One of the biggest challenges founders face when using Instagram is all the options.
It’s super confusing and overwhelming when you’re trying to decide if you should focus on Reels, Carousels, Stories, Threads, and allllll the other options.
After diving into the data and understanding what Mr. Al the Algorithm really wants from us, there is a clear strategy business owners can tap into to know how to post, where to post, and what to post. All without feeling like you’re stuck in option overwhelm.
Learn about the Instagram discoverability layers so you can start feeling empowered and see the truth that the Instagram Algorithm isn’t out to hurt you. IG really is one of the best social media platforms, giving you all the features you need to take your business to new heights.
In this episode of the podcast, I talk about:
- Instagram Bootcamp 2023
- Why Instagram is so overwhelming
- Why Instagram isn’t so bad
- The downfall of trying to do it all
- How your favorite content creators really create
- Instagram Discoverability layers
- The future of business
This Episode Was Made Possible By:
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- “There's a lot of negative sentiments around the platform, and it honestly is kind of bumming me out. Like I love social media. Y'all know this. I've met my husband on social media, I met some of my closest friends on social media. I've met all of you on social media. And so I love it. I love its potential.” – Andréa Jones
- “If we are all poop scrolling, we were not doing this 15 years ago, even 10 years ago, I don't think I was taking my phone with me to the bathroom. It, it's kind of a weird thing to do, right? We took books and magazines and newspapers, not our phones, and now we're taking our phones with us. Our phone is our book, our phone is our magazine. Our phone is our newspaper.” – Andréa Jones
- “People make assumptions about you based on your skin color. And when those assumptions are challenged, they feel the need to share it as if it's not slightly racist.” – Andréa Jones
- “This is what my clients and my students in the Savvy Social School go through all the time. When they come to me, they go, ‘Andréa, I'm trying to do it all'. And I'm here to tell you, that's why it's feeling challenging is cuz you're trying to do it all.” – Andréa Jones
- “My suggestion is to focus in on one area. If you like creating video content, if that's easeful for you, focus in on reels. If carousels are your jam and you're like, I create these, like, it's nothing. Focus on that…thinking about your natural tendencies and leaning into that is the path to success.” – Andréa Jones
- “The people you follow on social media who are your faves, your besties, you're like, oh, I don't know how they're doing this. They have a team, okay? They have people behind the scenes being them on social media.” – Andréa Jones
- “In one of our Spark Sessions in the Savvy Social School, I was talking with one of our members who creates travel itineraries, and they really use guides as a way to curate travel experiences for other people. Fascinating way to use that area, but people have to go look there to find it, right? They're not gonna stumble across it themselves.” – Andréa Jones
Watch the Episode Below:
Andréa Jones (00:00):
Raise your hand if you have ever felt personally victimized by the Instagram algorithm. I can't be the only one. And in today's episode, we are talking all things Instagram in 2023. And yes, including Instagram Threads. Let's get into it.
Welcome to The Savvy Social Podcast, the show that blends stories and strategies to help businesses create engaged and profitable online communities using the unique power of social media. And now, your host, Andréa Jones.
Andréa Jones (00:45):
So I'm doing this episode because we're hosting a big Instagram bootcamp in the Savvy Social School in August. And so, hey, if you wanna sign up for that, by the way, go to onlinedrea.com/bootcamp. But I wanted to talk about kind of like the state of Instagram first, kind of leading into that bootcamp because there's a lot of negative sentiments around the platform and it honestly is kind of bumming me out. Like I love social media. Y'all know this. I've met my husband on social media, I met some of my closest friends on social media. I've met all of you on social media. And so I love it. I love its potential. And, and, and, and I also know that it can be incredibly draining. It can burn us out. It can be overwhelming. Instagram has like five different places to post now. They also have Threads.
It's a lot. I understand that. So I wanna talk about what's happening on Instagram and then also be practical and go, here's what's working here now and today. And then if you like what you hear in this episode, definitely come join us for the bootcamp. Even if you can't join us live for the bootcamp, we're gonna try to put like a replay like funnel in place. So no matter where you are in your journey, you can get access to that material. Okay, cool. So Instagram 2023 engagement is down. I talked about this on a podcast episode a few episodes ago, probably a few months ago. Now that said, engagement is down. So if you're feeling like I'm not getting the traction that I used to, I promise you it's not you, it's Instagram. Okay? So Rival IQ releases these benchmark reports every single year.
And the one that they released this year, so this is for 2022, but they release it in 2023 states that Instagram engagement fell about 30% this year. A 30% decrease across the board for Instagram engagement, while the posting frequency is staying about the same for a lot of businesses and creators, about 4.6 posts per week. So we're all creating content. And I would actually argue that there's probably more content created cuz I'm not sure if Instagram reels is taken into account here. Which it's hard to kind of calculate that the way that Instagram has it set up. I would argue that there is more content being produced every single day where consuming content higher than we ever have in history. And yet our consumption rates aren't matching our creation rates. Right? And this is my theory, my theory about this, and I'm, I was teaching a class two weeks ago for a summit that I was in, and I mentioned this poop scrolling.
Hear me out. Do y'all take your phones with you to the bathroom to scroll? I know I do. We are not alone in this. Okay? So if we are all poop scrolling, we were not doing this 15 years ago, even 10 years ago, I don't think I was taking my phone with me to the bathroom. It, it's kind of a weird thing to do, right? We took books and magazines and newspapers, not our phone, and now we're taking our phones with us. Our phone is our book, our phone is our magazine. Our phone is our newspaper. We are entertained, educated, and what connected through social media more than we ever have been. And so I think sometimes our expectations about what social media can do are disproportionate to what it's actually doing, which is where we're feeling this little bit of negative sentiment. So hopefully I changed your mind just to touch on the power of Instagram and social media, because it's not all negative.
Let's talk about some of the success stories on social media. One of my clients this year on Instagram, her name is Linda Taliaferro had her first micro viral moment on Instagram. Now, I will tell you right now that the reason that her Instagram reel took off isn't that great. So she was talking about how as a black woman in corporate America, black women are three times more likely than white women and white men to have people surprised about their abilities and specifically their language skills. Oh, you talk so properly. I can't tell you how many times I got that growing up. Anyways, people make assumptions about you based on your skin color. And when those assumptions are challenged, they feel the need to share it as if it's not <laugh>. It's like slightly racist. Okay? So she talks about this in the video, 15,000 views y'all.
15,000 views, okay? In this video, a lot of the comments initially were negative saying why it gotta be about race <laugh>, when the whole point is okay, we're trying to address a challenge that a specific subset of people are having. But the positive of that is the amount of outpouring of love and support for Linda is absolutely amazing. Let me pull up some of the comments here. For people are saying, thank you for bringing this to my attention. These stats make me sad. Thank you for the work that you're doing. Thank you for helping and empower women so they can change the game and stand firmly confident and comfortably in your power. People sharing their own stories. Someone here is talking about how the fact that they were a barista at a coffee shop and they even had some microaggressions against them.
So the community element is what I wanna highlight here. The power of Instagram is by Linda having, in starting this conversation, she's able to broaden out that conversation, bring more people in and sell her products, and her offers sh right shortly after this sold out her in-person live event and is planning her next one as we speak, <laugh>, okay? So this, this is the power of social media. This is what we're here for, this is what we're trying to do. And yes, there was some negative follow up from this, but they're straight up upside from these things. I'll tell you this. Linda has 1300-ish followers on Instagram. It's not about the followers, it's about the potential. Since then, she's had another video have over, it actually went higher, over 15,000 views. So this is why I like Instagram, the potential and the possibility.
Now, both of these video examples that I gave are Instagram reels. And this is something that Instagram is changing this year that I wanna talk about is discoverability. I think it's a powerful tool for business owners specifically. So we'll talk about what discoverability is and what placements you should use. But before we dive into that, I do wanna talk quickly, quickly about part of this negative sentiment and why it's happening. Oftentimes, it's because we're trying to do too much <laugh>, okay? We are doing the most y'all the absolute most. So what happens is we see other people out here on Instagram streets, beeping and bopping, posting their things, looking all cute and professional. And we go, I want that. I wanna do that for me, for myself too. And so we try to emulate that. We're trying to do the fancy reels, we're trying to do video editing techniques, and we're posting a carousel post and we're posting a stories every day.
What about Guides? I don't even know how to use those. And now we have Instagram Threads coming into the scene and we're like another platform and we try to do it all and then we feel burned out by it because we're trying to do it all. Raise your hand if this is you. This is what my clients and my students in the Savvy Social School go through all the time. When they come to me, they go, Andrea, I'm trying to do it all. And I'm here to tell you, that's why it's feeling challenging is cuz you're trying to do it all. And that's not possible, my friends, okay? It's not possible. So instead of trying to do it all, pick what you can do until you can get a team to support you. And I am gonna start talking about this a lot more in my marketing because it is very, very challenging to do all of the placements on Instagram without having support or that's what you're doing all day, right?
How are you gonna post a carousel post, post a reel, post to stories five times a day, then also go over to Threads? When are you actually working? You're not <laugh>, you're on social media and there is a time and a place for that, right? But if you're building your business in tangent with building social media, you have that challenge in front of you. So my suggestion is to focus in on one area, if you like, creating video content, if that's easeful for you. Focus in on reels. If carousels are your jam and you're like, I create these, like, it's nothing. Focus on that. If your story's girly and you're like, I love sharing my tidbits about my day, but I really struggle with creating reels, focus on stories and maybe turn those into reels at a later time. Okay? So thinking about your natural tendencies and leaning into that is the path to success.
Then we get a team, hire an assistant, hire a social media manager or what we do, we are an agency. We work with, you know, thought leaders, coaches, experts, consultants on their business. Usually they already are creating content in some way and they just need to amplify, magnify and make that grow. Okay? So that's what I do. But I'm here to say this because the people you follow on social media who are your faves, your besties, you're like, oh, I don't know how they're doing this. They have a team <laugh>, okay? They have people, people for them behind the scenes being them on social media. Okay? All right, we're gonna take a quick break when we come back, let's talk about what is happening on Instagram in 2023.
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All right, and we're back. So first thing I wanna talk about when it comes to Instagram marketing in 2023 is understanding the various placements. Okay? There are so many different ways that you can post on social media, okay? Let's talk about all the different ways you can post on Instagram specifically, because there's a lot.
So we have our discovery placements first. This is someone's just getting to know you. They just found your account for the first time. We're talking Instagram reels primarily. Okay? So when you think about finding new accounts, Instagram is actively using Instagram reels as a tool for discovery. Meaning they're putting it in front of people who've never seen of you heard of you. They don't know what you are, they don't know who you're, who you are, what you're about. Instagram goes here, watch this video. You've seen this in your feed. You're scrolling through your feed, you see reels, Instagram videos from people you don't follow. Imagine Instagram doing that to your video, okay? This is the power of Instagram reels. They're gonna try to match you with who you follow. And this is a direct response to the TikTok conversation. I've talked about TikTok a lot in on this podcast because I personally love it.
Their algorithm knows me very well. I log into the app with an open mind and TikTok shows me content that I wanna see. It shows me the things that I wanna see and I go, yes, I wanna see this. And if I don't wanna see it, I keep scrolling and it goes, Hmm, she scrolled past that one. Let's try something different. Okay? So the TikTok effect is happening on Instagram as well. Okay? So Instagram is trying to help people find new content. So you as a thought leader, a creator, a business owner, are going to have your content show up there. It is built for discovery. So when you're creating content for Instagram reels, you wanna think about it from the context of someone who doesn't know you, has never seen you before. Okay? So that's one type of placement. I will also say carousel posts are now starting to show up in discovery as well.
That means a post with multiple slides, kind of like a PowerPoint presentation where you got the slides, that's a basically Instagram carousel post. Okay? So those are also sometimes showing up in discovery. It's mostly reels. So if you want to have people find your content, you're probably gonna have to post to reels. Okay? So that's the first placement. Other placements, I'm gonna call this kind of like your middle warming up build phase of your social media funnel. These are your feed posts, carousels, static images. So just one or a graphic, one image in the post. This is for people who they follow you now. So they're seeing your content and their feed and they're going, why should I care? Okay? So you're educating them, you're entertaining them, you're giving them something more, okay? Maybe you're building a relationship with them. The super fans are gonna go to your stories.
I'm a type of person where I watch mostly. Now <laugh>, unless I'm researching and like doing my thing for work per, on a personal level, I like stories. So stories is kind of like that next phase in that funnel. We've got things where people, they know you, they like your content, they trust you. I would also put in Instagram live in this category, okay? You're probably not gonna bop into a random Instagram live. You're probably gonna do an Instagram live. You're probably gonna consume that content from someone you follow, you know, you like and you trust. Okay? So when we're thinking about reels, people who don't know us, carousel posts and static feed posts, people who maybe they follow us, they don't really care enough just yet. Stories, Instagram lives, people who know, like trust us. I would also put Threads, the brand new Instagram app Threads in this category.
So if you don't know what I'm talking about with Instagram Threads, I'm gonna link in the show notes to YouTube video where I cover it all. I've actually been producing a lot of content on my YouTube. You can find me out on Lare about Threads. It's a new app. It's kinda like Twitter, okay? Threads goes in that category notes, which I don't have for some reason. <Laugh> Instagram notes. It's also like Twitter. I feel like they're gonna get rid of that feature in a hot minute. Now they have Threads that also goes in that category. Okay? So this is the type of content for people who, they're your super fans. They know, like, and trust you. You're a rockstar in their world, right? This is where we want people at cuz this is where the conversions happen, right? When people know, like, and trust us, they feel comfortable enough to buy things from us, okay?
Now a purchasing decision can happen at any stage. There have been reels that I've watched. I've immediately gone and purchased something <laugh>. There are sometimes I've been following people for years and I never buy from them. Sometimes I purchase things in stories. Sometimes it's a feed post and I'm clicking that link in the bio. So a purchasing decision could happen at any stage in the funnel, but it's, it's astronomically increased on stories especially. And I imagine Threads and notes are gonna follow that direction. Now we do have another section of Instagram, which is actually a huge focus for Instagram going forward, which is direct messaging. Okay? So this is what I call, this is for your, like you are a rockstar. This is your OG diet riot hard individuals who will fight for you, okay? It feels like texting your bestie. So we have one-on-one direct messages, which is your classic messaging format.
But now we also have group messages, which are broadcast channels. So you can create a broadcast channel where you are updating your pals regularly, sporadically, however you'd like, and it goes out to them. They get a notification and they get your hottest, latest and greatest best hits. Okay? So we have broadcast channels that are one too many, but we also have broadcast channels that are a group to many. We also have straight up group chats where everyone can contribute, okay? So direct messaging is also a thing that Instagram really likes, and they're playing around in that field quite a lot. There are a few other placements that I wanna mention that kind of are on the outskirts. And these placements are really for those who are super curious about you because people have to go looking for them to find them. Ok? First up, Instagram story highlights.
You know, those little buttons that you see on the top of your Instagram stories, those are highlights. If someone's going here, they're going to your profile. So number one, they're not in their feed, they're on your profile. So they had to go find you in the first place. And then number two, to go to your highlights, they're just curious. They're like, who is this chick? Or you directed them there. Go look at my highlights and like, oh, okay, I'm gonna go look there. Okay? Otherwise, they're not discoverable, they don't show up in the feed, they don't, people have to go find them. Another placement that's really like, this is Instagram guides, okay? Instagram guides. These are curated collection of posts that are either your posts or someone else's or a mixture. And people have to go find these to really see them. They don't show up in the feed, they don't show up in discovery.
They're only on your profile. And really it's for people who are curious. So if you have a collection of lead magnets, if you have a collection of posts around the same topic it was just in one of our spark sessions in the Savvy Social School, I was talking with one of our members who creates travel itineraries and they really use guides as a way to curate travel experiences for other people. Fascinating way to use that area, but people have to go look there to find it, right? They're not gonna stumble across it themselves. You usually have to point them that way. Okay? So those are kind of on the outskirts at their bonuses, in my opinion. With all of that in mind. How do we use Instagram as a total grower? Our business number one reels, I cannot preach this enough, if you're not using reels yet, you are losing out on the opportunity for people to bump into you.
Okay? You're kind of putting in a manual aspect to people finding it. You're gonna have to go out and find them now. Okay? So reels, I think is a no-brainer. And then thinking about your content in the middle, that, that content between someone going, oh, I just found her and oh my gosh, she's a rockstar in my world, right? What are you putting there? Lean into your natural inclination when it comes to creating content. I'm a talker. I love talking. I'm going to talk very imperfectly. If you tell me to do a polished video, my shoulders come up. I don't, something about it. Like <laugh>, if I have to record something that's like all buttoned up yeah, it's gonna take me a while to do it because I'm more of like an off the cuff, natural kind of person. And so I'm just leaning into that in my videos, right?
That's my inclination. If you ask me to write a carousel post, it'll take me a minute. If you see a carousel post on my page, my team wrote it. And that's the beauty of the team. Okay? So reels for discovery, creating content based on your inclination and community, community, community, community. So community is my driving light for this year. Y'all know this. I think the future of business is community. I firmly believe that we're gonna be talking a lot about that at the Savvy Social Retreat in November which is our in-person extravaganza. It's gonna be amazing. Oh my gosh, it's gonna be amazing. But we're talking about the future of, and then I think the future of business is collaboration and community. And so thinking outside of yourself and going, how can I support others who's already here watching, listening, and paying attention?
How can I really pour into those people? I think that's the magic of Instagram. Sometimes we focus too much on more, more, more, more. How can I get new subscribers? How can I get new followers? How can I get more people watching this video? And we leave our OGs in the dust we leave behind the people who have been there since day one, man, the people who will fight for us. Those are the people who are actually gonna help us grow. And so lean into those people who love on those people and find more of those people. They're harder to find, they're harder to find. They are the people that are gonna be there for you if you're there for them.
So listen, if you're feeling down and out about Instagram, know that you're not alone. And then come join us in the Instagram Bootcamp. It's onlinedrea.com/bootcamp. I'll put that link in the show notes. We're gonna have a blasty blast. There's three different options for levels of participation. So head on over to the sales page and sign up. I will see you there. I have a couple more episodes coming out around this as well. So stay tuned. That's all for today. Bye for now.