A colourful fashion blog supporting independents & sustainable fashion in Bristol and beyond since 2011

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

What is happening to the Instagram algorithm?




How are you doing?

Feeling those lockdown-winter-January blues? It's not great is it? 

Since getting my blogging mojo back, I have started making lists about different topics I'd like to discuss in future posts. The mind-blowing conundrum of a topic that is sitting at the top of my list is...

What the hell is happening to the Instagram algorithm? 

Has anyone else noticed a big change recently? Have you experienced a drop in likes, reach or followers?

If you are a person who uses instagram as a platform to share your skills, your business and as a promotional tool, you will know that trying to keep up with instagram's ever-changing algorithm is like a full time job in itself.

The Instagram algorithm is constantly turning on you with unpredictable mood swings, it loves you one minute and showers you with gifts (followers) and then dumps you for your more expensive mate (fast fashion influencers and corporate companies) my gosh, I think the instagram algorithm is like the worst boyfriend ever! 

One minute your posts are pure gold, the next there's a drought of interactions from likes, reach and potential new followers!? Basically, you've been dumped! 




Let's set the scene.... After instagram shamelessly decided to randomly freeze my No Debutante account (and a whole load of other indie businesses, for no apparent reason) for a few weeks in September and then (equally as random) decided to reinstate my account - my instagram posts started getting a lot more likes and I was gaining followers without barely having to lift a finger, posting just once a week, if that. 

Maybe instagram had felt bad about this shameless exclusion and upped my reach...(you think insta really gives a shit about all the users its pissed off?? Hmm, wishful thinking perhaps) whatever it was those likes just kept coming.

The irony is, having that (forced) break up from instagram made me realise how much I really didn't miss posting and made me question why I was posting quite so often?  Of course, at first during my insta lockdown, I was fuming but then it was just...Meh...

To clarify, as a small business owner, I am super happy this did not happen to my Fruit Salad business account as this is currently my only outlet to my followers and potential customers. Basically, I'm in way too deep with this account! More on that in a minute...




Lately, I've been speaking to other indie makers and businesses (the insta small biz community is so supportive) and it would seem that many of us did see a drop in - mostly - insta likes over the Christmas period. 

The worst thing is that this drop happened a week or so before Christmas, just as we were all trying to make Christmas sales in, quite frankly, the best selling time of the year. Everyone was encouraging each other to shop small and locally and support indie business, it was a super positive and exciting time! Small business was thriving!

So why??? Like Boris Johnson (and the Grinch), why did the bloody algorithm have to go and trample all over our joyous Christmas (sales)???? 

I have a theory....and it is a theory...but stay with me....

Instagram changed the algorithm to support big businesses. Why? well, they already have lots of followers and can afford to buy advertising on instagram. 

Despite us indies working our asses off with our super organised Christmas posting schedules and amazing Christmas gifts and offers, we were side-lined. Instagram replaced us with a corporate team! Waaaa! 

Worst of all, this also means instagram was supporting mass consumerism and fast fashion! Aargh! Don't get me started! 

The thing is, Instagram is a big ol' corporate business, so it's no surprise that it wants to make more money. 

Let's look at what instagram has given us, for free, it's pretty great to be honest.....A platform where we can share our creations/ photos/lifestyle/ opinions/ events, meet new friends from all around the globe, create communities, sell our products, share, promote and support each other....

Why would they do all that and not want something in return?  You think Instagram is just a super kind business that just wants to spread love and joy to all for free? It sounds too good to be true doesn't it? Well, it probably is.

Once insta started supporting small business and big business alike and giving them the opportunity to use their platform with its business accounts and product links (for free), they are surely gonna want to reap some of these rewards for themselves...

How will they do it? Well, the plan is already well on its way...Firstly they have encouraged us to upload our whole lives and businesses and got us addicted to using their platform with gifts of followers and likes. 

We then started loving and depending on it so much that when they do drop the ultimatum timebomb - that we have to start paying for this service or lose all of our followers -  all of us (unless another lovely, thoughtful platform comes along) will just bend the knee and pay up. 

I know, I know, my blog posts are usually all sunshine and light, full of possibility and inspiration, but the instagram algorithm is seriously one of the most annoying and frustrating entities ever! 




In my next blog post, I am going to share tips and ideas on creating content and getting around the instagram algorithms but until then I'd love to hear your experiences and views on this and similar subjects. 

Remember this is MY THEORY, MY OPINION, it is not all fact! Although I have read many an article that says otherwise about instagram's plans. What do you think? Does it make sense? 

If you are an indie business and did notice an extensive drop in likes/engagement on instagram from the week before Christmas and are perhaps still experiencing this now, do get in touch or comment below. Maybe your engagement went up? What the hell happened? I'd like to hear from you. 

One last, POSITIVE thing I'd like to add is to help and support indie businesses (and your fave insta accounts). 

Please continue to support indie businesses every single day, by liking, commenting, saving, sharing their posts and buying their amazing creations and products! This helps boost their reach AND improves their place within the algorithm. 

The same goes for all of your fave accounts, support them and encourage them to post more content that you love! 

Whatever you do keep it indie! 


Watch my IGTV Vlog on this topic

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