Is Instagram squish-squashin Small Businesses?

It is forcing people to work harder. Play smarter. Even pay for posts.
The positive side. It is forcing out the spammers. The coat tail riders. The haters. The fakers. 

But along the way. From what we are hearing. And seeing. It is putting the pressure on the little guys. Putting a strain on Small Businesses. Shutting them out. And possibly. Shutting them down.

Although we don't sell a physical product. Our blog. Our squares. Are our business.

We have definitely felt the pinch. Although we are no experts. We are doing our best to understand what is going on. How we can work with it. Learn from it. And hoping there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

We are ashamed to say. We have relied on Instagram for too long. We have been a little too relaxed. Doing a lot of 'post-and-run-she'll-be-right'. Without a huge amount of planning. Relying on our trusty list of hashtags to get us through. Alas. That doesn't seem to be working for us anymore. We seem to have been 'banned' according to that check yo'self website. And a little bit of our own detective work from private-non-following accounts. Dang. And we have totally seen a significant drop in reach. Likes. Interaction.


Perhaps our content is lame. Or the market is flooded. Our kids aren't 'cute' enough. Perhaps our images aren’t good enough. Our words are boring. And we are no longer witty-relevant-fun-worthy-of-a-click.

Whatever the case. The game has changed. It is no longer just the algorithm that's seems to be causing a stir. So what is happening with Instagram. How can we overcome it. Work with the changes. Work with the squares. And learn to love Instagram again. For all the right reasons.

Ah. This old chestnut. Comparing. It isn't something new. But with all the changes. It is all back up in our grill again. We do it. We all do it. We admit we are guilty of looking at a photo that had hundreds-thousands-gazillions of likes and think 'dang we like it but dang how is it any better than our fifty-likes photo' and 'what-are-they-doing-that-we-are-not-should-copy-their-hashtags' Um. No. Don't do that. Only compare to learn what you could do. What you can do. Not what you are doing wrong. We call it 'research'. Positive healthy research.

This seems to be the new kid on the block. Totally the topic of the month. But it has been around for a while. And whether it is happening. Or is isn’t. Something strange is happening with hashtags. Certain accounts seem to be affected. Sometimes for no reason. There has been a whole lot of panic.

In a way. Even though we have been affected. We think. We are ok with it. We do believe people were hashtagging the heck out of their posts. Too much. Sometimes ruining it for others. Here's hoping the hashtag hoo-ha will simmer down. And the banning for genuine accounts will be lifted. There is a website that claims it can 'check’ if you have been Shadow Banned. And if you need to understand Shadow Banning more. Alex Tooby explains it perfectly.

So. To hashtag or not. To grow your business. Your profile. Your reach. Of course. You must hashtag. But make them relevant. Make them count. Try and take it easy on using the big more popular hashtags. And watch how many you use. The more you use. The more likely one will be banned. Which means your photo wont show up. In this case. We have found that sometimes less is more. If you aren't sure how to hashtag for your market. Hootsuite explain how to use hashtags really well. 

These are great. For engagement. Reach. Friendship. And fun. Or so we thought. If your not in one. You might be thinking what the heck is a pod. Well. It is a group of people with similar audiences all coming together to comment and like each other's posts. They share their post in a private message group on Instagram. Then everyone does there thang. It can be a little hard to keep up if you are not a hardcore Instagrammer. But it's great to feel the love and be supported by likeminded people. Need to know more about pods. Head over to Later for the run down.

But don't go getting your pod on too much too soon. Word on the street. These may be the next to be in the firing line. Cracking down on commenting pods. How? We aren't sure. But maybe.

We have also hear reducing the amount of fake-ghost-spam followers can help. So over the last week. We have been slowly reducing and removing spam followers. It has been epic. We have removed thousands. But we are hoping by reducing the 'fakes'. We will reach more 'real'. We have done it manually. And slowly so Instagram doesn’t think we are a bot. There are apps you can use. But we would not recommend it. We learnt the hard way. Instagram may think you are using a bot. Because you technically are. And they will block you. Ah. Whoops. 

Always. Interact. Engage. Real genuine comments. Not spammy non-relevant comments. Real ones. And not comment too much. Comment too much in too short a time frame. Whammo. They may mistake you for a bot. Our reach. Our engagement. Our likes.

We have definitely felt a lull. Noticed a change. A drop.
It is a little quieter on our feed. And we are not feeling the love as much. 

We will keep on keeping on.
Keep keeping it real. And kind.

Hoping all the bumps will smooth out soon.
That Instagram figures out who's who in the zoo.

What's real. What's not.

Who's real. Who's not.

We are trying to roll with it.
Doing our best to evolve with it. 
Enjoy the small victories. 
And not let the cray-mayhem overwhelm.
Or consume us.


Have you seen a change?
Been affected?
Felt the pinch?
Would love to hear thoughts.

Leave us a comment.