Folksy Ltd

Something New (And Bad) On Instagram

Just posted a pic of my favourite item about half an hour ago with a link to my shop in it and my reach is so far 0. For Midday on a Sunday that is unheard of. It looks like the Instagram algorithm is now performing the same way Facebook’s algorithm does and refusing to share posts with links in. Promoting on social media gets harder every year and, compared to last year, I am getting awful results across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Arghhh!

Sam x

Social media sites were created so users can connect and share photos, recipes, news etc. They were not created for sellers to run their business using them. So, as time goes by, we are going to see things like that. Restrictions, hiding posts, charging users and there will be ways for the sites to make money since sellers make money using social media sites.

That would be fine if the fees were reasonable, but as I have mentioned on other related posts, this Christmas they are not. A minimum fee of £4 means a minimum price increase per item of £4 in a small shop like mine. Last year I was quite happy with paying £1-2 for a small additional reach. This year I can’t even reach my own mother unless I pay a fee which for me is unsustainable. This is where social media and commerce overlap, as they do for most small sellers here. I want my mother and my aunt to see my stuff and be proud of it, as well as trying to reach people who might wish to purchase it (who might also be my actual friends) whilst looking professional.

It is not as if Facebook are exactly hard-up. They have managed to pay almost 0% tax worldwide whilst employing a skeleton staff, and I would be very interested to know what their advertising revenue is from companies like Boden, Coca Cola, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Next et al. I strongly suspect that they are trying to discourage micro businesses so that they can devote more advertising space to giant corporations who presumably pay millions for the privilege. Whether or not their users will enjoy the experience of being constantly assaulted by ads for things they were going to buy anyway (like ads for food from Tescos) is being overlooked.

Part of the Facebook and Instagram experience, for me, is being able to see the efforts of independent creative people that, in times gone by, I would have had to visit a gallery in another part of the country to see. It is something I enjoy, and I don’t mind a bit if they are making a little of money out of me. I really don’t like to see ads from the big boys, because if I am buying from them, it is likely to be something mundane that I would have bought without the ad. There’s only so much you can do to tart up a Christmas Pudding.

Sam x

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Update with something some people may find interesting. I was just sent an FB message saying I could boost my last post by £1 after all. I have been holding out on them for precisely 14 days while they tried to bully me into spending more, but now they have folded. What is more, my Instagram post was suddenly released at exactly the same time.

Food for Thought…

Sam x

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That’s why everyone tells you that you must be on social media: Because the big boys are there. And you, the small seller, end up being an audience for them. You like their pages, maybe share their products, spend time on their page, you see their ads a SM site is having right in your face, maybe click and visit their websites, spend time threre…etc. Do these large companies ever visit your page and your website and share your work?

I don’t like the pages from large companies. I don’t know what gave you that idea.

Sam x

I wasn’t talking about you specifically. You - generally speaking. If I want to address someone I normally reply to their post or use their name in my reply.

I’m sorry about this @BelaFarCrafts. The purpose of this thread was to give those of us who do use social media to promote our crafts some hopefully useful information. Namely not to put direct links to products in Instagram posts. I shall be referring people to my Bio section in future. I wasn’t seeking to have an argument about the usefulness or otherwise of social media. Clearly there are lots of different opinions about that.

Sam x

@SamanthaStanley I have looked & liked your facebook page which I found from your post on here. Lovely jewellery by the way, and I saw your post with the link to your Folksy shop too. I find it difficult on Facebook as even my family can’t be bothered to look at my business page, most of my audience on there comes from people I meet at craft fairs who take my business card. I also went onto your Instagram and I would suggest increasing the amount of hashtags you use on each item. I think you can use up to 15 and just simple hashtags like #jewellery would reach a huge audience, don’t overthink them and use hashtags with the words you use to describe your items. I find I get much better audience numbers from Instagram especially using a lot of hashtags. I must admit I never pay for advertising on social media (unless I have a free offer!) I wouldn’t line their pockets and I am not convinced the adverts work! Word of mouth is the best advert. Keep up the good work and good luck with your sales.

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Thanks Zoe! I have followed you on Instagram too and easily found some of your things that I really liked. I do use some hashtags and I am interested that using the more generic ones has been really successful for you because I was worried that just putting “jewelry” might mean my post got lost. In that case I should definitely be using it! My Instagram reach used to be much better (some of my earlier posts had hardly any hashtags at all) but then they realized that I was the same person who had a business page on FB and more or less forced me to link the accounts. I noticed a drop of about 80-90% in my reach as soon as I did that, so my advice to others is not to draw attention to the fact that you have a FB page if you promote on Instagram. It galls me that one of my posts had a reach of over 100 and kept growing over several days, but because I then shared the photo to my FB page I ended up shooting myself in the foot. Still you live and learn…

Sam x

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@SamanthaStanley my facebook, twitter and Instagram accounts are all in my business name so you are right and maybe that’s why my Facebook reach is rubbish! I did used to find that when I posted a photo on Instagram or Facebook my E**y stats went up but recently all my reach on E*sy have come through the site itself, I took advantage of a free listing offer they had and can’t believe how my stats have gone up!. I haven’t been on Folksy for very long and I am still trying to build my shop up, I sell different lines of items on each site. I sell mostly through craft fairs and I am still getting to grips with all this promoting stuff. Mind you craft events are just as bad as sometimes the organisers don’t always advertise the events very well. It sounds like we can’t win whatever we do! :slight_smile:

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I have gone off Facebook, I use Instagram much more and get engagement. But lately I’m getting paid Ads up every 10 or so posts, it maybe because I’m on a business account, I’ve noticed this, if I swap about I see different things, I shall revert back to personal I think, fed up with the add. And my engagement goes down on business account. What a carry on!

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Funny you should say that about the other side, but I’ve found that it has all been via the site recently when I used to get a good few views from Twitter. I’m definitely going to hashtag more on Instagram and remember to refer people to my bio for links. I will also do this for Twitter, as I think that link posting is restricting posts on there as well. I just wish they would tell us what is and isn’t allowed and what changes they are making so that I could work with it, rather than having nasty surprises periodically. This secrecy thing is ridiculous and is spoiling my relationship with the social media sites. They pretend to be friendly, but who wants a friend who keeps nasty secrets? @Amberlilly I’m with you on changing your settings back to personal. I don’t think I could do it without being kicked off Instagram, but you post lots and lots of pix of your lovely dogs and your days out, so I’m sure you could argue that is your personal feed where you occasionally show some things you have made.

Sam x

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I’ve not had any problems with swapping back to personal. TBH I like to mix up my feed anyway as I get to see and chat to a variety of people. If my account was just my business, I think people would get bored! Lol!

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Totally! I keep thinking that I really ought to buy a dog to give me some more things to post (Hubby is not keen…).

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Hahaha! Wouldn’t know what to do without dogs!

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Hello pokes head in if your link is in your profile so people can find your shop, can you not leave it out of the post itself?

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Yeah-that’s sort of what I was thinking. It’s just that my target market is quite lazy and the spontaneity of having the link in the post itself was helpful.

Sam x

I always read that you shouldn’t add a link to instagram? Just your shop link in your bio? So people can click on your name and get you website from there. I’m sure that’s what they have said as I have never added a link on my instagram photos. xx

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The established wisdom was that you could not add links to FB posts, but last year I added a fair few links to Instagram and had no ill effects. Neither did I used to have any problems with adding links on Twitter, but that has now gone the same way. I have been knocking about this forum for several years and never heard anything to that effect about Instagram, just FB. I have only documented this change since last year and being something of a nerd for stats, I thought I should mention it. Whether that has always been the case for business accounts (my earlier post states how I was forced to change my account from personal to business earlier this year) or is a recent change to the algorithm I couldn’t say because I don’t have the data :wink:

Sam x