Overcoming the Infamous IG Algorithm in 2019: How to Succeed on Instagram
Learn our top tips to succeed on Instagram organically in 2019. Here are our best strategies to gain loyal followers and stay motivated for long-term success on Instagram.
Hi friends! We’re Jodie & Julie, The Design Twins. We’ve been posting on Instagram since 2014, and we’ve been learning and sharing how to grow since we started our blog in 2016. Check out our complete library of Instagram Help posts. We have roughly 45 articles to help you grow organically and succeed on Instagram.
There are many challenges that come with growing and maintaining a successful Instagram account. But perhaps the most challenging is staying committed. To succeed on Instagram requires daily commitment. No one understands this better than Jodie and me. We have been committed to Instagram every single day since 2014, over five years.
We have been able to stay motivated and inspired on Instagram throughout our journeys, and we believe it is the single most important key to success. It hasn’t been easy, but our results speak for themselves. We have grown a devoted Instagram following and maintained our joy in spite of the algorithm changes, weathering plenty of ups and downs along the way. We want to share our best advice to succeed on Instagram in 2019. By learning the secrets behind our enduring motivation you too can achieve your dreams on Instagram and beyond.
“If you want to experience prosperity at a miraculous level , you must leave behind your old ways of thinking and develop a new way of imagining what is possible for you to experience in your life.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer
Succeed on Instagram: Maintain Motivation
“The only way to fail is to quit.” ~ Dalai Lama
Just don’t quit. Sounds easy, but it’s not that simple. In order to be successful on Instagram you need to be motivated. You need to maintain your passion so you can inspire others.
If you aren’t inspired how will you inspire others?
Honestly, it is tough. There are all kinds of challenges that impede motivation:
- monotony and potential boredom
- repetitive nature of daily posting, commenting, etc.
- lulls in creativity
- need to constantly create new content
- unceasing nature of maintaining an account
We looked up synonyms for “monotony” from Thesaurus.com:
- same old thing
We have experienced all of the above, at least momentarily, during our five plus years on Instagram. We have fought against all of them. It is an on-going battle against monotony for sure. How do we power through? We will tell you.
Know Your Why to Succeed on Instagram
It is integral to focus on your reason or reasons for being on Instagram and growing a following. If you don’t have a true purpose then you will burn out. It is just a matter of time.
Persevering against all odds takes inner drive.
You have to have powerful, tangible goals and be driven by something more meaningful than ROI (return on investment).
If your why is “to make money” you will have a hard time succeeding on Instagram.
You have to be driven to deliver something of value to your followers and to fill a need
You need to be motivated as a giver and not as a taker.
There is no arrival point on Instagram. You can’t achieve a certain level and then coast. The algorithm doesn’t work that way.
Instagram hardly ever rewards us when and how we want. Instagram is too time intensive to deliver any reasonable return on investment.
You have to be focused on long-term success because if you are focused on ROI you will most likely leave long before you achieve your goals.
Succeed on Instagram: Do Whatever it Takes to Fuel Your Passion
Always be working on yourself so you are excited about who you are becoming.
If you aren’t improving you will not be inspiring to others.
When your spirit is lit with a fire, a passion, then you will attract people.
Nurture your passions. It is like fuel to the fire inside you, and it is necessary in order to stay excited on this journey.
When your passions are ignited the journey is joyful. Work doesn’t feel like work.
Ever wonder where people get seemingly endless energy? It is their passion that drives the motivation, which in turn creates the energy to achieve.
“Who you are becoming is far more important than what you’re doing. And yet, it is what you’re doing that is determiing who you’re becoming.” ~ Hal Elrod, The Miracle Morning
Stay Inspired to Succeed on Instagram in 2019
Here are some of our favorite ways to keep inspired:
- Listen to podcasts from people who are successful in your field or people you admire
- Browse Pinterest for exciting inspiration
- Read high-quality blogs for new ideas
- Read books for motivation, inspiration and more
- Stay connected with a supportive group via DM on Instagram or elsewhere
- Surround yourself with supportive people in real life
- Stay away from people, both on IG and in your life, who are negative or unsupportive
What Not to Do
We’ve given you dozens of strategies and activities to do in order to stay inspired and stay motivated. But there are a few things not to do.
- waste time complaining
- wallow in self pity
- blame others: i.e. the algorithm
If you aren’t happy, if you aren’t succeeding as you want, take note and get busy making changes! Don’t waste your precious time and energy complaining or lamenting.
Strategies To Get Out of an Instagram Rut
Dictionary.com defines “rut” as:
“a fixed or established mode of procedure or course of life, usually dull or unpromising: to fall into a rut.”
So what do you do to escape this? Make it feel new. Here are some ideas:
- Take a break to get perspective (more about this option in a minute).
- Make new friends. Forge new connections and friendships. The more you give the more you get.
- Think outside the box. Do something different.
- Always post still photos? Try videos or vice versa.
- Appear in your own photos for a change.
- Become more personal, more vulnerable in your posts or stories.
- Reevaluate your schedule. Make sure it works with your life.
The main thing is to make a change. Change what you post, when you post, or how you create. Take a fresh look at your direction and your goals to create a different attitude and a newness to what you are doing. This will generate excitement and motivation and will get you out of your rut.
How to Survive the Ups & Downs of Instagram
My numbers are down. What’s up, Instagram? Why am I killing myself over here when Instagram is against me? I may as well quit. This is going nowhere!
Does this sound like you? We all have experienced the ups and down of Instagram. It’s a roller-coaster ride for sure. We are taught that analytics are king. So, if your analytics are saying “you suck,” then why even bother?
How To Ride the Waves
- Keep Ego Out of the Equation
- Remove Emotional Reactions
- Don’t Take it Personally
- Stay Connected to Your Why
- When Necessary Ignore the Numbers
- Don’t use Apps that Reveal Who Unfollows You
- Don’t “Keep Score”
What we have learned is that Instagram will have its ups and downs, and there’s really no fool-proof plan to avoid being affected. Therefore, it’s important to keep your ego out of it. If your self worth is tied to the success of each post it will be hard to stay motivated when the algorithm shifts.
“The average person lets their emotions dictate their actions, while achievers let their commitments dictate their actions.” ~ Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning
Manage your emotional response. Stop taking success or “failure” personally so you can move forward regardless.
We aren’t saying don’t pay attention to what succeeds and what does not. This is valuable data. But successful people don’t get depressed or demoralized over data. They use it.
Simply take out the emotional component so you can learn, adjust, and move forward. If you don’t master this integral point then you are unlikely to persevere on Instagram.
A Special Recommendation
Anyone interested in personal growth should be a reader of Hal Elrod. We’ve quoted him throughout this post. Have you read about how Hal changed our business? If not, this is a must read.
His latest book, The Miracle Equation, should also be on your book shelf. It teaches us how to overcome our biggest obstacle: ourselves. Hal shows us how to overcome the interanal conflicts and develop what he calls “emotional invincibility.” Get your copy today and get on the road to creating the life you want.
(Simply click on the photo below. We always appreciate when you use our affiliate links. They help us continue to bring you quality content on our blog.)
How to Succeed on Instagram: Logistics
Your Support Group
If you are going to be a success it is very important that you are surrounded by supportive people. We’ve all experienced discouragement from people who didn’t understand what we were doing on our phones. But if your friends can’t support your goals then you may need to find new friends.
If our families aren’t supportive it is not as simple. Obviously we can’t find a new family. We need to work together to find mutual understanding and compromise.
In order to be successful you will need:
- a supportive significant other (if you have one)
- supportive friends
- supportive family
There is no way around it. Being committed to achieving long-term success on Instagram is a huge task. It takes a large time commitment. Therefore, the people in your life need to understand the seriousness of your goals and what it means to you.
We suggest being very honest and asking for their support. They don’t need to understand Instagram to understand what it means to you. But it is your job to communicate this with them, so they can be sympathetic, understanding and sensitive to your journey and your necessary commitment. Ideally, once they learn of your goals and what it will take, they will be your cheering squad.
Understand Their Side
In return, you need to understand and respect how your time commitment to Instagram affects the people in your life.
If time spent on the platform is causing issues with your loved ones we recommend addressing the problems head on. Ignoring it will lead to increased impact over time. The sooner you talk to your loved ones the sooner you can reach solutions and find compromises that actually work.
Once you open up lines of communication you allow them to share in your dreams instead of leaving their feeling out of the equation. Show you care and hopefully they will get on board to support your goals. Doing this well can potentially turn a negative into a positive. Your relationships can be enhanced instead of hurt.
Succeed on Instagram: Create Your Schedule
- Let’s face it, if you can’t make Instagram work within the parameters of your life you will not be happy, and you will not last. Therefore, one of the most important elements is managing your time.
- Take an honest and thorough look at your life, your daily to do list, and create your Instagram schedule.
- This schedule needs to include time to create content, time to post, and time to interact.
- Your schedule may need to be adjusted from time to time. Many things affect our schedules: seasons, vacations, school schedules, work, health challenges, etc.
- Plan ahead.
- Some changes are foreseeable and some are unexpected. The key is to be aware of obstacles and schedule changes and have a variety of strategies to adjust.
- When we take the time to plan, prepare, and adjust we experience less stress and end up doing a better job.
Tip: From the very beginning of my journey I have tried to be on Instagram when I wanted to and not when I felt I had to. I am lucky in that my schedule is freer than most. Doing this helps me feel like it is my choice, not a job, and I am able to be my authentic self. Nothing feels forced because it isn’t. I am authentically joyful, grateful and generous.
Succeed on Instagram: When to Take A Break
Know yourself, your life and your people. In other words, know your limits. Whether you put your phone away or delete (deactivate your account, don’t delete) the app for a day, a week, a month or longer there are definitely pros and cons to taking a break.
The Potential Benefits of Taking a Break
- Reset your attitude and commitment
- Liberating and refreshing
- Break the pattern of social media addiction
- Create a new perspective
- Renew your excitement and motivation
- Fresh start
- Time to reflect on your journey
- Take stock of your accomplishments
- Time to reevaluate your goals, your direction
- Make necessary changes in your schedule to be happier/more productive
- More time to accomplish other things
The Potential Dangers to Taking a Break
- Lose your own momentum
- Lower engagement with followers
- Decline in actual followers
- More difficult to return due to all of the above
- Get out of your hard-earned habits that create consistency
- Feel disconnected with IG community/support group
Our Personal Experience
To be honest, Jodie and I have never taken a break. I took a forced break when I was in Waco at our first Instagram Gathering Event for two reasons. I was beyond busy AND I had no internet connection at our location. It was a gift from God and a directive that I was supposed to give my all to the event. In truth, I had nothing more to give. It worked out. I will admit I was slightly stressed about “leaving my account” virtually unattended for three days, but since I had zero choice in the matter, I let it go.
Some people take weekends off, and Jodie and I have never done that. I am leaning toward giving myself Sunday off. The only reason I hesitate doing this is because I share my faith and many look to me especially on Sundays to inspire them. I am therefore torn. Perhaps I should take Saturday off.
For Jodie and me, creating and maintaining our habits is very important to our consistency and our success. We worry that taking a break would make it harder to come back. But everyone is different, with different personalities and different lives. This is why I began this section by saying: Know yourself, know your life, and then do what makes the most sense for you.
We did, however, reevaluate our schedules recently. We adjusted our Instagram posting to allow for increased responsibilities on our blog. Instead of posting twice a day, morning and evening, we now only post once a day. This has definitely impacted our growth. But our new schedule allows us to continue being consistent on Instagram while freeing us up to meet other goals and commitments outside of Instagram.
Stop the Comparison Game to Succeed on Instagram
Instagram is supposed to be a place for inspiration and connection. However, we are all aware of the dark side of Instagram. On Instagram we see mostly photos of ideal homes, swoon-worthy vistas, enviable lives. The very real danger to compare our own imperfect lives with seemingly perfect lives is intense.
Even if we realize logically that Instagram does not portray real life emotional reactions don’t always follow logically. Instagram can take a toll on our self-esteem. The effects can happen without our awareness, creeping into our subconscious, slowly corroding our self-worth.
Keep clear of the comparison trap or IG can be a detrimental place. It can undermine your confidence. Monitor yourself and stay in your own lane. There will always be more talented people. There will always be people who are younger, prettier, more stylish, have a nicer house, more well-behaved children, or at least seemingly so.
Remember, this is everyone’s highlight reel. Try hard not to compare yourself or your journey. You have to be okay with being you. Shine your unique gifts with joy. No one else can do you.
Let Go of the Numbers
When we live by likes and follower counts we are building our self-worth on a house of cards.
But what about everyone, including brands, pushing the importance of metrics? Haven’t we been hearing that “Metrics are king.” So how can we “let go of the numbers?”
Don’t allow the numbers to define you.
Use metrics as a tool, but not as a measure of your intrinsic value. Don’t rely on the numbers to tell you who you are or if you are worthy. High numbers can’t be your motivation or it will be an empty journey that will be easily destroyed as soon as the algorithm shifts.
Face the Challenges, Grow Personally and Succeed on Instagram
The challenges on Instagram and not unlike real life. Use them to grow in personal identity, gratitude, and fortitude.
If you can face the challenges here you will be stronger in your everyday life as well. It is worthwhile to not give in to the struggles but stay the course and overcome them. As cliche as it sounds, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
“Even when life is difficult or challenging–especially when life is difficult and challenging –the present is always an opportunity for us to learn, grow, and become better than we’ve ever been before.” ~ Hal Elrod
We cannot define ourselves by the love we receive from others. Our self worth has to come from within. This allows us to be authentic. It allows us to maintain our joy no matter what Instagram throws at us.
Let go of insecurities to find your true self and your own focus.
Because no one defines you but you.
“Make bold moves toward your dreams each day, refuse to stop, and nothing can stop you.” ~ Hal Elrod