There’s nothing more frustrating than putting a heap of effort into your Instagram content and trying to share your work with the world - only to find you’re not getting the engagement you want. If you’ve been there, you’ll know it can have you tearing your hair out and wanting to give up altogether!
If you’ve been finding lately that your engagement isn’t what it used to be and you’re about ready to quit Instagram, then we’re here to give you some context and tell you that you’re not alone. It’s not you, it’s not your content, and there ARE things that you can do about it.
Nope, it’s not just you. Right now, everyone is experiencing a changed or declining engagement rate on their content, meaning less views, less comments, less likes, and less sales.
You’re not alone in this, it’s not because of anything you’re doing, and we’re all trying to figure it out!
Sometimes, our engagement fluctuates because of Instagram itself. There are always things happening behind the scenes in Instagram that are out of our control but influence how and why our content is viewed. For example, the algorithm constantly changes, bugs come up, and developments are made in the app, and these things can cause changes in our engagement.
The world has changed a bit in the last few years, and so have people’s habits and the way that they consume content. From our experience, we just don’t want to be online as much these days. It’s not always the most uplifting place to be!
So when you’re panicking about people not engaging with your content, just remember that at the moment, people aren’t really engaging in general. They’re mindful of the time they’re spending online and are changing how, when and why they consume content, which could be a reason why engagement is decreasing.
There are many different types of content that you can put out on Instagram, and it might just be that what people want to see has changed. Whether it’s video instead of static images or quick content rather than long form, we may need to shift what we’re creating and how we’re creating it to appeal to what our audiences want.
Go back through all of the Instagram content that you’ve created to see what’s getting the most engagement. Look at the format of that content (carousels, videos, reels, etc.) and the type of content that it is, such as educational or entertaining. Focus on the content that’s working and that’s fun for you to make, and lean into that.
Encourage your audience to engage by asking questions in your captions, prompting discussions, or using your Instagram Stories to get people to vote, participate in a quiz or ask questions.
People need to know that you want them to engage with your content and also that when they do, you’re going to be there to respond to it. Encourage a two-way dialogue with your audience by replying to them and sharing their responses.
This is also a great opportunity to ask your audience if their preferences and the way they consume content has changed. We all want to create content that our audience loves, so have a conversation and ask them what they enjoy and want to see from you.
As we’ve said, Instagram changes a lot. What works and the features available change regularly, and that can be pretty frustrating and overwhelming. If you want to build a community on Instagram, you have to embrace that change and be willing to try new content formats and ways of creating.
Instead of creating separate pieces of content for all your different platforms, you can keep things simple and maximise your potential reach by sharing the same piece of content on multiple platforms.
For example, cross-post your Instagram Story to Facebook and TikTok, share your Instagram post in your newsletter, turn your carousel post into a Pinterest Idea Pin or a blog article. There are so many ways to cross-promote your content and maximise its potential and impact.
If your engagement has changed, it may simply be that that’s just the new normal for now. Instead of comparing your engagement and reach to what it’s been in the past, shift your comparisons to more recent timeframes to gauge your new averages and adjust your expectations.
We totally understand, and if you don’t want to be there, the great news is that you don’t have to be! There are other options to grow your brand and your business.
Instagram isn’t the only way. You may already be on other platforms that are working better for you, or maybe it’s time to switch things up and try something new! You’re going to have a much better time and a lot more fun sharing your content where you know it’s going to do better.
If you want to come back to Instagram later, it’ll still be there. And if not, then focus your attention and effort to the platforms where both you and your audience want to be.
There are more ways to market your business than just on social media, and it might be time to think about what that looks like for you.
Whether it’s in-person promotion, networking, collaboration, product creation, or even working on your brand strategy, there are plenty of other ways to focus the time that you would spend on social media into other channels that still move your business forward - but maybe stress you out a bit less!
If you’re not having fun doing something and it’s making you doubt yourself and your art, then don’t do it. You should feel good about what you’re creating, where you’re sharing it and how you’re sharing it.
Your worth and the worth of your art is not a direct correlation with your Instagram engagement. You don’t have to have millions of followers or the highest engagement rate for your art to be of value.
Keep showing up, keep sharing and keep creating, because that’s what’s important.
Your work is brilliant, valuable and amazing, and YOU as a person are all those things as well - regardless of how your Instagram engagement is going. I can’t wait to see you continuing to create, make and share in whatever way feels best for you.
And if you need a place where you can be reminded of that and share your work, your wins and your struggles, then come and hang out with us at The Studio. It’s the best damn place to be if you want to get together with other creatives and have a bunch of people who’ve got your back.
March 2, 2022