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For the past three and a half years, I’ve had the privilege of running The Phoblographer’s official Instagram account. If you follow the account, then most of the posts, stories, and the odd IGTV interview were done by yours truly. For the most part, it’s been lots of fun interacting with the tens of thousands of followers we have. It’s also been an eye-opener in terms of how Instagram works. In this article, I will share six things I learned from managing a popular Instagram account.
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The Instagram Ride Has Come to an End
Before we get into the juicy part of the article, there’s something I’d like to make clear. From now on, I’ll no longer be running The Phoblographer’s Instagram. I’ll, of course, continue with my weekly articles, and I’ll also be focusing my time on a different area of the publication (keep an eye out for that.)
So, I’d quickly like to thank all of our followers. Your continued support, both inside and outside the IG app, is amazing and something all of us here at The Phoblographer are grateful for.
1. Which Stories do Well on Instagram?
At The Phoblographer, we’re committed to offering a range of photographic stories for our audience. From gear to visual storytelling, right through to the downright bizarre. I, and the rest of the team, have worked on pieces that take months to complete—stories that highlight the struggles within our world and how photography can drive change. Guess how well they do on Instagram in terms of engagement and clicks? Not too well. But if I do a roundup of the best boudoir photographers, you can guarantee it will blow up on Instagram. I find that sad.
Now, that’s not a discredit to any talented boudoir photographer. We appreciate your work, and especially your talent. But photography can dig deep within society, and it would be great if people showed more interest in the powerful stories. I’ve written about this before, and my experience with Instagram only further validated my opinion on the topic.
2. Instagram is an Abusive Parent
Because Instagram likes to control everything, it’s constantly moving its users from pillar to post. Algorithms. Oh, the algorithms. One month we’re told to do it one way, and the next, Instagram rips up the rule book and changes everything. It really is like the abusive parent who allows their child to believe no matter what they do to succeed, it will never be good enough. I won’t miss that.
3. There is Good Photography on Instagram
One complaint I hear a lot is that Instagram is over-saturated with bad photography. It’s true. It really is. But after spending countless hours interacting with photographers on the platform, I can also say it’s full of amazing photography. And while purists may flock to Behance and Flickr (myself included), I would also advise not to overlook the fantastic work on the Instagram platform. Some of that work should be seen by far more eyes, but sadly, point two in this article often prevents that.
4. The Platform Cares More About Influencers
Some of the talented photographers in our industry do well on Instagram. But it’s clear the app, which began as a photography platform, doesn’t really care about good photography. Rather than a seasoned pro photographer doing groundbreaking work, it would rather push the accounts of a swimwear model who learned the basics on an iPhone camera. I get it. It’s all about money. It would, however, be better if things were more balanced and authentic, quality photography was more at the forefront of the company’s vision.
5. It’s Not Good For Publishers
It should come as no surprise that publishers want Instagram users to leave the platform and go to their site. The truth is, however, that most Instagram users don’t want to leave the platform. With Facebook, we were encouraged to share links to stories, but Instagram never made that push. So for a publisher, it’s a redundant platform for generating traffic when you compare it to the likes of Facebook and Flipboard.
6. You Have to Walk Away From it
Instagram is addictive. No doubt about that. Even when I wasn’t using it for work, I would constantly check-in and see what level of interaction we were getting on our posts. That’s not healthy. So I learned I should only use the platform when a task needed completing. Once that was done, I would come out of it and not open the app until another task needed completing. You don’t need to walk away from it entirely, but you need to learn to set healthy boundaries between you and the platform.
It’s Been a Wonderful Ride
Will I miss managing The Phoblographer’s Instagram account? In some ways, yes. It’s taught me a lot about photography and connected me to some of the industries brightest and most talented people. But I won’t miss any of the politics and mind games played by the platform.
And as I said, my next venture here at The Phoblographer will be exciting and something I can’t wait to begin working on and delivering to you our loyal audience. Thanks for reading.