This blog post was written in collaboration with The Sociable Society’s Lead Talent Manager, Sara Williams. To chat with Sara about management or viewing her roster of creators, contact Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hot take: You can’t. Let’s talk about it.
Whenever we talk about the algorithm, there’s often an implication of it being a formula that’s working against you. It’s hiding your content, shadow-banning you, not noticing every effort you’re making to show up more for your followers. For a lot of creators, it can feel like you are constantly having to re-work your content strategy and how you show up on Instagram to convince the algorithm to change its mind about you.
Here’s the thing; you can’t beat the algorithm. But you can connect with it.
With how much time is spent across all the various social media platforms these days, it’s easy to forget that our time on Instagram isn’t consistent. We’d love to think users are on social media as expected, but just as our own schedules change day-to-day, so does our social media usage. One day a user might scroll TikTok for three hours and then not go on Instagram for the rest of the day. Maybe they’re just looking through stories that day. Or maybe they’ve been using the app just as expected, but the other 800 accounts they follow showed up first in their feeds on one particular day. And if they are YouTube subscribers, we haven’t even begun to carve out time for them to watch long-form video.
Case in point, there is not enough time in the day for every one of your followers to see all of their favorite creators’ content across every platform. We know that the more your followers interact with your content, the more likely you are to show up first on their feeds, but it can’t possibly always be the case. If a follower fell down the rabbit hole of puppy channels yesterday, their algorithm has shifted today.
The algorithm is about the user, not the creator.
You may have a follower that loves the fashion content you put out – but they’re also a huge foodie and follows 200 baking accounts.
You may have a follower who loves your family content, but they’re a single 23-year-old who is obsessed with tattoos and follows all of the up and coming tattoo artists local to their city.
You may have a follower who loves your cleaning content, but they’re a mom of six who doesn’t get to spend much time on Instagram and sees your posts days later and misses most of your stories.
The algorithm is working to optimize that user’s experience, it is not meant to punish you and your content. Impressions will ebb and flow because similar to those three examples above, you probably have thousands of followers with similar stories. If you try to adapt to the algorithm each time you see a change, you will never be able to catch up.
So, if you have found yourself constantly stressed out about Instagram, and yet another change coming, we’re here to remind you of this: You became a creator through posting content that you enjoy, through showing snippets of your world and welcoming us in. Your authenticity and openness is what drew your audience to you in the first place, and it continued to grow because they enjoyed it too. Don’t make your life as it pertains to content creation about beating the algorithm. Make your content creation about the beautiful life you live and continue to attract the best type of follower there is; the ones who are there to cheer you on and support you, not those who only show up for giveaways or for one viral image.
You’ll notice that here at The Sociable Society, we often put emphasis on communicating and connecting with your followers on each of your platforms to discover how you can best serve your audience. We will always recommend this, because in another few months we may see another major Instagram change, and another after that.
If you’re ever feeling completely stuck, we encourage you to reach out to your followers. Spend some time looking through your DM’s and strike up a conversation. Chat through your stories, poll your followers, and let them help you!
We can all probably agree that the constant changes are sometimes overwhelming or even unnecessary, but we encourage you to stay grounded in your “why.” Why do you make content? Why do you use Instagram? Why do you love having a community that you created? Every creator experience will be different, but rooting yourself back in these questions can help you from feeling constantly overwhelmed or stressed out. You’re doing just great, and we hope this helps you remember that.