A recent article from Better Marketing posed the question, “Is Instagram dying?” Given recent changes to algorithms on the app (they’re always changing though, aren’t they?), and the number of users complaining they’re not being seen by their followers, the signs seem to point to yes. The article certainly believes so (though with several caveats, as should be the case).
But don’t quit the ’Gram or abandon your efforts there. “When I talk to friends and read articles about why Instagram is dying, I see a wide range of answers like it’s ‘boring now’ or it’s ‘too saturated’ or there’s ‘too many ads’ or ‘it feels like a time suck’ or it’s ‘too hard to grow,’” the article states. These are all completely valid reasons to be frustrated with the social app at the moment. But how much of them are unfixable?
Is Instagram “boring now” because it lacks the pizzazz of TikTok? Is it “too hard to grow” because people aren’t engaging on the app the way they used to? Or do users’ content strategies just need a kick in the pants? Is Instagram stale in its format or will it continue to shift and add new features, as it has with IGTV and Reels?
People are still spending time on the app. Instagram isn’t dead, it’s just changing. Similar to how even though Facebook is dead to me and perhaps others in my age group and younger, it hasn’t quite shut down, has it? It just requires a different social strategy, and it reaches different groups of people. Are those people as likely to purchase something in-app as a younger, more tech-savvy generation? No, but they are paying attention and seeking the information they find on the app off-site (I know this to be true, because if I had a nickel for every older relative of mine that says “I saw X product or story on Facebook,” I’d have at least a dollar).
The same can be said for Instagram—it’s just not that “easy” to use anymore. The aforementioned article does a really thorough job of explaining how the platform’s algorithm has evolved to basically spotlight only the most attention-grabbing content, a quality that often changes based on the whims of a fickle audience. Now that there are more people on the app, there’s more competition. You’re essentially a small fish in a big pond, and to make a big splash, you’ve got to have exactly what potential followers in your category are looking for.
We know things on Instagram are changing. It was only last month that I wrote about the platform’s announcement that it was really no longer a photo app, and is instead transitioning to video-heavy content to compete with other platforms like TikTok and YouTube. That may sound scary—and it is for jewelers that have had years of success posting beautiful photos of their products and earning likes!—but it’s not an impossible obstacle to overcome.
Instagram isn’t dead, but the Instagram we once knew probably is. That’s no reason to shutter your account or pull back on your efforts, particularly if you do even small bits of business on there. Instagram has been relentless in its insistence that it’s looking to help small businesses and Creators grow on the app, investing dollars into new programs to help them stand out. Take advantage of these tools and improvements, however they make sense for you.
Furthermore, for jewelers in particular, Instagram might still be the ideal platform for making social media–based sales. If you think about the typical Instagram audience, it’s probably somewhere right around one of your biggest spending groups at the moment. It’s Gen Xers and millennials, ones that have good spending power at the moment and are doing plenty of self-purchasing and gifting, as well as shopping for engagement rings—or engagement ring upgrades and anniversary bands. Many of these users are just getting used to making purchases through social media, a practice that will surely become more commonplace.
There was one particularly powerful paragraph in the article on Better Marketing that feels important to mention. It reads:
“Let’s get one thing clear…Instagram as a company and product isn’t really dying. They are still growing, capturing our attention, and making money from it. They’ll be fine, I’m sure. What’s dying and will continue to die is the likelihood that most people/artists/businesses/activists will be able to organically reach the number of people they once could on Instagram and hearing that can be painful, especially if you’ve spent a lot of time and energy already on the platform.”
Your chances of becoming Instagram famous at this point? Not impossible, but still slim. But if you’ve spent a lot of time and energy on the platform, let’s nurture those efforts. Take the followers you already have, some of them probably loyal customers, and help them to transition to a new Instagram journey with you. Try out more video and get them involved—ask for their feedback, ask for their contributions, start a conversation. If you’re classified as a business on the platform, do everything you can to make it easy—and tempting—for your followers to purchase without ever leaving the app. Instagram offers you the tools to do that, you just have to decide exactly the best way to utilize them.
The article closes with this: “Who knows, learning that Instagram is ‘dead’ might even end up being one of the biggest gifts you offer to your mental health.”
And the article is absolutely right. Stop wasting your time with posts begging people, “Like this if you see it!” I’ve seen far too many users and businesses publicly complaining that they don’t get the engagement they used to. That’s just the way it goes, and putting it up on your grid isn’t doing your business any favors. It’s unfair, surely, after the years you’ve invested in the app, but it’s seriously not a good look to dwell on what’s lacking and ask your followers to commiserate with you. People want to see hustle! They want onward and upward! And accepting that success won’t come as easy as it once maybe did in this space can only serve to help you understand what does work for you.
You’ll probably see a lot written about how is Instagram is changing, and perhaps even dying, as time goes on. And while these articles almost always have their valid points, don’t let them steer you from a potentially great sales tool from your business—just try your best to adapt to its ever-evolving state.
(Instagram logo via Instagram)
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