8 Ways To Feel Like You're Winning When Instagram Feels Tough

Instagram changes constantly and right now it’s acting a bit like a teenager having an identity crisis leaving many of us baffled, frustrated and feeling like everything that once ‘worked’ doesn’t anymore. Here's 8 ways to see you (and me) through these tougher times:

Check Your Focus: we’ve been conditioned by Instagram to monitor our likes, follows, reach, overall engagement etc. As a business and not an Instagram Influencer the only metrics that really matter are leads, conversions and sales and not the ones that feed egos and the dopamine loop. A direct message conversation that leads to an enquiry is worth more than 100 likes that don’t.

Understand Unseen Engagement Counts: if someone shares your content via DM; searches for your profile; browses your grid, watches a Reel, scrolls your carousel post, clicks ‘more’ to read your whole caption etc. it counts as engagement. Unfortunately you can’t track this but the algorithm can and 'signal wise' it’s as important as that tangible like. Things will be happening on your account even if it feels like tumbleweed.

Impact Matters More: would you rather someone saw your content or someone remembered it and you? Our fixation with reach means we often forget it's just eyes on our content; all too often a fleeting glance or scrolling right by. Obsessing about reach can be detrimental to what we should actually be striving to do which is making an impact (another metric Instagram can’t track):

For now, ask yourself: Is the goal for more people to see the work? Or to care? Those are not the same things… Instead of marketing more, what if we mattered more?” (Jay Acunzo)

Concentrate on what you CAN control, not what you can’t: the good old days of relying on Instagram to work the ‘reach and engagement magic' are over. Understanding what’s in your control to create these and crafting a strategy that suits you, your goals and how the platform works right now WILL bring you results (at the risk of sounding like a car salesman there’s a recording available to buy which covers this here).

Goal conversions: know why you’re on Instagram and keep that goal in focus. If you’re heading towards or hitting it then you are succeeding even if the number of likes on your last post makes you feel otherwise. The mindset that you need big numbers to succeed is total tosh; you do not need bigger, better or more!

Think Bigger Picture: don’t scrutinise the individual performance of your content, instead use your Instagram insights and check out how you’re doing across all the ‘channels’ you’re using on the app. I suspect you’ll be pleasantly surprised and remember this doesn’t even include those all important DM conversations. TIP: choose 90 days if you really need to boost your morale!

Adopt a social first approach: put the social back in social media! It’s fine to focus less on content and more on conversation. Use your stories to spark interactions, invite people into your private DM space where they feel more inclined to chat openly, get proactive yourself and interact on other accounts. As human beings we love to connect; developing strong relationships with your existing followers will not only support your business but help you weather annoying platform/algorithm changes.

Social media was built for human connection and connecting with people is still the best way to convert customers online. All of the automation, scheduling, and analytics tools in the world won’t help you if you can’t build relationships with your followers and potential customers. (Michael Stelzner)

Stop Comparing: if there is a big shift in the way the platform performs don’t compare your current metrics with the previous month or quarter instead set yourself a new benchmark to work from. Comparison really is the thief of joy.

So how are you feeling about Instagram now? Are you up for changing your approach, expectations and mindset? Doing this can reignite your Instagram joy even if it feels like Adam Mosseri wants to suck it from your core with each of his video updates!

If you're still not convinced by my advice then take a listen to small business owners, copywriter Franky from Love Audrey and business and marketing mentor Charlie Swift, discussing ‘How To Stop Hating On Instagram’.

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