How I Stopped Caring So Much About Instagram Likes
Like most people I know, Instagram plays a big role in my life.
Whether it's showing off a decadent home-cooked meal, putting together a cute collage to show how much I care about a friend, or making a point to avoid the app altogether—it certainly stays on my mind. Even though I'd say I have a much healthier relationship with Instagram than some people do, it's near impossible not to let the app affect me in some form.
But one area I've learned to emotionally react less to is "likes." I mean, sure, does it feel weird when I only get 32 likes on a pic when I have 1600 followers? Well, yeah, appearing as though I bought about 500 so-called fans is a little pathetic, so sure, it feels off. But really, otherwise, I've learned to accept, plain and simple, that some photos will perform better than others, and quite frankly, as long as I don't post anything that I actually regret, then who cares?
Keep reading to find out how I stopped caring so much about Instagram likes.
Timing Is Everything
It's no secret that people are more likely to check Instagram on a weeknight before bed than at 2 p.m. that same day—just as they probably aren't scrolling through their feed at 7:30 a.m. on a Saturday, the same way they'd be on a Tuesday, getting ready to start their day. There are situations when I know the timing isn't the best, yet I post anyway. Maybe it's a timely post and I want to get it up immediately, or I know I'll have to post again the next day, so posting at a particular moment really only makes sense. Because of this, I don't get too worked up over likes. I tell myself that maybe not as many people are looking at this time.
There's That Algorithm Factor
I know, I know, it's easy to blame the good ol' algorithm—but really, sometimes there's a fair point to be made. For instance, I have the same 5-7 people who always show up in my feed. They also happen to be some of the people I communicate with the most (whether it be via email, text or IG). Half of them are also very active Instagram users, posting on their feed nearly every day. And then there are the recently added people I follow, who also tend to pop up more frequently than others.
Before the whole algorithm thing, who showed up in your feed was all based on timing. With the change in recent years, there aren't necessarily as many eyes on all your posts. There are close friends I have who literally never show up when I initially load the app. Knowing that, I know for whatever reason, my pics may not get as much exposure and therefore not as many likes.
Instagram Seems to Favor Close-Ups
I had a conversation recently with a friend of mine who has a relatively big following. I lamented to her about getting 35 likes on one pic, and then getting 135 likes just one pic later. She surprisingly echoed my frustrations and said whenever she posts full body scenic shots, she gets far less likes than if it's a close-up of her face. I began to pay attention, and sure enough, I noticed the same thing on my own feed. Instagram must give face shots more exposure than full body (or maybe it's just a coincidence), but either way, this is what I tell myself when the likes are down.
Shots Taken by Myself Generally Perform Best
Unless there's a very special meaning behind all the people in a group shot (bridesmaids at a wedding, friends reunited from high school, everyone in the photo dressed exactly the same), group or duo pics simply don't get as many likes. A solo shot is far less busy and it's only focused on you, so there's no one else in the shot to deter someone from liking it. Depending on who shares the photo with you, there are likely to be people who won't support it.
My 8+ Doesn't Have a High-Quality Camera
At the end of the day, the fact is my phone is mediocre at best. Sure, there are times when the lighting and my pose is grade-A, wowing me beyond belief—but for the most part, I've accepted that an iPhone X (or greater) or Samsung Galaxy S10 is going to capture those crystal clear, professional-level shots that will get me all the likes (when I use someone else's camera, I really do get more Insta love). All I can do is try to look my best. If people aren't blown away by the quality of the shots, then so be it.
Some Photos Are More for Me
Whether it's capturing something I'm feeling during a vacation, or I take a shot of something that doesn't actually have me in it, there are times when I'm posting more for me and less for everyone else's attention or approval. Instagram is a lovely portfolio we can look back on over the years, so I like making sure it's not full of just cute outfits and parties, but also meaningful images that will evoke a smile years from now.
It Takes Likes to Make Likes
There's a difference between a shot that performs well over time, and a shot that's just pure fire. When a legitimately stellar image picks up steam off the bat, there seems to be an endless pour of likes. It seems Instagram gives more exposure to the pics that take off right away. If these [however many followers] already like the shot, there are probably a bunch of others who will like it, too. Photos that don't instantly grab everyone's attention don't seem to get rolled out onto feeds as quickly.
If I really want to ensure those likes, I should try copying one of THESE incredible fruit-inspired eye makeup looks I found on Instagram!