Instagram, with its 1BN+ users worldwide, is the social media phenomenon, which saw a huge shift in content from platforms where writing status updates was the norm to uploading photos and videos. It has been quite the rollercoaster in recent years. From soaring highs, to the lowest lows, Instagram has affected each of its users for better or worse. It is a place where an innocuous image of an egg can get the most views and it is the platform where influencers can receive payment to promote ‘appetite suppressing lollipops’ to a non-critical and unsuspecting, young, fanbase.
Back in 2017, Instagram was ranked as having the most negative impact of all social platforms for mental health in the 14–24 age group (Instagram’s core audience), and it is easy to see why this problem has persisted. As some might say, ‘seeing is believing’, yet how many of those photos that you’ve seen are actually #candid or #nofilter?
Although these stats haven’t put Instagram in the best light, millions of users still have a positive experience with the platform. Now, please raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimised by your existence on Instagram. If that applies to you, fear not, I’ve compiled some top tips to help you scroll responsibly and enjoy your time on the social platform.
4. Cut down your scrolling time
Just woke up? Scroll. Lunch break? Scroll. Feeling down? Scroll. Ready for bed? Scroll. If you’re going on to Instagram before talking to a loved one of a morning – you’re doing ‘it’ wrong.
Top tip: To spend less time on the app, try setting yourself some goals and living in the real world; perhaps you don’t go on Instagram until lunchtime from Monday to Friday? Or, better yet, set a time limit for each day with Instagram’s Activity dashboard. Getting into a structured, everyday routine could help you spend a reasonable amount of time scrolling.
3. Mute notifications
If you’re trying to have time away from Instagram, the one thing you don’t need is notifications lighting up your phone to entice you back to the ‘gram.
Top tip: The best thing I ever did was turn my notifications off for Instagram (as well as every other social channel). It means you can regain control of when you’re going to give social media your time, not the other way around.
2. Unfollow accounts that don’t make you feel good
If you’re sat at your desk in rainy Bristol (other rainy cities in the UK available), and feel envious of bikini-cladded school friends on remote islands that are filling up your Insta feed, you need to ask yourself, is this is the type of content you want to be looking at? Your feed shouldn’t make you feel bad about your current situation, it should inspire and motivate you to tick things off your own bucket list, when the time’s right for you.
Top tip: Unfollow those accounts who make you roll your eyes and, instead, replace each with an account that makes you smile. Tailor your feed to your interests. Users that you followed when first joining Instagram may not be relevant to your life anymore, so have a spring clean of your followers and enjoy the difference it makes to your Instagram experience.
1. Be true to yourself on the ‘gram
Something that seems quite obvious on the surface, but give it a second thought – how easy is it to reflect the real you on Instagram?Depending on who you follow, you might find yourself in a competitive space, where every post viewed makes you feel like you have to raise them by one holiday, one girls night out, or one cute selfie. If you’re feeling this kind of pressure, please re-visit the earlier points I’ve made. Clear out the negativity first, then think about how to properly reflect your life on Instagram. Of course, everyone wants to show their best self to the world, and we do this in day-to-day life with scary ease. Everyone’s had a Ross Gellar ‘I’m fine!’ moment, but don’t let this seep into your social presence.
Top tip: Post what you want, when you want! Upload a photo because you love it, not because you want others to think you’re #sofetch or #livingyourbestlife. And, please, don’t go filter crazy – you want people to recognise you, right? Follow your gut instinct on this, I can assure you, you’ll start to feel so much better about what you’re posting.
Finally, what does this mean for brands?
Don’t worry, your paid social ads are still mightily important on Instagram, just remember it’s quality, not quantity here. As a brand, you play a pivotal role in every users individual experience on the platform, so enhance it positively! Put your effort into creative that captures attention at the moment it matters and when a user is engaged in the platform with their focused time, not all their time.