Instagram revealed: Updates, new features, engagement and follower drop, influencer frauds & loo
Are you also fed up with Instagram, adjusting their algorithm all the time, diminishing your engagement, constantly adding new updates, but still being able to keep you hooked, remaining your favourite photo app?
I have exactly the same and with over 64,000 followers and being highly active this can be quite frustrating when you’re on there every day, thinking you’re doing everything right.
But there are things that can be done to keep up with the new algorithm, I will give you a few practical tips later on in this article. But first let me show you some recent stats to make you understand better what is going on and how big Instagram is actually becoming.
Instagram statistics 2017
As the fastest growing social media platform with an additional 200 million worldwide monthly active followers in just 1 year, of which 100 million in the last 4 months, it is obvious why the value of Instagram is growing fast.
And with 400 million daily active users worldwide uploading currently already 95 million posts per day, you can understand why the competition is huge and it is getting harder and harder to get your post seen by current and new followers, if you are not posting several times a day!
I myself am almost married to the social media platform, and a strange relationship it is indeed. So fickle lately and keeps changing the terms of our relationship on a weekly and almost daily basis. I used to think I had this one all figured out, but then it landed in some sort of midlife crisis and started giving me less attention, affirmation and kept leaving me all the time.
All joking aside it is obvious that something has changed on Instagram and it has been going on for over 6 months already, with drops in engagement, mostly likes, and feed visibility changes. But the last few months it seems that it has reached its end game: lowering your organic reach to about 10-15%, depending on your account size and activity (same as its brother Facebook did already with FB pages) and forcing you to pay for more likes and followers if you want to get back your ‘’old reach’’.
Not a good sign as I am giving my first seminar about Instagram marketing on a bloggers event this Saturday. But with the market and new media constantly changing and evolving a good marketeer is flexible, knows his tools and target group, keeps updated on new developments and learns how to adapt to big changes like this.
And can you blame Instagram really? In the end it’s also just a business and big business indeed!
With over 70% of all brands in the USA having an Instagram account and with the platform doubling its amount of users worldwide in the last 2 years there is much to gain.
Therefore it’s only logical that they keep adding features for people and brands to use, which in the end makes them earn money through Instagram by leading followers to their own websites and shops. And naturally Instagram in return wants to earn money from them as well!
Changing markets of new generations declining traditional TV, turning to apps, new media and becoming more active online all day long, have created the rise of influencer marketing. One of the fastest growing categories in advertising with billion dollar projections, estimated to reach $4 billion in global advertising revenue by the end of this year. Huge potential for active Instagram users and so called influencers looking to make a living out of their account. A great development which unfortunately also has an ugly side.
Fake influencer fraud
Recent articles have revealed the fraudulous side of this influencer business, which you can read in this article: Mediakix Fake Influencers Study
There are always people taking shortcuts or trying to cheat their way up, and this is no exception.
Accounts taking advantage of the market demand by buying fake followers and engagement to inflate their account, ruining it for the accounts playing by the rules and building up their accounts through real connections, inspiration and hard work.
But what is the meaning of the word influencer really and what’s your influence worth then?
In reality these accounts are just stealing from companies through this new form of ad fraud, afflicted to the advertisers and brands paying them for their following and influence they were presumed to have!
Luckily companies and marketeers are smartening up by researching the accounts they want to work with more thoroughly and more and more PR companies are testing their influencers before hiring them for paid campaigns. Recently they have been able to expose such frauds through different tools and with the help of platforms and agencies such as: SocialBlade.com, Fohr Card and Woomio.com.
If you want to learn more about how to become a real influencer and land collabs with the brands you love, check out this blog!
New Instagram Features
So let’s keep that in mind and focus on the positive developments and opportunities Instagram still offers all of us for free!:
Less than 9 months ago, Instagram introduced its stories feature, already used by over 250 million people, surpassing Snapchat’s user amount in less than 1 year! Providing you with another tool to reach more potential followers and create more engagement, as your story will appear at the top of people’s feeds.
Only in the past few months several new features were added to aid you in this. By using hashtags and locations in your Instagram stories people can now find your stories through this as well. And from my own experience I have noticed that by the use of popular locations and hashtags my story reach has increased on average by 30-50%
On business accounts with over 10K followers you can now add links to Instagram Stories, to be able to convert people directly to your website!
Instagram’s Live option helps you become more visible and reach potential new followers through extra Instagram announcements and the new option to save the live feed and replay it again later in your stories.
The new option to save other people’s posts and create galleries with that is perfect for inspiration and holiday finds!
A very recent addition which I highly value is the follow back button. Made visible in an account’s bio as text in the follow button when someone is already following you.
Next to liking comments you can now also answer comments immediately in the comment, like you can on Facebook, so convenient and saves me so much time not having to type in the person's account name!
And did you already notice that you can search for accounts by name in your or anyone else’s follower list?
Also Instagram has begun testing a way to share posts with a more limited group of friends, called favorites. Currently testing this among a small percentage of users, and sounds like a promising development for more engaged people like me.
Growth and engagement drop: what to do?
Using the new features to reach more potential followers and stay visible on Instagram is of course something you can do to boost your engagement, but it is obvious that the organic follower growth and engagement has dropped tremendously lately.
Therefore I promised some more tips to deal with this, no generic standard tips which you find everywhere online, but hands on practical tips!
I am testing every day with my own and other accounts, and here are some things I have learned and heard from others which work if you do it consistently:
Post only your best pics and edit them first, you can read more about this in my editing tips blog
Post more, at least 1-3 times a day
Add a location, this has proven to generate 79% more engagement
Follow more people per day (at least 10)
Like more, at least 3 times spread out over the day for about 30 minutes, also outside your timeline to reach new accounts
Like on # for your niche, go to accounts, like several pics and leave a comment
Leave longer well thought out comments and ask questions
Test with different posting times and themes, if you have a business account you can check the best times per day in your stats
Mix up your #, look for new ones and test with those as well
Make a list of your favourite accounts, send them to yourself and regularly like and comment on these to keep your top connections going
Join comment or What's app groups
In the end the most important thing is to also keep focusing on the followers you already have, cherish them, engage and make a real connection with them. That is where the real influence lies!
Another new development is the loop give away, have you seen it already? Big groups of huge influencers giving away great prizes if you follow all 20-40 accounts in one loop. The effect is supposed to be huge and as a good marketer I feel I have to test this myself as well, as it is a legal way to grow your follow base organically.
Curious to hear if you've ever done a loop give away and what you think of this. Do let me know and leave a comment here below, find me on social media through the icons at the bottom of this page, or connect with me on Instagram via below image.
For more tips on Instagram growth and engagement, you can check out my earlier posts on the social media tips page.
Hope it helps and curious to hear if you agree with my tips or knew all of them already.