You may or may not have noticed that my Instagram looked a little different for the month of August 2020 – in fact, I had a completely new Instagram! No, I didn’t completely delete @messimermaid, I just decided to take the plunge and create @allisonmessimerdotcom.
Why, you may ask? Why not?
- I’m continually trying to challenge myself to try new things and hold myself accountable to them. I like doing 30 day challenges.
- It feels a bit weird to post about my blog on my personal account. Maybe it’s just imposter syndrome, but weird nonetheless.
- I haven’t felt ~inspired~ lately to create much content here on the blog. I was hoping that this would change that.
Here were my self-imposed rules:
- I must post every day for at least 30 days. I’ve heard that “consistency is key” for establishing a following on Instagram.
- Per my own personal preference, each day I would switch back and forth between a photo and a graphic. I did this because I like how this looks on people’s feeds, but I also wanted to test to see what sort of post did the “best.” Spoiler alert: I didn’t keep this up for the entire 30 days.
- I didn’t tell anyone I was doing this.
I’m a data-oriented person so I decided to trace as much data as I possibly could. I made my profile listed as a business so that I could have what Instagram calls “Insights.” In addition to likes and comments, you can also see how many people your post reached, shared, and visited your profile.
In absolute full transparency, here’s a screen-grab of the stats from my Google Sheet –
Each of these data points on the top were taken right before I posted the next day’s post. What this really means is that if you saw and liked my post two days after I posted, it wont count be counted in the chart above, but would be included on the bottom one.
I’ve always heard bloggers talk about “the Instagram Algorithm not showing their content to their followers” and each time it felt like a grasp for more likes and engagement. However, I did see what they were talking about even at a much (much) smaller scale. While I’m not going through and referencing who liked my photo vs who follows me, looking at numbers only, my average percentage of followers who liked my photo in the month was less than 40%.
What major insights did I gather this month?
- I’m still not an expert at the Instagram algorithm. I saw people post their third photo ever and have over 200 followers. I can’t say that it always takes time to gain an audience, but on the whole there is a trend upwards I saw with my followers. That didn’t, however, translate to a correlation with engagement.
- My “graphic” photos didn’t perform as well as my “normal” photos or reach as many people. Granted, I’m not a graphic designer or anything so that may be part of it. I got a lot more engagement on my photos, so I switched up my strategy and started to only post photos. This didn’t change my stats on the whole, but did flatten the curve a bit.
- There can be large swings. I had a relatively large drop-off in followers that can be seen in the chart above. By looking at my followers, however, I realized that every person who had unfollowed me in that time period was a spam account.
- Saturdays were my best day while Fridays were the worst, overall. Mornings and afternoons were fairly equal.
What did I do wrong in this Instagram algorithm challenge?
- I think I suffered a bit with not having anyone know my account when I started. I didn’t begin with a lot of engagement, and thus it’s harder to get the ball rolling.
- I didn’t engage much on Instagram stories because, frankly, I hate them. I have 99% of my Instagram following muted on stories (sorry to disappoint) and I didn’t want to do something on my Instagram that was out of character. Did this hurt my engagement? Probably.
- I didn’t have a niche. I was just posting the things I wanted to post when I wanted to post them (which is honestly what Instagram should be, but I understand that this does me no favors in securing a specific audience). When people don’t know what they’re getting, they’re less likely to stick around.
What would I do differently?
- Figure out my voice quicker.
- Find a community of small bloggers and engage with them. This not only supports them and their growth, but they can help reciprocate and encourage you too. And this builds friendships!
- Post more consistently about similar things so people following me can know what to expect.
- Create a bunch of content even before posting anything. Knowing what to post each day was a bit exhausting and time consuming, especially when I was still trying to find my niche. If I’d had a batch of content I knew I liked, looked good together, and I was inspired by, that would translate to a better experience overall.
- Actively go out and seek new opportunities to take pictures of and not just rely on back content. This was a bit difficult because of the pandemic, but I could have been better about incorporating what I could into my life.
- Research popular hashtags and figure out how to jump on that popularity without losing my voice.
Will I continue to post daily on my Instagram page? Maybe. It’s been fun and I haven’t been taking it too seriously, but if I don’t become Instagram famous I won’t be upset.
I do plan on continuing this for a least a little while longer, if only to make my Instagram algorithm data more valid. A 30 day sample size is fairly small for concrete findings but it was helpful to give me a general gut feeling as to what works and what doesn’t.
How have you found the most growth through your Instagram profile? Leave your tips and tricks in the comments below!