Monday, March 19, 2018

Instagram and the ups and downs of the follow, and like buttons!

If you are like me, you love Instagram! Facebook is cluttered with so many things, I like to keep my homesteading adventures on just Instagram. It's fun to scroll and see all the great pictures of chickens with a funny mohawk, that new coop that was just built and still looks oh so fresh and clean. The sun blazing somewhere, while i'm living in my winter wonderland that is Michigan. Seeing a garden start to produce food, and what people do with the food they do grow! It's just so much more fun! It's easy to scroll through and like all the great content from the people I follow. You can make connections, learn new things, or just follow each other on this fun adventure that is homesteading and farming! I learn something new almost everyday from my little IG community!!

Now the reason I'm here today blogging. I want to talk to you about building an authentic Instagram account, not about the number of followers you have, but one that is about relationship and community! Who cares if you have 1000 followers but they don't actually like your brand and don't interact with your page, when you could work less to have just 100 that actually like what you do, and you them!

For me, i'm interested in homesteading so I follow back all the homesteaders that follow me. I want to engage in their posts, as much as I want them to engage in mine! Now I know I don't have a large following or anything, so that could change when you no longer see what you're looking for, but to me, it's about authenticity and relationships. It's about seeing pictures and watching short clips and getting my animal fill in a short amount of time and going about my day without getting sucked in for hours! I however, don't follow back profiles that don't have anything to do with homesteading, or I am not interested in.

However, the downside. Because there is always a downside. Small businesses. I love following them, I love seeing their products. But some days I notice I get say 5 new follows from the same company with the same type of name. You know the type, they all post the same exact t-shirt photo 5 times a day on every account. Before I realized this, I did follow them back, because hello, homesteading stuff I can BUY! Yes please! However, those pages follow you, only to unfollow you a day, or week later. They are just building their page count by tricking you into thinking that they enjoy your content when really they want you to see their stuff and do not want to interact with you at all! That's NOT the type of feed I want. I'm a busy person and well, I just can't stand that!

I've read that those using this strategy, justify it by saying they want to basically send you a notification that they see you, and to come check them out, but why see you to just unsee you? You can do the same thing with the like button, by liking posts by people that aren't already following you! I follow tags like #NigerianDwarfGoats and click, click away because I LOVE following goats, but I don't want to go around following every goat owner there is on IG! There is still a way to still be seen!

Or there is the person that follows you and likes a ton of your stuff, and you think to yourself, "sweet they like my stuff! I want to see what they are about!" So you end up on their feed, enjoying their stuff and giving those likes back! but then... THEN a week or so later, they delete, YES DELETE all their likes and comments! What? Why? HUH? But, they still follow you? It appears they like a bunch of your stuff in hopes that you will go like a bunch of theirs, and then, they delete it all! Crazy right?

I only started noticing the tactics of these business owners when I would lose a LOT of followers over night. Check out who it was (Thanks to the Unfollow instagram app!) And see that they all have something in common. They all are now only following a handful of people.  I do end up blocking some of them as I've noticed a few weeks later they are now again liking and following me again, which I know will lead to yet another mass unfollow and delete, and the cycle only continues! Beware though, this app says you can pay to see who has blocked you, and through my research, people who disable their accounts do show up on your block list! I wouldn't purchase it as it's inaccurate, however the ability to see who's unliked photos, deleted comments and unfollowed you, is really very helpful to keeping your IG a community!

Now I know this post is long but I wanted to share it with those of you unfamiliar with this in case you wanted a more authentic type feed too. So many of us are past the days of growing followers and likes and are looking for community and authentic communications. If you're interested in my journey, i want to be interested in yours! You might think differently and that's okay, but for me, I'm tired of social media being a place only to stroke the egos of someone else. I don't want to waste my time telling you how great your stuff is, and encouraging you, if you don't want to do the same for me. That's just how I've always been and i'm not beneath deleting all my likes back because I'm petty like that and don't like to be used!

There is one more tactic I'd like to mention. A lot of these places that do these things mentioned above, grow the feeds, then delete all the likes and comments, so that they can now sell the page, or change the content. Have you ever looked at your feed one day and wonder why you are suddenly following a page that you have never followed before? In the settings of instagram, there is a place where you can see what you've liked and commented on to delete it later. I had no idea this option was available but it makes it really easy for them to unlike everything.

Here is a screen shot of the option! 

Now don't get me wrong, you will have people you follow that don't follow you back. There are many feeds I enjoy that I committed to first that didn't chose to follow me back. That's totally okay. The same goes for those that follow me, and are later bored of my content, and just want to unfollow. Those things are a part of the deal and happen! We all go through this! I'm speaking about those places that only follow you so that you can serve them, and grow their numbers.

I hope this has helped some of you! I'd rather have 100 real followers who like my content, then 500 who don't care, or interact anyway!

Thanks for reading! ~The Vela Homestead

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