Okay, I'm not quitting Instagram. But I've decided to stop trying to please the beast.
Now, this may seem like a stupid announcement to you if you are:
A. Not an Instagram user or
B. A casual Instagram user
But anyone who uses this dumbass platform with some sort of business type of motivation, it's one hell of a monster. As long as I've been sharing my art on Instagram, (about 3 years now) I've seen people lament about it and I've been there with them at times. But most of the time I've been of the mindset "Don't think about the numbers. I love creating, I've made some wonderful art friends, that is enough for me." I didn't want to get into a conversation about the Algorithm because I felt it was entirely counterproductive. Share what you want, when you want and don't let some algorithm control you.
Over the past few months I've been trying to approach all of this a little bit more professionally and with that comes the effort to try to grow your audience. A bigger audience means having a bigger chance of making a bit of money. So I read up. I read tips from social media marketers, from other artists who are doing much better than I, from anyone. I applied the tips that I could find and I waited patiently for any results. I tried whatever I read and could apply :
- Use all the hashtags
- Use between 9 and 15 hashtags but never more
- Keep them consistent per post
- Vary them per post
- Make sure to have a combination of hashtags of different sizes of activity
- Tag people
- Use a location
- Make sure the image filename is descriptive
- Add alt descriptions
- Optimize the day & time at which you're posting
The results are.. less than positive. None of the numbers has really gone up. And after some months, this is really beginning to affect me. I've been hoping to get to a point where I can build a bit of a library of future posts so that I can post regularly without having to think about it every day but as it stands, I don't produce enough content to be able to build a buffer. The only way I can do that is by not posting for a while and just working on other things for a while. But every piece of advice about it is the same "Don't. Stop. Posting." Because if you do, you're penalized by the blasted Algorithm. This seems to be true. From other artist friends who have managed to grow by posting every single day, they were immediately 'punished' when they went down to even every other day.
Despite that, I'm going to take a posting break. I'm tired, overwhelmed and sick of dancing to its whims. It's stressing me out to the point of burning me out and I don't want that. My work, my painting, that should come first. I'm going to focus on working, on what makes me happy. I'll make content in the meanwhile and when I have a bit saved up, I'll share what I want, how I want it.
I don't want to be a slave to the algorithm anymore. Results be damned.