Why the algorithm hates you!


Oh the algorithm! Everyone hates it, and everyone feels hated by it.

But I have some cold hard truth to share..

(warning this is only for those of you willing to take an honest look at yourself and make the changes necessary for growth)

It’s not the algorithm. It’s you.

Okay you might be thinking I’m taking crazy pills. You’re posting what previously did well and suddenly your engagement dropped. You’re using hashtags. You’re engaging. You’re following all the rules. But your likes are slowly dropping, and the comments you’re getting are meaningless “great shot!” and “nice photo! visit my page for epic travel content.”

Does this sound like you? I see people constantly lamenting that the algorithm is messing with their engagement. And you know what? Maybe it’s partially true, but there’s a reason the algorithm isn’t working for you. It’s because you’re not playing the system, you’re not uploading good content, and your captions probably suck. Oh, and you’re ignoring your DMs and the people who take time out of their day to comment on your posts.

The algorithm is designed to show people what they want to see. And if your photos aren’t being seen, it’s mostly because it’s not what people want to see.

I’ve talked about captions a lot before but basically your captions are probably too long, too short, don’t share any value, don’t ask discussion provoking questions, are too random, are too generic, or don’t provide any helpful info whatsoever. I’ll see someone with great photos who asks why they’re not growing but when I visit their account their captions are too generic or random.

I’ve also talked about engagement a lot. Basically, you can’t expect real authentic engagement if you yourself are not authentically engaging. Answer your DMs with voice memos, respond to questions and comments, engage on your feed, and reach out through the explore page to accounts similar to yours. You’re building a network, not cultivating a museum to rake in the compliments.

And your photos? They’re not good. Now, I don’t mean they’re not good in a technical sense. I see people share incredible, amazing photos at the top of mountains or with amazing backdrops. But the truth is, Instagram has changed. People have seen it all. The same photos have been taken over, and over. If you look at your explore page it’s all the same poses, same type of editing, same locations, same style.

I’m not saying you need to reinvent the wheel and come up with a crazy creative post every day - I’m saying that you need to utilize the ONE thing that no one else has: YOU. There are million other people trying to do this Instapreneur thing. But no one is like you. No one has the exact mix of your perspective, life experience, style, personality, interests, lifestyle, or knowledge.

And Instagram is changing constantly. It used to be the place for crazy epic travel photos. But now that it’s been overdone, it’s shifted towards more “real life” type of content. People are disillusioned by the fake lifestyles portrayed on the internet, the same ads over and over - they wanna see stuff that’s real.

Oddly enough some of my best posts have been iPhone selfies, transformation stories, and vulnerable posts. People like to see faces. They like stories. They like candid. And if your business depends on this platform, it’s your job to adjust to a changing market. Figure out what is doing well. Notice who is growing and pay attention to what’s working for others in your niche. Experiment with your own posts.

I’ve seen so many business articles right now that point to a common trend in marketing: people want to know the story behind a business. They want to know the face, the struggle, and the growth behind a business. They want to know the person. They want to know YOU.

And so next time you post your gorgeous drone shot of the ocean along with a caption about how much you love traveling, don’t blame the algorithm when you don’t see the engagement you want. Think about who your audience is (the people who are gonna support you and buy what you sell) and serve them.

Maybe you’re an artist, not an influencer. Maybe you just want to share your work, not your face. That’s okay. Just understand that Instagram might not be the best platform for you right now. It doesn’t mean you should give up, it just means that you should expect lower engagement. You can still use your Instagram account as a portfolio. You might even find that despite the lower engagement, you still book jobs or make sales. You have to decide what’s most important for you. And just because you’re not showing your face doesn’t mean you can’t still add value and show your personality through captions or stories. You can help other aspiring artists or even show potential clients why they should support you (it’s because you’re awesome).

Remember that likes and comments are not the best measure of success. Sales, community, and profits are more important. You can be sharing valuable content that resonates with a quality few followers and this is better for your business than winning a popularity contest.

And here’s my final word about the algorithm: your engagement will probably not be consistent, no matter how great your content is. This is OKAY. You are going to have posts with a low amount of likes and you will have some that will blow up on the explore page. There is an ebb and flow of things. Just keep pressing forward, look for ways to serve your tribe, and remember to look at the overall picture.

Like I always say: YOU GOT THIS!

xx Heather