There has been A LOT of talk about Instagram lately, the app we love to hate.
I've discussed my thoughts on Instagram before in this post here, and whilst nothing has changed in terms of the way I feel towards Instagram and my feed itself, the algorithm, unfortunately has... Again!
Instagram mixed up the way in which we see the content our favourite creators and even our friends are sharing with us, for what feels like the zillionth time. It's left MANY people feeling frustrated and taking to Twitter or Instagram stories to ask politely that you turn on their notifications, that you engage with their last 10 photos and comment with at least four words... And whilst these theories are all well and good, I bloody wish they would kindly stop.
This is my job, correct.
And it's many of my favourite Instagram accounts jobs too, so don't get me wrong, I TOTALLY get it. But it's boring and as I said in my last post, it really is not the end of the world. I am yet to try any of the above algorithm beating tactics so I can't comment as to whether they actually work, but I recently read a piece by Man Repeller on "How to Get More Instagram Likes: A Theory" a piece I really enjoyed reading, as I do ALL of their articles; and whilst I read it with a smile on my face (again as I do with ALL of their articles) I have to say it did bug me a little bit.
Basically Leandra Medine's theory to receiving more Instagram likes is to ensure that you take each and every photograph on an i-Phone or other camera phone, a theory I have to say I have heard before and actually tried out late last year. A theory that quite frankly I think is a load of bull, for want of a better word.
Leandra explained how she shared the same image of her looking oh so gorgeous with a towel on her head adorned in the most gorgeous gold jewellery first on an i-Phone and secondly shot on her Canon DSLR. She found that the i-Phone snap received over 12,000 more likes than that of the "professional" camera shot, interesting. But similarly to the babes Sophie and Millie over on the "Keeping It Candid" podcast (you MUST MUST MUST give it a listen, I am suitably obsessed!) my initial thoughts were how I wish she'd have shared the camera snap before the i-Phone image. I've always found that sharing the same outfit more than once will naturally show in the number of likes. It's not as fresh as it was the first time you shared it so it makes sense that people are less engaged (not that, that stops me)
I do wonder if the results had been a little different if they had been shared in reverse order?
I tested out this theory back in Summer just before I shared my initial post about the Instagram algorithm and after reading a trend report about Instagram user habits on WGSN. I trialled snapping my daily outfits and musings solely on my i-Phone 7 Plus, and whilst granted, these posts performed well and *sometimes* better than those shot on a camera, it wasn't the huge jump in engagement I was expecting.
These photos took me half the time to shoot, which is definitely a plus side of shooting on a phone; everyone has a phone and knows how to take a photo using them, so it was easy to ask whoever I was with to snap away and to nail the shot within the first few frames. Editing, similarly was a doddle, quick and easy.
However, I did NOT feel the same joy or excitement for those photographs. I didn't feel the excitement I usually have for sharing a photo and seeing your reactions and I certainly felt no joy or creativity when creating the snap. It was too quick, too easy and I simply didn't like the rawness of the shot.
I want to look at my Instagram feed and feel proud of what I have created. I want it to showcase my style, my creativity, my personality and if that means shooting on a camera and losing out on a couple thousand likes, then so be it.
I take my Instagram snaps on the Canon G7X Mark II, a pocket sized camera that I use for daily vlogging too. It's a nifty little camera and is extremely easy for anyone to use. It creates crisp and colourful images something I found my phone shots weren't doing enough, yet this camera showcases a "snap & go" aesthetic with a somewhat rawness to them, similarly to that of an i-Phone snap so I feel that I have found my happy medium.
Being a creator I want to be proud of each and every square on my feed, I want to know that I have put my heart and soul into taking the photograph, to editing the photograph and writing the copy to go along with it and I have to say i-Phone snaps did none of the above for me.
So with that and all the chat around Instagram, algorithms and theories I'm flicking the V's or a middle finger if you wish, to the numbers. It's taken me some time to get there but I can now honestly say that the numbers really don't affect me like they used to. Some images will out-perform others by almost double and hey, thats okay. We can't control the algorithm, so why waste time and energy freaking out about it?
As long as I am feeling my feed and I know that my key, loyal supporters, followers and readers are still digging, then that is MORE than enough for me.
The Keeping It Candid podcast that I briefly mentioned above dedicated an entire episode to this debate, something I found totally interesting indeed. Both Sophie and Millie had fantastic points and personal experiences to share but I relate more to Millie's frame of mine when it comes to Instagram and art.
Personally I am more attracted to artful pieces of content, whether that be shot by phone or by camera and I find myself double tapping on more editorial style imagery for the most part. I find that personally this is achieved through camera photography, but thats not to say I don't engage with phone photography too.
As always this is just my opinion, of course you can create beautiful imagery using a phone, I just prefer my own content to be shot by camera, algorithm and all.
However, I completely understood where Sophie was coming from, i-Phone snaps work incredibly well for her and many others, so why change it!?
This brings me onto my next point beautifully and that is that Instagram isn't a one size fits all platform. You can't replicate what others do and expect the same kind of return, it simply doesn't work that way. It's about staying true to yourself, thinking outside of the box and offering something a little unique. You need to work out what works for you and for your followers and run with it. There is no Instagram-by-numbers and thats something that we should champion and celebrate; it's a beautiful thing that creating the perfect Insta-snap is different for each and every one of us, that we engage in very different ways and with very different pieces of content, theres something out there for us all, whether that be content to engage with or creating content yourself, the trick is to explore it for yourself.
So with that, and the ever changing Instagram algorithm I'm asking you to join me with sticking a middle finger up to numbers! Your account might not be growing the way it used to, heck mine isn't, but it truly doesn't matter to me anymore. I'm happy with the circle of fashionistas that I have, it's a lovely, positive and engaged community and whilst they might not always see every single thing I post, I know they'll (you'll) see it eventually. Create what you love whether that be by phone or by camera and be proud of what you're sharing. Lets go back to using Instagram as a platform for self expression and creativity rather than as a soul business opportunity.
What do you think? Do you have any Instagram-algorithm-theories yourself? Or do you just roll with the punches like me? I'd love to know whether you personally engage with camera shots or phone shots or whether it really doesn't matter to you at all? Despite there being a lot of talk about Instagram lately I'd really love to hear your thoughts on it, whether it be the constant moaning of others, the annoyance of not seeing what you want or how you engage with what you like, lets chat it out in the comments.
See you there.
P.S follow me... LOL JOKE!