Friday, June 26, 2015

Why I Hated Instagram as a Blogger

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Summertime is a great time to do blog maintenance and it is usually when I decide to do something completely drastic on social media. Last summer, my focus was Pinterest. I started doing lots of experimenting, deleting of pins, deleting of boards, and that sort of thing. Shortly after, my Pinterest following exploded (you can read more about that here). This summer I have decided to focus on Instagram. I haven't been enjoying Instagram, even though I love photography and I am capable of taking beautiful photographs. So why did I hate it so much? What was I doing wrong?

Why I hated Instagram as a blogger and my new Instagram strategy from And Next Comes L

Why I Needed to Change My Instagram Strategy

I cannot seem to get into Instagram no matter how hard I try and despite everyone I know declaring their love for this social media platform. I love taking photos. And I think that I take beautiful photos. Shouldn't I love a photography based social media platform then? What was the problem?

So I started taking a closer look at what it is about Instagram that I like and what I don't like. Then I figured out one reason why I might not be enjoying this platform: I was simply uninspired. Nearly everything that showed up in my Instagram newsfeed was lackluster or uninspiring or filled with text. I was hardly ever actually scrolling through my newsfeed and hardly liking photos. I just simply did not like what I was seeing. Then I wondered: do others feel the same when they see my photos? Obviously, I hope not.

A few days after I started pondering switching up my Instagram strategy, I read a post about 10 mom Instagrammers to follow. I went through that list only to be further disappointed. One account was filled with photos of kids crying and throwing tantrums, which I will never ever support (that's another story!). Another was basically just photos taken from blogs (shared with proper credit) with zero original photos. Oh and then there were three accounts that were basically linked to or had some connection with the original author. Needless to say, I found only one account to follow in that list and it turns out I was already following that person. So again, I was left uninspired.

Then I remembered reading this blog post about using Instagram wrong sometime last year and some of the key points from it still lingered in my mind. I decided it was finally time to take action and come up with some kind of Instagram plan for my blog.

What Changes I Made to My Instagram Account


The first course of action was to start unfollowing people. And I unfollowed a lot. More than half of the people that I was following were gone just like that. My criteria for unfollowing and not unfollowing:
  1. Is this person a Facebook friend who often cross posts to Facebook? If yes, unfollow. I can like their photos on Facebook instead.
  2. Is this person a company that I want to work with who seems to follow no one back? If yes, unfollow. I think tagging that company in a photo will be a much more effective way to make brand connections.
  3. Does this person post regularly? If no, unfollow.
  4. Is this person posting lots of photos filled with text, such as photo quotes or screenshots? If yes, unfollow. I want to see photos. PHOTOS, people.
  5. Is this person a fellow blogger that I simply followed because we were doing a Instagram follow thread in our mutual blogging network group on Facebook? If yes, unfollow. I want to follow someone because I truly enjoy their photos, not because I feel obligated to follow them. I hope other bloggers follow me because they like my photos and will interact with them rather than follow me out of obligation and never engage. Also, I am not doing fellow bloggers any favors if I am following them, but never engaging with their photos.
  6. Is this person a blogger who is part of my blogging tribe? If yes, do not unfollow. I will continue to support and engage with my blogging peeps because I love them to bits!
  7. Is this person a supposed Instagram rockstar and I followed them simply because of their rockstar status? If yes, unfollow. Most of these accounts were filled with crap I did not enjoy, especially photos filled with text.
  8. Does the person post nice clear photos? If no, unfollow.
Before I knew it I unfollowed over half of who I was following. My newsfeed already began to look much better. Do I feel bad for unfollowing family and blogging companions? Yes, but my ultimate goal is to enjoy Instagram and see beautiful photos. Those people just didn't seem to fit this goal.


I started perusing my favorite hashtags and started following new people who had an interest in photography and/or kids activities. Then I would look at who those people were following. Soon I had a whole new crop of beautiful Instagram accounts filling my newsfeed. It was starting to look much more inspiring over on Instagram and I was actually starting to enjoy browsing my newsfeed.


My smartphone is already like four years old and it doesn't have the greatest camera, but I kept using it on Instagram because it was easy and convenient. But I knew from the time that I started using Instagram that it was not the quality of photos that I wanted to be sharing. So I have started sharing more photos from my DSLR camera. I have also been deleting photos, on occasion, that no longer fit with my overall strategy.
Instagram tip: Email yourself a copy of your DSLR photos. Then you can download them onto your phone and upload to Instagram.

A photo posted by Dyan @ And Next Comes L (@andnextcomesl) on


I'm starting to use more photography based hashtags in hopes that I can get featured by one of these larger accounts and/or gain new followers from other Instagrammers who use the same hashtags. I also use these hashtags to find new people to follow (see Step 2). I also want to start participating more in those photography challenges where you are presented with a theme and have to share a photo based on that theme. Here is an example of my increase in hashtags.


For me, the photos should do the talking on Instagram. I rarely read long blocks of text on any social media. So I am going to keep the text that I use to accompany my photos short. One or two sentences max. Here is an example of my short and sweet text.


I rarely shared on Instagram, maybe one photo every other day. And I did so because I felt like I had to share there regularly. Now my goal is to share lots of photos per day, perhaps a minimum of five photos. I never want to cluster more than two together in a short time span because I don't want to be spammy, but I want to share at more regular intervals. I am sure there will still be days where I post absolutely no photos and that's okay. I don't want Instagram to feel like work.

What I Hope to Gain from this Instagram Experiment

When I first started implementing these changes, I had a lot of people unfollow me. And that's okay. My goal is to curate a gallery of photos that I love and to also attract followers who are actually going to engage with my photos. No point in having a large following if they aren't going to regularly interact with my photos, right?

I am already enjoying Instagram more because now my newsfeed is filled with beautiful photos. And I hope that people are enjoying my feed more because the photos are carefully selected and carefully edited.

And who knows? Maybe my drastic experimenting will pay off again like it did for Pinterest. Time will tell.

Of course, I'd like you to follow me on Instagram, but only if you truly find my photos interesting and beautiful.

Why I hated Instagram as a blogger and my new Instagram strategy from And Next Comes L
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