Instagram Algorithm Changes 2018 - How Artists Can Help Each Other Survive Them / by Patsy Kolesar

Artists build beautiful things. I started loving instagram because it gave me a platform to share my art and connect with so many other wonderful creatives. I love seeing the new projects that you are working on and I love the instant feedback I can get on my new work.

 images from @patsykaykolesardesign 

images from @patsykaykolesardesign 

In early 2018 Instagram has implemented a bunch of algorithm changes that are hugely affecting users like me with under 1000 followers. I want us to help each other survive these changes so I've done some research and I want to share it with other artists in hopes that I will see more of the posts I want to see. 

Here are the changes as I understand them and my suggestions on how we can help each other stay relevant on Instagram: 

Engagement: 

  • You already know that Instagram is no longer all that instant. But the most recent changes have meant that they only show your post to about 10% of your audience.  Like Facebook, they are testing out the engagement of your post. If the 10% they show it to like it, engage with it, post comments, click to read the full text, click on your profile, or save it to a collection, then they will show it to more people.
  • Apparently, a number of people formed "pods" when instagram first changed it's algorithm to not be chronological. Pods, are groups of people who agreed to like and comment on each others posts to increase each others engagement. I'm not sure why I was never invited into a pod!? ;)  But whateves, because apparently Instagram is onto pods and they are detecting them as spam, so they no longer are the best idea.  

Hashtags:

  • Instead of using all the hashtags, they are saying it's best to only use around 5 hashtags because otherwise instagram will see you as a spammer. 
  • They are also saying that you should use your hashtags in the main caption of your post, not in the comments section. Apparently hashtags in the comment section will no longer be recognized. 
  • Mix up your hashtag use, if you are seen to be using the same hashtags over and over again Instagram may view this as spam. 
  • You can now also choose to follow hashtags. Instagram apparently likes it when you use their new features, so go and follow a few hashtags. Maybe you want to follow some of mine?  #patsykayjewelry #vancouverjewelrydesigner #handmadejewelry 

Comments:

  • If someone comments on your post, you now need to respond within about an hour or instagram will slow down your post exposure. They want to see that you are real and engaging with your people. 

Stories:

  • Obviously, Instagram loves the new stories feature. I've been dragging my feet on stories, possibly because I'm still hanging onto my iphone5! Gasp! But I guess that's not the best idea. People who are posting and engaging with stories will apparently get more traction. 

So, here are my suggestions on what we can do to support each other: 

  • Let's all like and comment on each others posts, especially when you see that someone just recently posted something. You're in their 10%! So throw them a like or a comment or a click!
  • When you see a post that you like but that doesn't have that many likes yet, comment on it, throw them an emoji and like it. You will be helping them get seen by more people, you will be helping artists get more exposure and business! 
  • Let's share this information with other artists and small businesses! 
  • Let's follow each other's hashtags! 
  • I've noticed that when I'm scrolling through instagram most of the posts I see already have a high number of likes, and usually they are accounts with fairly big followings. I miss seeing the accounts of all of the smaller businesses like mine and I want to get that back in my feed! 

I know that creatives were the early adopters of instagram and made it a beautiful, vibrant place to be. I'm hoping that we can work with these new changes and continue to have a thriving artists community. 

 images from @patsykaykolesardesign 

images from @patsykaykolesardesign