There's an obvious shift in cultural and generational communications. We rely heavily upon social media platforms to keep us informed, share our lives, and follow the lives of our favorite celebrities. As crazy as it sounds, when I was a kid, I never really imagined a life that would be so largely influenced by an online presence. Truth be told the internet wasn't really a staple part of households let alone day to day life yet. My parents used to limit my time on the internet, because we were still using dial up and having to disconnect the phone to get online.
Today however, things are much different. The internet is an integral part of lives. We need it for basically everything these days. Taking into consideration how much we depend on internet connectivity for our social interactions, I decided to do a little experiment. I spent about 6-8 months observing how people engaged with their Instagrams specifically. When they liked pictures, what kinds of pictures they liked, what kind of pictures they shared on their own pages, and when they were excited enough to comment. The other thing that I observed was how many people, like myself, were sprinkling likes to their pictures. Once upon a time, Instagram decided to take the posts out of chronological order, and instead sort them based on likes and views. For people with small businesses this is kind of (seriously) a nightmare. Those of us who are not quite at our peak internet and InstaFame were probably more detrimentally affected than the rest. You may have noticed some of your friends suddenly gaining thousands of followers, and likes, in what seemed like minutes. You weren't going crazy, they more than likely were adding likes and followers.
One of the most interesting observations I made was the likelihood of people liking your posts, based on the number of likes it already had. There's this strange phenomena that influences peoples decisions regarding what they like and don't like. I think that may have been one of the more amusing parts of the study. Over time you'd be able to gauge when certain followers would join the herd and like it, because someone else they knew liked it, or it had enough likes to make them feel as though they ought to be liking the post. Even if the post didn't truly resonate with the person, the number of likes influenced whether or not they too were going to double tap and like it. I noticed that once pictures reached the 80-100 like threshold, more and more people would engage and like the photo. However that same group of people had a tendency to scroll past the image if the likes weren't high enough. I think there's a quadruple edged sword in relation to the impact and effect this practice has had on society.
People found themselves feeling as though the only way to be truly validated, was through Instagram likes and followers. The content became less about creativity and quality, but more about reaction and engagement. A notion that I believe has always held to be true about society is that we devolve before we evolve. We feed off of negativity and keep it alive and well, by suffocating ourselves with tragedies, foul play, and traumas, therefore circulating a lower frequency energy. Instagram is great because while all of that is happening, there are still plenty of humans on the app, that engage positively, spreading love, joy, happiness, growth, and reflection as the message and energy that's put into the Universe. I think in an effort to curb the enthusiasm of fake profiles and likes, as well as hoard the profits, Instagram revamped their algorithms, changing the platform once more.
Now users will notice that their post insights have more to do with engagement they get from other users. In a crucial blow to the follow for follow market, Instagram, has essentially shut down all other apps from being able to sprinkle likes, views, and comments on posts. Instagram is pushing for account holders to promote their content and pay them directly rather than purchasing coins from a 3rd party app.
So how does this all affect you? Where do you fit in? If you consider yourself to be someone who garners and drives their business via IG, then you'll simply have to allocate some of your social media budget, to Instagram Promotions. The promotion will drive your content to the centers of feeds, and explore pages, getting your posts the attention you were hoping for. Now if you were heavily relying upon the like for like and follow for follow apps, then you've probably noticed a decline in engagement. Don't fret though, you can get your engagement numbers back up, it's just going to cost you a little more these days. If you're willing, you can invest money into growing your social media accounts. There's a number of ways to do this also. For Instagram, you can pay them directly. You choose the duration of your ad, customizing both, the amount of money and amount of time that promotion runs. There's also the added layer of user engagement. If someone already engages with your profile on a frequent basis, they're more likely to see the content you're uploading first. These are just a few of the things to consider as you grow your Instagram following.
I think the most important thing to keep in mind though is that no matter your following or likes, you are great. Don't base your self worth or success on those numbers. There's a lot more to life than just your Instagram profile and how many likes you get per post.