I called June 2019 the Twilight Zone of Instagram growth. And I’m not sure that things have really changed since then, or our pivoting to keep our clients’ accounts growing just paid off.

It’s no secret that Instagram limits your ability to follow others en masse. The rule is: 

You can follow and/or unfollow up to 200 accounts per day.

But in June 2019, we heard that Instagram had tightened its limits even further. Or maybe it was a bug. There’s still no confirmed report of what happened, but accounts all over the world were affected by slow growth and reduced engagement.

Here’s what we do know.

 

Social media truth or fiction: was Instagram limiting your growth?

Prior to June, Instagram wasn’t limiting engagement overall – just following/unfollowing. You just had to know how to make the algorithm work for you. How did you do that? You needed to… 

  1. Get likes and comments

It sucks to constantly be hearing Instagramers ask their followers for likes and comments, but there was a good reason why they do that… The more likes and comments a post got, the more Instagram promoted it. So everyone was focused on racking up those engagements. 

  1. Post consistently 

Instagram used to reward regular users. If you were always sharing things, especially on a regular schedule, you’d see your stuff getting shown to more of your followers. That was great because you could just schedule your content, having it come out at appropriate intervals. 

  1. Engage with followers 

Before, engagement was read as closeness. So if you chatted via comments a lot with a follower, Instagram decided you were probably friends or family and showed lots of your content to them.  

  1. Use Instagram a lot 

Users used to get their content bumped if they were on the app frequently. So if you were part of the community, Instagram had your back and made sure you were promoted harder. 

 

But all this is from before June… What’s been happening since? 

Is Instagram changing its social media algorithm? 

Since June, our team over here at Legendary has seen a huge change in Instagram engagement on the accounts we manage and those we follow. All of a sudden, follower growth and engagement has slowed down. We’ve heard that that’s because Instagram has been placing limits in these two areas, but there’s no official confirmation of that from Instagram or other experts in the industry. 

We have our own theory, though. We suspect that Instagram is moving closer to the pay-to-play model that Facebook has. (Remember: Facebook owns Instagram.) Basically, this model forces you “boost” your content with $ to get a lot of people to see it. 

Where does that leave your business? Well, there are still some things you can do to help… 

  • Plan to take more time to build your following. Just be realistic about the situation and keep at it. 
  • Work with influencers with established followings. Then you broaden your exposure. 
  • Get creative with your content to make it really standout when people do see it. You want it to be memorable. Not sure how to do this? This is where a social media company like Legendary can be really helpful!
  • Use every aspect of the platform. Make sure you are not just creating posts, but also stories. 

 

Keep an eye on our page for continued blogs about how this situation unfolds.