My Thoughts on Instagram March 28, 2016 | I told myself that I wasn’t going to post today, but I just couldn’t help myself. I have actually had this post on my mind for quite a few weeks now and thought that a little brain dump on a Monday might actually feel good. I wanted to talk to you guys about this hot topic and enlighten you on it rather than just telling you briefly via Instagram. Grab a cup of coffee…this will definitely affect you in some way shape or form and I always think that it’s smart to understand how and why you are being targeted and marketed to… So, here’s the deal, regardless of how fun social media is…at the end of the day it’s a business. A very large, all consuming, one at that. Very early on (in my Insta life, at least) Instagram sold itself to social giant Facebook for a reported $1 billion dollars. Woah. Nearly 5 years later, it’s reported that Instagram is worth nearly $35 billion dollars with over 300 million active (and VERY engaged!) users per day. Talk about growth, right?! I mean the sheer value of their e-mail lists alone would blow anyones mind. These factors make Instagram one of the most desirable places for both marketing giants (with very deep pockets and large creative teams) and small businesses (with only a good eye and a decent camera). Until now, both parties could happily co-exist and even flourish on Instagram. If someone chose to “follow” an account their posts would automatically appear in that persons feed in chronological order and regardless of engagement. Until now…. Source The long and short of the story is that Instagram is implementing a new algorithm (see what that means HERE) and although we don’t know much, we DO know that posts will no longer show up in chronological order, and will now appear relative to how popular they were (according to engagement). Instagram defines engagement based on the amount of likes + comments you have per post compared to the number of followers that you have. There might be other factors included like amount of time it took you to reach a certain # of likes, geotagging, hashtags, etc, but most will agree that likes and comments pull the most weight in how you rank. Keep in mind Facebook has had a similar algorithm in place for a few years now. Based on what you like and who you’re friends with, Facebook will suggest stories for you (even if they are days old) and that story will stay at the top of your newsfeed until you either engage with it or click in the upper right and state that you don’t want to see it anymore. Not sure about you, but this drives me crazy. I don’t always want to like every.single photo of your kid (in the end that’s just creepy anyway) and I don’t really care about what you’re selling, but for whatever reason Facebook keeps trudging along thinking that’s what I like. This change was definitely a turning point with me on Facebook. I rarely use it like I used to and have noticed the same for many of my friends…which is why I was so angry when I heard that Instagram would follow suit. But talking logically here’s how to explain it all… How cool are the Insta HQ offices, though?? Source Back to the big business part…Instagram is consistently looking for ways to maximize the value of their audience. They want you to open the app and be captivated by your feed. They ideally want you to be so captivated that you are not only liking and commenting on accounts that you follow, but you are getting lost in a deep rabbit hole of new accounts that interest you. All of this meaning that the amount of time you spend in the app increases and you are less likely to become uninterested and move on. The more time you spend within the app, the more valuable Instagram becomes. After all, I can only imagine the cost of cloud storage that an app of this size uses, and that’s certainly not free. On top of the cost of technology, updates, and programmers, just to name a few things. So, overall, who am I to fault them for wanting to increase their profit margin? By zeroing in on the accounts that you engage with the most often, Instagram can really narrow down what interests you or what content urges you to engage. From there, they can create marketing strategies better suited for your feed and this makes the value of an Instagram ad soar. If you ONLY like (as in physically tap the heart) home decor posts, other accounts that you follow (say a fashion blogger) will start to fall out of your feed, because Instagram thinks that you are no longer interested in fashion. Those slots on your feed will be replaced by popular home decor posts and/or home decor ads (say Wayfair, for example). On paper, this looks like an amazing strategy for Instagram and looks like it would be an invaluable way for big brands to reach a broad, yet targeted audience, right? Well, I don’t know about you but I’m kind of a square peg… @glitterguide I personally follow over 1,000 Instagram accounts…some are friends only posting photos of their babies, some are fashion bloggers, some are DIYers, some are big brands and others are just creative people with a cool eye. I deliberately CHOSE to follow each and every one of those 1,000++ people and if I wanted their photos out of my feed, I would simply “unfollow,” right? You would think that’s logical. I’m 100% guilty of not engaging with the majority of the accounts that I follow. I like to look, read captions, and even screen shot major inspiration to file away, but I don’t often feel the need to like or comment. I think that 99% of people look through their feed this way, and by changing the algorithm, Instagram is saying that you simply cannot have your cake and eat it too. @drakeoncake So what does that mean you can’t have your cake and eat it too? Well it means that you have a choice…if you LIKE your feed exactly the way it is, you (and I, for that matter) will HAVE to start engaging with the accounts you follow. As you are scrolling, throw likes out like confetti, leave a comment or two, let the accounts you follow know your feedback. The second option is that you can unfollow accounts that don’t interest you. In the new world of Instagram, not engaging with them will hurt their rank anyway, so simply unfollow. Putting my personal views aside, what does this mean for Style Your Senses? It means a lot, actually. I’ve told you guys before and I’ll say it again, that I never created this blog for ANY other reason than to be REAL with you guys and to essentially be your stylish BFF who happens to live in NC. Along the way, I’ve tried to make following along as easy as possible and, thus far, the best way for you guys to do that on a real-time basis was through Instagram. You can shop my outfits from the carpool line, ask questions about fit with a super quick response time, and undertake simple DIYs all on a daily, real-time basis. Of course, creating the content is work. On the back-end I have to link everything ahead of time to make sure that I can share it with you guys, take either a beautifully styled photo of my home OR an awkward selfie (trust me, both are equally as much work), and then share it with you during the time of day that you are most likely in the app (or else you’ll miss it). I’ve worked really hard to take your feedback constructively and create content that you respond to and relate to (remember THIS post)? And now, I’ll ask you to ENGAGE! As you are scrolling, take a few seconds to read the post (I often ask for opinions!), give it a “like” if you like the aesthetic or want to shop the look and/or ask a question if you have one. I would LOVE chatting more with you guys via Instagram, honestly! I’d also love for you to email me with or comment with content suggestions…something I could be doing better? A topic I haven’t covered? Let me know! I know that being a “Life + Style” blog brings a broad audience and many people follow me for EITHER home decor OR fashion and I simply wouldn’t have it any other way, because in the end that’s the brand I’ve created and love. Via In the end, I know that business is business and I have been able to use Instagram’s massive platform to grow MY business, it’s only right that they should also be concerned about growing theirs as well. I am so very confident in my audience (that’s you!) and know that I have some of the most amazing and kind women following along, and for that I am so grateful. As things evolve, I promise to keep you updated with the good, the bad, and the ugly and am hoping that we can continue this journey together. Now, back to having fun! xoxo One last option you have is to “Turn on Post Notifications” for your favorite Instagrammers Click into the account you want to follow and at the top right corner tap on the 3 small dots and click “Turn on Post Notifications.” Then a push notification will be sent to your home screen once that account publishes a post…but quite frankly, I think this is just annoying and I don’t want to hear my phone ding that many times a day….