The other day, some of my younger cousins had come over to my place for the evening and my aunts had prompted a somewhat heated debate regarding the use of Instagram and social media in general. Unhappy with their teenagers using Instagram, they had turned to me to educate them regarding the evils of social media and convince them to stop using Instagram, you know, since I was the eldest and possibly the most respectable and authoritative role model for my teenaged cousins at the moment of the discussion.
Let’s be real, I’m probably the worst person to pick for counseling about letting go of Instagram when my entire online presence revolves around blogging and social media
Instead of telling them to stop using Instagram, I decided to tell them about my own thoughts and rules about using this particular social media platform. After all, I believe Instagram is a tool and depending on how you use it, it can turn out to be really beneficial or just another app that wastes a lot of your time. Or starts up a lot of unnecessary drama in your life.
Use Instagram to start Micro-blogging
First of all: decide how you want to use Instagram. It’s a community, it’s got a search engine, it’s an entire platform. You could use it for entertainment, you could use it as diary, you could use it as a public platform. You could keep your account public, you could keep it private. If you decided to get an instagram to entertain yourself, then rejoice! You don’t need to read this entire post because the only way you can use instagram ‘productively’ as a source of entertainment is to strictly time your usage. There is nothing more that I can advise you.
But if you decide to use Instagram as something more than just a source of entertainment, then I’ve got you covered. You see, Instagram is a fantastic platform for micro-blogging. With images and caption space, you can write anything, from reviews to poems to insightful anecdotes to personal essays. You can then provoke thoughtful discussion in the comments and encourage interaction. While it isn’t the same as having your own blog, it’s a lot easier to hit it off here since Instagram is an active and expanding community with lots of ways to gain visibility, from hashtags to stories.
I would highly encourage you to use Instagram productively by creating content and using it as an outlet for your own creativity.
Instead of Scrolling Your Feed, Use The Search Feature
Your feed is an infinite amount of posts. You could keep scrolling but you’ll never reach the bottom. Your feed won’t even have posts that actually interest you and instead, you’ll just keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and wasting your time. Which is why it’s far more productive to use the search feature instead.
Select topics that you are interested in and control what you consume. See posts that actually interest you and are of some value to you, instead of seeing what Instagram wants you to see. After all, Instagram’s algorithm is wrecked anyway.
You could bookmark a couple of hashtags that relate to your interests. If you can’t figure out what kind of hashtags to search up, some interesting ones include #bookreviews and related hashtags like #bookstagram or just about any other hobby really, like #journaling #blogging #photography #handlettering #painting. There’s no limit to the kind of hashtag you could search up. Figure out what interests you, search it up and get exposed to relevant hashtags for further reference!
Study Accounts That You Love
No, I’m not saying to follow accounts that post about studying! I mean you should sit down and study the accounts that you love. What is it about these accounts that make you follow them? What is it about their content that makes you want to double tap? See what kind of hashtags they use, how they present their content, what value they are offering to you and their other followers that makes them so popular.
By studying them and dissecting them from the perspective of both, a follower and a potential content creator, you can learn how to add value to your own content. Don’t ever just randomly follow accounts and spam likes and try to get noticed that way. Think about what it is that makes you like that content. Trust me, if you start doing this exercise while browsing your feed, you’ll learn valuable tips and tricks that you can use on your own account.
Use Instagram as a Source of Inspiration
Most people turn to Pinterest when it comes to canvassing out ideas for just about anything, from clothing styles to arts and crafts to interior design to journals and poetry. It’s not that hard to realize that Instagram can be used in the exact same way! Arguably, Instagram could be considered a far more streamlined source of inspiration and motivation than Pinterest (which tends to branch out and out and you’ll find yourself in a completely different topic sooner or later).
You can use Instagram for motivation and inspiration for just about anything, whether it’s for studying, photography or art. Use the search engine to revive your creativity.
Don’t scroll the search results forever though! It’s important to take the newfound inspiration and translate it into some sort of productive output!
Connect to Other People in Your Niche
This is especially important if you are a content creator. You should follow people who post in the same category that you do and regularly interact with them, whether it’s commenting on their posts, replying to their stories, sharing their posts or mentioning them in your own content. It’s a great way to reach out and make connections with people who share your interests and forge friendships on top of appealing to a similar audience and increasing your own circle of influence.
Remember to keep in mind the above points though! Don’t just follow accounts left and right and don’t spam likes without thinking twice. People can notice when you’re trying to just get attention and when you are actually interested in contributing to the community.
It’s important to make sure you’re the one using Instagram, instead of having Instagram use you. By applying all of these tips and changing your mindset when it comes to this social media platform, it is very likely that you can turn your usage of Instagram into an overall benefit.
So? What are you waiting for? Decide how you want to use Instagram and start making your minutes of scrolling productive!