What NOT to do to Get Your Photos Seen
What I wish every new Bookstagrammer knew about Engagement on Instagram
Before we get started, I feel the need to say that I am not an Instagram expert, nor do I want to be, if you want that go to @me_and_orla and @allthatisshe . However my audience is growing quickly and my photographs nearly all end up in the explore feed so I do know a thing or two about getting my photos out there. I’m lucky enough to have a high reach on my photos (it can sometimes get higher than the amount of followers I have) and I am so blessed to have a pretty high engagement on my photos. (I’m really trying very hard to not sound like I’m bragging – I promise I’m not, I’m just stating facts for the post!)
This isn’t a ‘How To’ on getting good engagement on all of your photos. You have to do all of the hard work, I’m afraid. This is just a few little tips that I have for you to actually STOP doing.
1. Not. Use. Theme. Dividers.
I repeat. DO NOT USE THEME DIVIDERS.
Theme Dividers are something I see on Bookstagram a lot, and every time I see a set of them on my feed, I really want to scream. First of all, theme dividers are completely unnecessary. If you want to change your theme, just change it. No one minds if you change your theme, most of the time it’s pretty obvious, and if your feed looks a bit out of sorts for a few days it’s not the end of the world! Back in early-mid 2017, I used to change my theme monthly. I never used theme dividers and I think my account is doing pretty well for itself now.
But did you know that posting a theme divider is also harming your engagement? Theme divider photos never do well for likes (of course!) and if Instagram sees that three of your posts in a row have had really bad engagement, they’re going to bump you DOWN in the algorithm. The algorithm, like it or not, is there to shows us the most popular photos and your theme divider photos will be in the bottom of the pile. While it’s very smart, it doesn’t understand the concept of theme dividers and will just assume that your followers are no longer engaged in your content. Also, they’re really annoying to see on peoples feed, just saying. However, if you don’t care about engagement or potentially getting some unfollows then please go ahead and use them to your hearts content :) Who am I say to say anything.
2. Do Not Post More Than Once a Day.
I know there are people who love doing this and good on you, but when you post a photo it generally takes your previous one out of circulation. I have seen people complain about engagement on a photo when they posted another an hour after the first one. The first one is no longer being shown to people, the second one is.
Trust me, I know how excruciating the wait can be to post a photo that you’re really proud of. I understand the feeling of being so excited to show your followers what you have created that you just want to post RIGHT NOW. It’s best to wait until the next day to post when the likes/comments on your previous post has calmed down, first.
3. Do Not Post Inconsistently.
I know everyone needs a break every once in a while, and by all means take a few days off if you need to. As long as you’re staying active, it won’t hurt anybody. The problem starts when you go without posting for multiple days or weeks. Instagram will assume you’re no longer active, no longer a popular member of the community and will start taking you out of the Algorithm. That’s just how it works.
Now, I’m not telling you to post every day, that doesn’t work for everyone. If posting every other day, or twice a week, works for you – then do it! It helps if you post on the same days every week, because that way Instagram will begin to understand that you’re being consistent. It may take it a while, but it will get there!
4. Do Not Use the Same Hashtags on Every Photo.
Mix the hashtags up a little! Constantly using the same hashtags can begin to look like spam. Think of hashtags as filing drawers, a way for Instagram’s to file content. If you have a filing cabinet drawer marked #persuepretty and everyone put something in the drawer whether it related to the label or not – you would get annoyed and eventually lock the drawer. I have a bank of hashtags I use relating to each type of pictures, I try to mix them up each day and add to different drawers. Also, if you use different hashtags different people will see your content and you will get more followers from that, well at least that is the aim. Allthatisshe wrote a great newsletter on hashtags if you e-mail me at email@example.com I’ll pass it on to you.
5. Do Not Use Bots.
I mean, this one is kind of a given, but I’m going to mention it anyway. Don’t use them. Instagram will always have a way of finding out, and you will be punished for it. Also it is really annoying for users and is the best way to get you blocked by fellow instagrammers. If you don’t know what a bot is, good on you, you don’t need to.
6. Do Not Use the Multiple Post Feature.
This is one is COMPLETELY personal to my own experience or what I see from others and by talking to others. I’ve only every done a multiple photo post once, and the engagement wasn’t great, so I never did it again. Others have had the same experience and I see these post never doing as well, I don’t know why. I see lots of bookstagrammers use them for sponsored posts which kinds of baffles me. I’ve been asked to do them for sponsored posts and always refuse – why would I do something that I know doesn’t do so well for me?
7. Post when your people are online.
I know this may seem obvious, but I don’t think many people post when their followers are most active. If you have a business account you can find out when your audience is online through your insights. If you haven’t got a business account, test and see. The more people that interact with your photo as soon as it is posted can impact the popularity of that post.
At the end of the day, there isn’t some magic formula that will make all of your Instagram dreams come true. People grow in many different ways and what works for one person will not necessarily work for another. Granted, you have to be posting creative and original content that your followers want to see, but there are some things you can to help you get your photos seen by more people. I can only speak for myself and what has worked for me, so there is no guarantee that these tips will help you get your photos seen. (Apart from theme dividers. Please, PLEASE just stay away from theme dividers!) Oh and while I am at it please don’t buy into all that Instagram hype that goes around about, only 10% seeing your posts and deleting hashtags and all that nonsense, most of it is just that- nonsense. Just stay consistent, post good content and engage. Instagram rewards good members of the community that give to it. Really it’s as simple as that!