Wednesday, May 19, 2021

So You're In an Instagram Rut?

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If you're here, chances are you're also a content creator who feels frustrated, burned out, defeated, or a combination of all three. We’ve all been there and lately, I’ve been feeling defeated with Instagram.  

Instagram seems to be constantly changing and evolving and can throw content creators for a loop (they hate to see a girl boss winning (IYKYK LOL)). Although an algorithm can be a factor - I don’t like solely blaming it on the platform.  

I have been blogging for almost three and a half years and I have seen a lot of ebbs and flows come and go. You can have really high, high's and really low, low's. There are a lot of ways to address the problem both on and off Instagram to help you and your brand. 

Although I do not have a perfect answer, in my full-time job when we analyze data we ask ourselves questions and dig deep for the 'why'.  It can feel intimidating or exposing but I feel like this strategy in this realm of my life also may help you all as well as myself. Below are some different ideas and questions to help you do some self-analyzing. 

Do An Audit of Your Page and Content 


Take an honest look at your page or ask a close friend to. This can help identify some small tweaks and easy fixes that could help your content. 

  • Are there areas of content you’re missing? 
  • Are there different ways to word your captions? Are you asking questions or are you just talking about yourself?
  • Is your content creating value? Do people come to your page for something specific that you haven’t been posting about as much lately? 
  • Do your followers leave your page having learned something? Or are they listening to you complain day-in and day-out?
  • What’s your content mix? 
  • Is what you’re sharing is shared by a lot of accounts similar to yours? Are your ideas your own?
  • Are you utilizing video where appropriate? Are there ways to incorporate it?

These questions are meant to help you jumpstart a creative process! By letting go of some parts of your brand that aren't working for you, you're able to channel that energy into other parts or find new ways to engage with your audience.

Focus on Other Platforms 


The truth of the matter is that Instagram could go away tomorrow! It’s a free platform so although you’ve built your platform on it, they wouldn’t owe you anything! 

Finding your other platform may seem like a chore at first but working it into your content creation can be easier than you think. 

  • What parts of blogging am I good at? This could be writing, video editing, graphic making, connecting others - don't downplay your abilities!
  • What parts of blogging come naturally to me? Is it sharing recipes, sharing home decor, sharing daily affirmations - what are you naturally good at?
  • Now, what platforms help you highlight, work on and grow what you're good at?

When I created my blog I also created this website to be able to write because that was one of the bigger reasons I started my platform. I share content on here in conjunction with Instagram to give all of your more resources and also because this is a domain I own so as long as I pay for it to be live it will lives in this corner of the internet. 

I’ve had friends who have broken into TikTok because they felt stagnant on Instagram and have seen great success! Some of my friends share religiously on Pinterest. Taking content that you may create for Instagram and repurpose it for other platforms (and vice versa) helps you broaden your reach without recreating the wheel. Everyone has their own path and different strengths so experiment until you find yours in addition to Instagram! 
 

Refresh Your Content 


This sounds very time-intensive and like I'm a crazy person but I'm not suggesting you redo your page, I'm saying give it a little makeover! 

  • Do you need to lessen your presets? Do you need a preset? 
  • Are you posting at times that your audience is engaged or times that fit into your busy schedule? 
  • Are you responding to comments left on your photos in a timely manner?
  • Does your content provide value? What do your followers look to you for?
  • Are the Instagram Story filters you're using completely changing the way your face looks?
  • Have you gauged what your followers are looking for lately? Whether it's a specific kind of restaurant, city to visit, outfit, the perfect eyeshadow - be a resource! 
  • Are you sharing what's on your heart? Or is every Instagram Story asking them to buy something?
  • Do you share things about your life that others can relate to? Or are you complaining day after day because that's what you are used to?
  • Do you continually promise followers content and then never follow through?
  • Is your content balanced? Is every post an ad for something you wouldn't actually use? Do you only share from one retailer? 

Admittedly, I've been trying to better balance my content myself. That was something I realized upon an analysis of my own content and that's okay! As a brand, sometimes what you try doesn't work and you have to shift in order to achieve what you want. What I want is to continue to provide value for my followers and create organic conversation. So I'm going to shift content in a way I think is realistic and also beneficial.


To refresh, you could try:
  • New poses, new backgrounds, new captions!
  • Different Instagram Story formats. This could be try on hauls, polls, and questions to start conversations, removing "hey guys just wanted to pop on quick", share daily parts of your life even if they're not 'on brand'.
  • Batching content so you don't feel stressed in-between content deadlines. 
  • Predrafting captions and blog posts when you have time and feel inspired so you do feel rushed or flustered.

Interact With New Accounts 


Let's do an audit of who you follow and who follows you. Weeding through accounts that either inspire you and you look forward to consuming or accounts that deplete you is kind of like clearing your workspace. When you're cleaning off your desk or a space in your home, you get rid of the items that no longer serve a purpose - so if there's a meme account or a celebrity account or a business account that doesn't inspire you or that you enjoy following, let's clear it from your space!

  • Are you following accounts that inspire you? 
  • Are there accounts that you follow that haven't posted in more than 18 months?
  • Do you interact with accounts that also support you? 
  • Are you in engagement groups? (Because if you are GET OUT NOW!)
  • Do you follow bloggers and brands in your niche? 

For me, finding other curvy bloggers and brands that supported and catered to curvy women was a gamechanger for my mental health. It helped me feel like I belonged and that there was a space for me. Look for new accounts or new-to-you accounts of other bloggers in your area, who have the same style or taste as you, or who have similar interests. Those are your people and they can be good ways to widen your inspiration and can be good people to network with because you have things in common.

Take A Break 


At the end of the day, sometimes the brain needs to rest to be the most productive. If you can step away for a day, a weekend, a week, whatever you need - sometimes that's the best solution! When you're burned out, it's going to be evident in your content. You may be smiling in a pretty photo but your caption, your Stories, and your interactions are going to be telltale signs that you're suffering.

No one wants you to suffer! Sometimes you need to skip posting so you can go on a walk, go to the gym, get your nails done, get a spray tan, whatever is going to make you feel better! For a really long time, I felt like I have to be on 24/7 on Instagram or good things wouldn't happen for me. I would get burned out, my anxiety would spike, and my interpersonal relationships would suffer because the people who cared about me saw I needed a break and I wouldn't listen. 

So I started building breaks into my week. I try to take Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoons off of actively posting content on Instagram. I also try to pick a day or two in my week when I don't have deadlines that I can catch up on blog admin work instead of creating new content that I then also have to add to my to-do list to catch up on. 

Building in breaks and time into your schedule to do things just for you where you can is crucial for your long-term mental health as well as the longevity of your business! While I speak from a place of a single city girl, I truly believe my mindset can be adapted to anyone's lifestyle. Making sure you build in breaks into your blogging lifestyle however that might look for you is important and you'll notice a difference as you implement them. 

Even when it can feel like an app is working against us, it’s important to remember that our mindset and mental health are also important in these scenarios! I encourage you to work through some of these questions throughout the blog post because although it may feel uncomfortable or harsh, it's only going to help you engage and be better for your following. Which at the end of the day, isn't that the point?

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