Followers-To-Followings And Why Your Engagement Rate Just Dropped


If so, you're in the same boat lots of other Instagrammers have found themselves in.

Social Media is an ever-changing environment. Platform owners (ie: Facebook) can change the rules without warning or explanation, and, in fact, they often do. 

Let's face it... it's "their ball". 

They can choose to make us "play-by-their-rules-or they-will-take-their-ball-with-them" anytime. And, essentially, that's what we are experiencing.  The real problem is they never really explain the rules to us... πŸ€”

It's all about the algorithm.

We are all subjects of the algorithm. You may have 20,000 Followers but it's up to Facebook (owner of Instagram) to decide if they are going to serve your posts to 200 accounts, 2,000 accounts, or 20,000 accounts.  

If you want to know why your Likes have dropped look at your Instagram Insights. (Available to business accounts, only)

Your Followers-To-Followings ratio impacts your reach more than it used to.

I understand... it's soooooooo cool to have 20,000 followers when you're only following 200 people. You feel like a celebrity! πŸ€— You may even "casually" drip this information into conversations with friends. πŸ˜† But the rules have changed and Facebook didn't warn you (and they have "taken their ball with them".)

The new rules: Your posts are only going to be served to the people YOU are actively engaging with.

That's right... that's the trend you're starting to see, and it makes sense.

Everyone wants to be an Instagram celebrity (thousands of Followers but only following a few hundred). But we see a huge shift in the algorithm where Instagram is serving your content to the people you are engaging with. That's the "rules" everyone else lives by.  

This is not specific only to Instagram.

Here's a test.

  1. On Facebook, randomly pick one of your friends that you rarely see in your feed.
  2. Go to their profile, like a few posts
  3. Watch your feed over the next day or so. Suddenly you see their posts creep into your feed when, before, you never saw their posts.

The key: The algorithm rewards *mutual* engagement.

In the recent past your posts were still getting good engagement but that was due to an over-reliance on hashtags, and that isn't working anymore. (See this post for an explanation.)

So now, we're back to the way it used to be, and the way Facebook has always intended it to be:

It all comes down to mutual engagement.

If you aren't following your Followers back they are not seeing your posts.

Instagram's leadership has acknowledged that Hashtags don't work like they used to, and they are encouraging users to get new higher engagement the good old fashion way: by posting great content. (Thankfully that's what We Talk Social focuses on... helping brands make amazing "everyday content".)

Want to know why they changed the rules?  Stay tuned... there's a new post about that coming soon!