Make Lemonade

May 9, 2016
Denim cut-offs, white blouse, floppy hat, leather tote.

Denim cut-offs, white blouse, floppy hat, leather tote.By now, you’ve probably heard about Instagram making some big changes to their feed. In fact, some of you might even already have the updated algorithm now—it’s a slow roll out, but slowly but surely Instagram will have the “top engaged” images appear at the top of users’ feeds as opposed to the reverse chronological order we’ve had for so long.

How to style denim shortsCasual summer styleDenim boyfriend cut-off shorts, suede heels, oversized leather tote, sheer white blouse, floppy tan hat. Floppy hat outfit idea leah-alexandra-ring Weekend casual summer outfitNaturally, this is freaking a lot of people out, especially brands and influencers. While I’ve had some different gripes with Instagram over the years (namely how easy it is for both brands and influencers to falsify numbers, both for followings and likes), it’s always been one of my favourite platforms, if not my absolute favourite. I’m a super visual person and as far as my brand goes, it’s been such a great tool to give an at-a-glance representation of To Vogue or Bust—while there’s always fine-tuning, over the years there’s definitely an aesthetic that each one of us (influencers or otherwise) develops and it’s so much fun to develop that creatively (PS, more on that later this week!).

I can’t lie—I’m a bit concerned about the changes myself, and as the new feed has rolled out since last week I’ve personally noticed a bit of a dip in engagement. Having said that, I’m a big believer in using new challenges to your advantage (make that lemonade, ya know), and after doing some research, I’m starting to feel more and more like this might reinvigorate the platform, help weed out some of the easy-to-exploit loopholes and challenge us all to produce even better content than before!

First of all, while likes are important the algorithm will be favouring highly engaged content. While usually, top performing pictures will get a good mix of high likes and lots of comments, often you’ll get one or the other. The problem in the past with Instagram is that a lot of influencers or brands buy likes the second their pictures go live, tricking both their followers and whoever they report to into thinking the picture is doing well. I won’t get into it but obviously, as someone who works hard to produce the best content I can and who really values honesty, it feels shitty both as a peer and as a consumer to have people do that.

Fortunately, this new algorithm should help diminish the impact of this number inflation, and also favour posts that have genuine, organic engagement. The lesson here? Other than always being honest about what you’re representing on social media, if you’re an influencer or brand, really take the time to start replying to comments (not something I’m always great at but it always leads to great conversations and it’s so awesome to connect!), tell a story with your posts and ask questions or offer something of substance that people will want to engage with.

And this leads into my next point—quality over quantity! Since Instagram used to be all about the chronological strategy (i.e. posting at opportune times, which was actually always really hard to do while travelling anyway because there are very limited scheduling apps for Insta), often it’d be hard to keep that in mind. Obviously timing will still be important, but I’m really hoping this new algorithm allows for more freedom timing-wise so that we can all focus on creating special moments, messages and images and posting them as they happen (rather than holding content or producing more but less-quality imagery to keep a presence up).

Finally, I’m kind of hoping that the changes kind of bring people back to blogging more. As mentioned, Instagram is one of my favourites, but I love storytelling and feel like there’s no better way of doing this than on a blog. I love all the different social platforms but the social vs. blog debate (and the fact that Instagram seemed to always come out on top) always saddened me a bit, not only because I love blogging and love reading blogs myself, but because I felt like people were judging worth based off of a very visibly measurable platform (though it’s also one that’s really easy to cheat with, for lack of a better word).

As far as working as an influencer goes, it’s really, really near-impossible for influencers to lie about their traffic—take a screenshot of your Google Analytics and that’s pretty much the truth of what’s going on with your website. Reporting likes and followers on Instagram is another thing, obviously—easy to inflate both.

But more than that, as a reader of blogs and someone who also loves to follow my favourite bloggers on Instagram, I always, always, always want to hear the story behind their posts. I’ve always preferred to treat Insta that way (as a referral to the real story) and personally, I’m kind of hoping that this change results in just that—more storytelling, dialogue and presence in the blogging world!

What do you guys think about the changes to Instagram (whether or not it’s rolled over for you)? Are you for it or hating it?


Joie heels, Gentle Fawn top, Gap shorts, Madewell bag, Daniel Wellington watch, Barefoot Contessa hat, Leah Alexandra jewelry

Photos by The August Diaries

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  • Reply diana May 9, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Super cute look!
    || D I A N A ||

    • Reply Alex Grant May 10, 2016 at 9:29 pm

      Thanks Diana! x

  • Reply Jane May 9, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    I think you are hitting the nail on the head here. I love looking at these snapshots in instagram but I aways found it odd that some of the people who gained a bunch of followers that didn’t have great content, or others that have great instagram platform but it didn’t really translate across all platforms and yet instagram was held up as this end all and be all. I personally love blogging for the chance to share something and answering a question with a post. For me my blog will always come first. I own my blog and have complete control but instagram can change anything any time so we can’t really rely upon it alone like so many “instabloggers” have.

    • Reply Alex Grant May 10, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      I totally agree! I love, love, love Instagram but I feel like the things you can really control for the most part (your blog, mailing list, etc) should always be a top priority too (equal to Insta at the very least, if not more so a priority) since any of these platforms can totally change on us at any given moment! xo

  • Reply Annette Dattilo May 9, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    Such a great post! Im new to the whole blog scene as a reader and although I too am very visual, the most enjoyable part for me is reading the story behind the post.

    • Reply Alex Grant May 10, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      Me too! I love getting hooked with visuals but then having a chance to read what went on behind it!

  • Reply Jackie May 9, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    This is an interesting take on the new Instagram algorithm. My feed has been out of order since shortly after they announced the changes (lucky me, right)? I’ve noticed some days, my engagement isn’t as high, and then I’ll have a few days where my numbers are much better. I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence or not, but it’s definitely keeping me on my toes.

    I also wonder if that means there will be a push back towards actual blogging, rather than “instagram blogging.” I guess time will tell.

    Your posts still show up for me, just FYI 🙂

    • Reply Alex Grant May 10, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      Oh good to know!!! And totally, I’m still a bit wary of everything but figure it’s always best to keep on the positive side and hope this benefits us more in the long run!

  • Reply Sabrina May 9, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    Love the post Alex. IG and social are great…and there are definitely a lot of people moving away from blogging to focus on specific channels…but the blog is NOT dead!! Very true about the transparency with blog versus social metrics as well.

    I do wonder with the new changes if it will make the very large influencers even more prominent…and the mid-sized ones less “influential”. I hope not since magic middle bloggers are the best 🙂 Interested to see how this rolls out and how the changes affect everyone.

    • Reply Alex Grant May 10, 2016 at 9:33 pm

      So true! It will be interesting to see how it all plays out – really hope it actually benefits those who have great content though, fingers crossed it doesn’t take away from the platform because I do love Insta so much! xo

  • Reply Liesa May 10, 2016 at 12:36 am

    Really nice summery outfit!

    • Reply Alex Grant May 10, 2016 at 9:34 pm

      Thanks Liesa! x

  • Reply Kate May 10, 2016 at 4:06 am

    Great overview of the changes to insta – and great insights. I really enjoyed reading this post!

    Kate |

    • Reply Alex Grant May 10, 2016 at 9:34 pm

      Thanks so much Kate! x

  • Reply Erin Sousa May 10, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    I like this take on things, Alex. What I don’t agree with is that it will challenge people to up their game in terms of creating content. Seems to me, as of late, that people are paralyzed with how high the bar has become, and are therefore posting less, and spectators are tiring of the “perfect” and not spending as much time on Instagram. Things are definitely at an interesting tipping point!

    I’m SUPER glad that it will weed out people who are basically fraudulent buying followers and likes, but it won’t necessarily be enough (since say they’ve bought 700 likes, and they maybe receive a genuine 200 for a total of 900 – buying the likes will still give them that 700), although it will hurt their follower and like growth in the long term. Wish sponsorship brands would dig into those likes, because it would be easy to spot fakes that way.

    It is important to note how much of an impact it will have on small businesses trying to build a following and find their demographic, leading to marketing concerns.

    • Reply Alex Grant May 10, 2016 at 9:36 pm

      Oh, good point – I didn’t even think about the fact that it might deter people from sharing. So true though, if you feel like posting is pointless since most of the content doesn’t get seen, it could definitely hurt smaller brands/bloggers. I’m also hoping that it will weed out those who have cheated the system in the past but totally, it will be interesting to see how it favours comments vs. likes – if it’s the latter, won’t really do much to deter people from continuing to buy likes! We need brunch ASAP at any rate, want to catch up and chat more about this!!!

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