Across the board, we’ve been noticing that many accounts are getting less comments & likes than usual. We’ve even noticed a change on our own personal accounts. So, what gives? Is your Instagram engagement down due to an algorithm change? Is your content lackluster?
We don’t have all the answers, but here are some possible factors contributing to the decrease in engagement you’re seeing:
There’s been a lot of hype lately about changes coming to the Instagram app, especially since the head of Instagram just recently told us that “Instagram is no longer just a photo sharing app.” Videos are now taking over the platform, so video content like IGTV & Reels are now being prioritized by the algorithm. If you’ve been only posting still images & carousels, they may not be reaching as many people, resulting in less engagement.
This isn’t something anyone wants to hear, but let’s get introspective for a moment—would you follow you? Are you excited by the content you’re creating? Would you engage with your content? If you’re not putting out the type of content you’d be inspired to engage with, then why should you expect anyone else to?
We often forget that in our immersion in the digital space, an entire world exists outside of our phones. In many places all over the world, humans are gradually emerging from their homes & trying to navigate (& enjoy) the outside world post-pandemic. After spending a year & a half cooped up in our homes with nothing but screens to entertain us, aren’t you tempted to put the phone down & indulge in the pleasures you’ve spent a year without?
- The pandemic has had a lot of influence on how humans interact with other humans. In the past year, we’ve seen a drastic increase in the need for empathy, compassion, unity, & joy. While being immersed in the online world for over a year, humans have become highly discerning of the type of content they consume & engage with. Specifically, we are gravitating more towards content that entertains us, makes us feel seen, heard, & understood, & invokes feelings of safety, happiness, & hope. If your content is not evoking these emotions in your audience, you may be seeing a drastic decrease in engagement.
- There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to content creation & online branding & marketing. Your engagement woes may be due to one of these factors, or a mix of multiple.
So what are some best practices you can implement in order to bring back your account from the dead?
- The numbers you see on social media are easily skewed, often fabricated, & rarely indicative of business success. Personally, some of my posts with the highest rate of conversion have the least amount of engagement. Just because your engagement is down doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. Social media is a fickle beast, so try looking at different metrics to measure your progress that aren’t affected by the changing tides of the algorithm (conversations & connections with other humans, website visits, sales, etc)
- People often get so caught up in driving engagement that they forget about driving impact. This leads to washed out content that appeals to the masses, instead of truly influential content that appeals to the core of the people you’re trying to reach. Engagement ≠ influence. True influence & impact comes from thought leadership, taking risks, & taking the time to connect on a deeper level with your audience. The moral of the story? Go deep, not wide.
- Truth be told, Instagram engagement is the least of our worries over here at Zehra Studio. If the platform were to go dark tomorrow, we’d still have multiple other platforms (including our own website) to utilize to ensure that our business presence is protected. Instead of being at the mercy of the Instagram algorithm, invest your time & money in diversifying your brand across multiple channels & platforms. A website with an email capture form is a much more effective & efficient way to reach & maintain an audience. Check out our web design packages, here!
Like I said before, human behavior has changed. We are seeing a rise in the need for empathy, compassion, unity, & joy. We are collectively turning away from content that makes us feel scarce, & intentionally consuming more content that makes us feel safe, happy, & entertained. Now more than ever, humans have a need to be seen, heard, & understood on a deep, intrinsic, emotional level. Content created around pain points & scarcity marketing tactics is not working any more. Content rooted in vulnerability, emotional connection, & abundance is.
At the end of the day, social media should be a place that brings you joy. If it’s becoming an energy drain for you, or causing more harm than good to your business or mental health, it’s time to put the app down & find something that lights you up. Humans are naturally inspired when they are at play & doing things they enjoy, and that inspiration will carry over into your digital presence, & into the interactions you have with others in the digital space as well.
I know it can be scary to see your Instagram engagement dip, & to immediately start thinking about all the people you’re not impacting. It can also feel difficult to keep creating when it appears that less people are seeing your content. Sometimes, it can even feel like shouting into the void.
But let me leave you with these parting words—
The most impactful brands are intentional, repetitive, & consistent. The only way to ensure that you establish a strong brand presence & legacy is to keep showing up.
You never know who’s watching. Sometimes, our biggest fans are the ones that engage with us the least & observe our every move, waiting to make a move of their own.
You are so much more powerful than some arbitrary metrics on Instagram.
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