head first into creating lots of content and hope for the best, take a breather and observe. One great thing to do is to wander around the platform and look for people who sell and create similar products to yours. Which ones do you feel most attracted to and why? Which type of content seem to consistently attract the most interactions?
When you are ready to start creating content, think of a schedule which feel realistic and that you can follow easily. You do not have to post everyday but you want to find a comfortable routine.
Remember to mix your type of content and try to use all of the features the platform offers. Some will feel more comfortable than others but remember that the algorithm likes you to use it all and loves seeing reactions and interactions so mix the type of content to engage your audience.
Pick a photostyle that reflects your branding. Ask yourself “if my followers were to see a photo without my name, would they recognize it is from me?”
Lack of consistency is a problem and I have to be honest with you, I battle with this affliction daily but it is a major key to success.
And don’t forget
One thing is for sure, from someone who has been navigating Social Media professionally since 2008, expecting to establish a strategy and never have to review it is a complete utopia. A land where unicorns roam around.
The only constant in all of it is the people! If you only focus on one thing that has to be building true, real connections and if you keep in mind that each follower (who is not a bot) is an actual real person, that you have the opportunity to meet and grow to know, you will build relationships that will follow you through these changes.
Trying to work the algorithm is in my personal opinion quite foolish and absolutely tiresome and draining.
Instead, focus on attracting your followers to your list where you can deepen the connection and where you do not risk to be invisible overnight if Instagram or any other social media platform decides to change the rules!
Hello,I am Peggy!
French, Mother of boys, married to a Brit and living in Chicagoland since 2014.
A career in Marketing and Event Management, followed by running my own Branding and Online Marketing consultancy, a big relocation, running a craft based business later and here we are now!
I work with Makers, Crafters and Artists who are struggling to make sense of the business aspect of running a handmade business and create resources entirely focused on bitesize and easy to implement content.
I am also a Hand Embroidery Artist at French Mango, and I teach and create embroidery patterns.
Get in touch