Yes, I think Instagram has lost it’s Mojo!  For me, Instagram has always been my social media crack…pretty pictures, wanderlust inspiration and I find you connect more with the person behind the app but recently I have just found Instagram frustrating and I’ve started to fall out of love with it so I thought I would share my reasons…

Reason 1 / Algorithm Changes

Seriously since the big changes all I’m seeing is porridge with trendy berries, chunky socks and rumpled bedsheets at dinner time and pizza for breakfast…it’s all pretty crap and why do people share rumpled sheets, it’s just all a tad gross!  And the worst of it is, I no longer get to see everyones photos…instagram chooses what I want to see and it’s just got ridiculous…little miss or mr popular with 7,000 likes pops up in my feed however close family and friends photos don’t pop up at all…I suppose I could turn on notifications…or instagram could just change their bloody algorithm.

Dear Instagram, I Think You've Lost Your MOJO!

^^What I think of the folks at instagram after the Algorithm change!

Reason 2 / Follow & Unfollow Business

I wrote a big post on the Follow / Unfollow business a while ago as I wanted to see if it really did help to grow a community and if it was worth it overall…yes it boosted my numbers and I found that I got a lot more interaction with the new algorithm changes however once I stopped using it my numbers have plummeted!  I get followed a lot on Thursday through to Sunday and then unfollowed from Monday to Wednesday….I love checking out the accounts following me and roll my eyes when I see their numbers as I know what will happen in 3-5 days.  My socialblade account is interesting reading from the past few weeks…take a look (I did have a clear out of accounts that were almost mirror images of each other as well so you can see that in my unfollowed column – the third column is my new followers or unfollowers)!

Dear Instagram, I Think You've Lost Your MOJO!

I can see why people are doing this…it’s not just building numbers now, it’s actually helping to get your photo in front of more eyes which is what people want especially if you are working with a brand.  Instagram you seriously screwed things up with that algorithm change!

Reason 3 / Instagram copy cats

Ahhh…great photographers have sucummbed to what they think their followers actually want and are no longer posting the great photography that made me fall in love with them in the first place….I get it…I truly do.  But I do have to ask the question…if one big instagrammer decided to jump off a tall building, would you fucking do the same?!?! No…be yourself…we all have different strengths and weaknesses…what works for one and has made them extremely successful on the platform is great but do we all need to follow that success story…nope…create your own!  You can read my instagram cliche post here which details a few of the more cringeworthy copy cat moments.

Dear Instagram, I Think You've Lost Your MOJO!

Reason 5 / What has happened to the great photography

I saw one of my favourite instagrammers recently say that he was falling out of love with instagram for a variety of reasons but mainly as he’s no longer seeing the interaction due to the changes plus great photography isn’t winning anymore and was thinking of taking a break…strangely, I’ve visited places that he’s featured on his instagram profile as his photography IS THAT GOOD.  He’s got a big following however I have to agree with him…there is a lot of piss poor photos on instagram and I’m shocked at the number of likes they’re getting especially when truly fabulous photographers don’t seem to be getting recognised…Instagram is now too tit and arse Kardashian like for me!

I love a good scroll through the likers of these photos to see the quality of them…it makes me laugh…it really does…food for thought there folks…scroll through.

Reason 6 / Accounts aren’t what they seem

I sit here and cringe…I see some rather big accounts and I know how they got big…I’ve watched them follow and unfollow for over a year when they thought nobody could spot their bots working…I know who they are and I think you would be shocked and I do wonder if the people that have gained part of their following via these accounts actually know…ahhh instagram is a dirty dirty world.

Dear Instagram, I Think You've Lost Your MOJO!

All in all, I just think Instagram has lost it’s Mojo completely….they need to do something about this whole bot business as it’s just got out of hand completely.

A few months ago, I started up a second instagram account which is locked and that I share a number of photos, mainly of my double chins with my close family and friends.  It’s my little instagram safety net…where I can see photos of the people that are the most important to me rather than letting instagram choose which ones that I should see.

I hate Facebook and unfortunately I can see Instagram going down this ugly route…it’s why I decided to get involved with instagram…it wasn’t Facebook…something that I think they’ve forgotten!

So if you have a bored 12 year old at home on the next set of school holidays…can you please get them to make a new app similar to instagram where you can’t use bots and all photos are in chronological order.

Anyway that is my little instagram ranty moment…off for some more feta!

xx

If you liked this post on Dear Instagram, I Think You’ve Lost Your MOJO! then why not come and join me on TwitterGoogle+InstagramFacebook and Pinterest – I won’t bite!

Lately I’ve seen tweet after tweet about why folks Follow / Unfollow on Instagram and other various social media accounts so I thought I would chuck in my two cents.  Last year, a blogger that I respect mentioned in a conversation about how she thought there were smoking mirrors around another bloggers social media following…it wasn’t a bitching session, just a conversation we were having and it got my financial brain working (I’m a trained accountant you see)…can you really fudge your blog stats and social media numbers?!?

camera-review-olympus-stylus-sh-2-1024x1008-2

^^Sorry about my lack of flat lay skills…I have no peonies or hydrangeas to add!

I’m going to focus on instagram today…I think it’s fair to say that I know a tad too much about Instagram now.  As always I’m going to be brutally honest in the post about the things I’ve done to “grow” my account…I’ve read ebooks (free and paid ones…I regret paying for them so just read this post and I will share everything with you for free!), paid for shout outs (take these accounts with a giant pinch of salt folks!) and using a bot (against the T&C’s of Instagram).  I’m fascinated by why people do this, how they do it, what happened along the way and what the final outcome is!

As I said I am going to be very honest; I will never use my account to sell anything (you won’t see a watch photo pop up in my feed…seriously how tacky are those photos…I digress), this exercise has cost me money.  I didn’t grow my account to make money from it, I just wanted to get an understanding about Instagram overall and the bollocks around it.

Why are people Following / Unfollowing on Instagram?

This is the main question that needs to be answered and I don’t think there is a definitive answer really.  I see bloggers and non-bloggers using this method to gain followers.

From the blogger point of view, I think there is a social media pressure to have a large account to attract brands / PR companies. Sadly, organic growth takes time and for part time bloggers (and even full time bloggers), that’s something that we don’t really have so the easy option is to follow and unfollow on instagram to grow those numbers darn fast to meet the needs of grabbing a campaign, earning $15k per instagram photo (do we even know if this is true?!?) or to make your name in the industry.

Overall, I think as a society we now see bigger as better (I blame the Kardashians for this!…I actually blame them for everything wrong in this world)…unfortunately the concept of quality over quantity is currently out of fashion…tacky is in, classy is out.

Why are people noticing it more now?

This is easy…folks have clocked onto Bots…yes Bots!  They’ve been around for a few years but this year they have become HUGE and they are wrecking your viewing pleasure on instagram.

So what is a Bot?

A Bot is a little robot that goes into Instagram when you’re sleeping or working and likes, comments and follows and unfollows on your behalf.  I used Instagress for this purpose; you can get a free trial for a few days and then you have to pay for the service.

I learnt about Instagress in a paid ebook…seriously…this was their big thing on how to grow your account…it’s just against the terms and conditions on instagram so your account could get deleted if they find out (is it worth the risk?).  If you are going to use a bot then make sure it’s on slow or medium speed…as a fast Bot will get you deleted (that piece of advice cost me $49…free to you folks, free to you!).

There are a few Instagram bot services available now but I just worked with Instagress as it was easy for a non-techie like me.

How can I spot who is using a Bot?

I love it when bloggers state that they’ve grown their instagram following organically…*coughs* bullshit!  When G and I were in Hong Kong and Malaysia last year, it was an eye opener to see who was using a Bot, I was shocked (they were asleep in Europe and we were wide awake in Asia!).  You say you grew your instagram account organically…I say that my arse is a size zero!

How to spot the bot users – check out the little heart tab on instagram and then click over from “YOU’ to “FOLLOWING” and wait to be amazed….the ones with the bots will be liking random photos or you will see an instagram account followed with the words – “started following x, x, x, x, x and 13 others”; they could be doing this all themselves however I doubt it….keep scrolling and you will see the same instagram account pop up numerous times then you definitely know that they have a bot working on their account.

I used to love this “Following” tab as I used to find new accounts to follow that other instagrammers were interacting with…unfortunately the Bots have killed this off now.

Using Comments function on the Bot, should I do it?

No, no, no, no, no!!  I posted a photo about depression on instagram a while ago…I’ve deleted quite a few of the comments that were obviously automated…like great photo…wow…good job!  Yes you can f**k off with your automated comments.  If you don’t have time to leave a relevant comment then just don’t leave a comment at all…don’t let a bot drop comments all over instagram…you could leave a rather thoughtless comment on a photo of someone asking for help.

Is there a website that will show me who is following and unfollowing on Instagram?

I’d heard some chatter on twitter about a website where you can see how folks on instagram are growing their social media skills as it clearly showed their daily growth…obviously I wasn’t at my ninja best on google the night I went searching but with some help from another blogger I can now share the website – it’s called Social Blade…you will fall down a rabbit hole and lose a few hours of your life by snooping on your favourite instagram accounts.

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-20-06-49

^^You can see how many new followers I gained each day through with my following actions in the Followers column, some of these could be organic as I do gain followers when I post new photos during the day.  I had a bot running on my account as you can see my follow and unfollow action in the Following column….told you I was going to be bloody honest in this post!

Is it easy to Follow / Unfollow on Instagram using Bots?

Yes, you can do it your sleep – you just switch it over between follow and unfollow via the website.

How do you target users?

You can target which instagram users to follow by either the hashtags that they’re using (tag your photos with #travel and you will get a number of likes!) or by followers of another account (basically you’re cloning the account of someone else and their followers).

Did I grow my following using an Instagram Bot?

Yes I have grown my following (I’ve currently got 13,000 followers, so maybe by 2-3000 followers) and are now getting more likes on each photo but I would assume this would have happened over time if I had grown my account organically anyway plus potentially with the new way Instagram is working behind the scenes.

What happens when you Unfollow Instagram Users?

I’m really not a fan of this whole Follow / Unfollow business, it’s just all so tacky.  I do apologise to the people that I have follow / unfollowed when I’ve done this social media experiment.  I’ve had various experiences and comments all via DM which have included the following –

1/ I was asked if I didn’t like their content or had they done something wrong…I wanted to write back, it’s me not you but felt extremely embarrassed to do so.

2/ The guy that sent me a DM saying; Unfollow for Unfollow – I really wanted to send him back a message saying that I was doing a social media experiment but am sure he would have laughed so much at my lame excuse and fallen off his large rock in Derbyshire that he seems to be always climbing.

3/ Thanks for the follow, would you like to buy my products…yeah bugger off!

For the bloggers: Did I get more traffic to my blog from having more followers on Instagram?

In all honesty, I may have got a few extra hits from instagram but nothing like the thousands that I think bloggers are expecting by using the follow / unfollowing method.

Overall is a Bot worth it?

It’s against the T&C’s of Instagram so no however they are getting used by bloggers and companies alike at the moment!  I know people think that there is nothing wrong with the follow / unfollow actions and I do kind of get what they’re saying…they aren’t doing any harm and the person on the receiving end can unfollow them at any time themselves if they want but it all just seems a bit like Mean Girls to me.

Are Instagram missing out in some big bucks?

While there is advertising on instagram, I do believe that they are missing out on a rather big trick here with these bots…affordable advertising like Facebook is obviously required to promote instagram accounts.

So what other tricks are there to promote your Instagram account to grow your followers rather than Bots?

Shout Outs Be very careful about paying for shout outs due to “Smoking Mirrors”.  I’ve used a few accounts and have gained a few new followers but nothing like I was expecting, maybe 10-20 new followers each time a photo was posted on a different account.

One of the accounts that I used for a shout out was looking at buying a new instagram account (don’t ask…yes people are buying instagram accounts with followers!) so they used my photo to promote their account and mine…the account had over 1 million followers and was getting over 10,000 likes per photo…when they promoted my photo I got zilch new followers…yes nothing, 0, nada!!!  Smoking Mirrors…hello buying followers and likes…busted, needless to say he didn’t buy the account!

A nice blogger featured me on her instagram account one Friday and I got 10 new followers…she only had 700 followers!

Don’t always believe the hype around shout outs on instagram and large numbers don’t always guarantee engagement on instagram.

Hashtags – using hashtags correctly will get your photos likes; folks using bots may be targeting accounts using hashtags to like photos in the hope you will follow them once they’ve liked your photo.  If I use the hashtag #travel then I see my likes increase, I’ve really noticed this a lot over the past few months…probably due to the bots working in overdrive.

A few of my photos have been featured (free of charge) by some rather big official tourism accounts on instagram; how – just by using their hashtag that they’ve got listed in their profile…they’ve featured my photos and boom, I ended up with hundreds of new and free followers that love to interact…these followers are like gold dust!

Quality Photos – This is a no brainer folks…only post clear, good quality photos…unless they are meant to be artistic, don’t post blurry photos and then expect likes!  Consistently great photos will get you followers over time organically…slowly but surely…for some it will happen really quickly especially if they have a ‘niche’.

Timings of Photos – apparently you can see when people are most active on your account (I looked but I hated the style of graph they were using…urghhh…my financially brain couldn’t cope!) however due to the instagram changes, I don’t think this really matters anymore…it annoys me that I see breakfast photos at dinner time…instagram please sort this crap out and fast!

I’ve read that you should post 1 – 3 photos per day and once you’ve picked your timings, never change them as your followers expect you to post that often EVERY day…my advice, do want you bloody well want and when!  I get more interaction if I post around 9-10pm UK time…however I once had a photo receive over 300 likes in 10 minutes on a Saturday morning…it really does depend who is online when you post.

It’s okay to skip a few days if life is just too busy…not posting on instagram for a few days isn’t going to mean that the world is going to end…trust me!  You are allowed to take a holiday from social media!

Photo Descriptions – I’m going to put my hand up and say that I used to drop a description against my photo, post then run…now I treat instagram as a mini version of my blog…I add something that I’ve thought about during the day, the weather (how English of me!), a highlight or a low point…strangely people actually converse and I do believe they connect with you via that description and I get more interaction…be yourself and the folks will flock to you!

Instagram Pods – I only heard about these this morning so don’t know much about them however they are there to help promote engagement on your posts.

SO……

I’m not sure if this post has answered any questions about why people follow / unfollow on instagram but at least you can spot them easily now (and you can decide to keep following them or unfollow them if you don’t like they way they’ve *coughs* “organically” grown their account!)…unfortunately I think it’s just the day and age we currently live in…numbers matter…bigger is better apparently.

Why did I decide to do this on instagram…I’m annoyed by how many people think this is the right way to grow their “organic” account…one day my instagram account will bloom the old fashioned way (and I’m happy to wait!), by taking good photos and chatting away with random people on this crazy thing that we call “social” media!

souvenirs-8-834x1024

Better run…the unicorns need their gin ration for the day!

xx

If you liked this post on Why Do Folks Follow / Unfollow on Instagram? then why not come and join me on TwitterGoogle+InstagramFacebook and Pinterest – I won’t bite!

I love Ice Cream…seriously I love it a lot…for me, New Zealand has the best ice cream flavours in the world…forget Italy…New Zealand is the only place you can get Jelly Tip Ice Cream, Goodie Goodie Gum Drop, Hokey Pokey (or as per the old joke – Hope He Pokes Me) and Orange Chocolate Chip.  So I thought I would do a little round up of my favourite places to scoff Ice Cream in Auckland.

Let’s start with the big kahuna…the jumbo ice cream at Pokeno…now Pokeno is on the Bombay Hills so if you’re heading south from Auckland make sure you do a detour and buy yourself a jumbo ice cream…that would be a 12 scooper!  Now not to be a Miss Piggy, I did share…it took 5 of us to eat it.  Now if you think you can take on a 12 scooper and more, apparently there is a 15 scooper in Pokeno as well…just make sure your eyes aren’t bigger than your belly.

New Zealand Travel Inspiration - The Best Places to Scoff Ice Cream in Auckland, New Zealand from the city centre to the south of Auckland. Looking for instagram worthy ice creams then here are my ice cream travel tips...and there's even a gluten free ice cream cone! Who said gluten free food had to be boring!

^^I love the look on her face!  I can just imagine what she’s thinking!

New Zealand Travel Inspiration - The Best Places to Scoff Ice Cream in Auckland, New Zealand from the city centre to the south of Auckland. Looking for instagram worthy ice creams then here are my ice cream travel tips...and there's even a gluten free ice cream cone! Who said gluten free food had to be boring!

There was a point when I thought they might have to close the main street of Pokeno due to an ice cream spill…the lovely folks at the shop give you a container and spoons as that cone can’t handle the jandal and breaks under the pressure.  Unfortunately they don’t do gluten free cones so you will have to ask for a container.  There are two ice cream shops next to each other – when looking at them, pick the one on the right.

Giapo in Queen Street, Auckland has to be the poshest ice cream joint in town or to quote their website “haute ice cream”…anyone who is anyone on instagram comes here to instagram the crap out of their ice cream including me!  They even have a little bit of fancy green stuff to hold your ice cream against as a back drop…

New Zealand Travel Inspiration - The Best Places to Scoff Ice Cream in Auckland, New Zealand from the city centre to the south of Auckland. Looking for instagram worthy ice creams then here are my ice cream travel tips...and there's even a gluten free ice cream cone! Who said gluten free food had to be boring!

…my ice cream I felt was a little lack lustre and not really instagram worthy!  Check out the website for their wicked designs. Giapo ice cream prices will make your eyes water however if you’re only going to do it once…well it’s worth it…well until you get covered in bloody dust from your ice cream on a windy day in Auckland.  Giapo also have gluten free cones!

Another local gem in South Auckland for ice cream is the Strawberry Corner in Admore where they make real strawberry ice cream and it’s pretty darn tasty…

New Zealand Travel Inspiration - The Best Places to Scoff Ice Cream in Auckland, New Zealand from the city centre to the south of Auckland. Looking for instagram worthy ice creams then here are my ice cream travel tips...and there's even a gluten free ice cream cone! Who said gluten free food had to be boring!

…and don’t get me started about the strawberries…this place is crazy on Christmas Eve and you need to get there super early for strawberries before they sell out…you will have no time to put on make up or dry your hair but totally worth it!  And male sure you get a photo of you hugging the giant strawberry; instagram gold!  Unfortunately they don’t do gluten free cones so you will have to ask for a container.

New Zealand Travel Inspiration - The Best Places to Scoff Ice Cream in Auckland, New Zealand from the city centre to the south of Auckland. Looking for instagram worthy ice creams then here are my ice cream travel tips...and there's even a gluten free ice cream cone! Who said gluten free food had to be boring!

One place we didn’t get to visit was The Diary…so here is a pic from the Visit Auckland Instagram page…next time I’m home, I’m coming for you!

New Zealand Travel Inspiration - The Best Places to Scoff Ice Cream in Auckland, New Zealand from the city centre to the south of Auckland. Looking for instagram worthy ice creams then here are my ice cream travel tips...and there's even a gluten free ice cream cone! Who said gluten free food had to be boring!

Where’s your favourite place to have ice cream in Auckland or anywhere in the whole wide world?

New Zealand Travel Inspiration - The Best Places to Scoff Ice Cream in Auckland, New Zealand from the city centre to the south of Auckland. Looking for instagram worthy ice creams then here are my ice cream travel tips...and there's even a gluten free ice cream cone! Who said gluten free food had to be boring!

 

xx

If you liked this post on the Best Places to Scoff Ice Cream in Auckland, New Zealand then why not come and join me on TwitterGoogle+InstagramFacebook and Pinterest – I won’t bite!

Last year I wrote a post of the best travel instagram accounts to follow in 2015 and I thought hells bells why not do the same thing for 2016. If you’ve followed the blog for a while, you know Instagram is my social media crack…I can lose myself quite literally for hours in the app and end up stalking a bloggers cousin three times removed, liking their photos from their recent trip to Thailand…it happens to us all…admit it!

So without further ado here is my list of the best travel instagram accounts to follow in 2016 –

1/ Kirsten is my new go to luxury travel instagram account…the quality of the photos are fabulous along with the destinations and hotels.  I’m now a firm believer that a hotel can definitely make a trip and can be a destination itself.  Follow here @kirstenalana

10-of-the-Best-Travel-Instagram-Accounts-to-follow-in-2016

2/ If you love the instagram account @parisinfourmonths then Georgianna’s account is going to be a must follow for you; her photos are just stunning of Paris and will have you booking a flight to the City of Lights.  Georgianna is a floral and travel photography so everything is rosy. Follow here @georgiannalane

10-of-the-Best-Travel-Instagram-Accounts-to-follow-in-2016

3/ I’ve shared Sarah’s instagram account before on my blog and I’m going to say, if you haven’t followed her already then you need to now.  Sarah’s photography is incredible and it’s how she actually captures a moment that makes you feel like you’re standing right there with her and don’t get me started on how adorable her relationship is with her daughter that is also captured on her instagram account.  Follow here @thewanderblogger

10-of-the-Best-Travel-Instagram-Accounts-to-follow-in-2016

4/ I’ve threatened to unfollow Sven a few times now (and I’m not joking, I’ve left comments on his photos asking him when he was intending on heading back to work!)…he posts way too many photos from paradise which to be fair are perfect on a miserable winters day.  Sven’s instagram gallery is full of hotel rooms, gorgeous hotel swimming pools and his adventures in first class…including showering at 30,000+ feet!  Follow here @svenluckermans

10-of-the-Best-Travel-Instagram-Accounts-to-follow-in-2016

5/ If you loved Jacintha’s account from last years post then you will definitely love Jess’s instagram feed of beautiful London Mews and cities around Europe; it’s like stepping into an instagram fairy tale.  Follow here @jessonthames

10-of-the-Best-Travel-Instagram-Accounts-to-follow-in-2016

6/ Another account I’ve just started following recently is Aggie Wo, her instagram account is a must and if you’re undecided about visiting Poland then her beautiful photography will make up your mind pretty fast.   I’m pretty sure puddle reflections will be a huge instagram cliche for 2016 so learn from a pro!  Follow here @aggiewo

10-of-the-Best-Travel-Instagram-Accounts-to-follow-in-2016

7/ Jessica is a travel, food and lifestyle writer and this sums up her instagram gallery…beautiful photos from her travels with a dash of rather fine looking food which will have you licking your screen.  Follow here @belleannee

10-of-the-Best-Travel-Instagram-Accounts-to-follow-in-2016

8/ I couldn’t not put a New Zealand instagram account in my list so I’m going to introduce you to Chris Taylor; he lives in the Bay of Plenty so you will see a different part of New Zealand rather than that bloody Wanaka tree…I’m prepared to fly home to whip out my axe and chop it down!  Chris doesn’t just show you the Bay of Plenty but also some photos of his home life…Chris is a true blue Kiwi instagrammer not an expat living in NZ.  Follow here @christaylor_nz

10-of-the-Best-Travel-Instagram-Accounts-to-follow-in-2016

9/ Chris and Danika have a truly inspiring gallery with photos from their many travels…crisp clear photos that make you want to leap into their holiday photos.  Follow here @nodestinations.

10-of-the-Best-Travel-Instagram-Accounts-to-follow-in-2016

10/ Yes and once again I’m adding myself…you can follow me on instagram here at @aroundtheworldin80pairsofshoes as I post photos from my travels which will include my many day trips around England and trips to Lisbon, Seville, Peru and Bolivia in 2016.

10-of-the-Best-Travel-Instagram-Accounts-to-follow-in-2016

I’m not besties with any of these accounts; I’m sharing their profiles as I love their instagram galleries and think they take truly magnificent photos.

What are your favourite travel instagram accounts, I’m always on the lookout for new accounts that inspire me to travel, eat and offer great instagram cliches?

xx

If you liked this post on 10 of the Best Travel Instagram Accounts to Follow in 2016 then why not come and join me on TwitterGoogle+InstagramPinterest and Bloglovin’ – I won’t bite!