Should you abandon Instagram in 2022?

Shopify Staff



If you use Instagram for your business then you may have noticed that your engagement has dropped significantly in the last few months. Well you’re not alone. 


According to a report by Rival, Instagram engagement has dropped by 30% this year. This isn’t great news for brands who use the platform to interact with their customers, or who rely on organic traffic to make sales. 


There are a number of reasons your account might be struggling to reach your current audience and new potential customers. Some are more obvious than others. This article will lay it all on the table, so you can feel comfortable deciding what direction to go in next for your business. 


Your content is stale!


The first hour of a post being live is critical for your account. When Instagram sees that one of your posts is not performing well, they are less likely to push it to your followers and is less likely to be pushed to non-followers. Instagram wants people to stay on the platform, and if there is little to no engagement with your content, they see it as something that will drive people away. 


The Fix: Spruce up your content! Use high quality photos and videos and don’t be afraid to take some risks. According to Instagrams “How to Create Instagram Content That Shines in 2022“ article, you should be testing out videos (reels), engaging with your audience, and taking your own photos. 


Jump on a trend, test out Instagrams voice to text, play with new hashtags. There are new communities, trends, features, and filters popping up on Instagram all the time, and while people aren’t a fan of change, they do love trying out new ways to be creative.


You’re inconsistent.


Instagram rewards those who post regularly to the platform. If you can post daily, do it! If you have long breaks between posting it can actually hurt your account and stop growth. It can take a bit of time for the algorithm to pick up your posts and whenever you take a break (longer than a day or two) you’re undoing all the work to get into the algorithm's sweet spot.


The Fix: Posting daily takes work but remember that not every post needs to be specifically about your brand. Posting memes, poems, aesthetically pleasing photos, customer experiences, tweets, etc, is a great way to boost your engagement. It’s also helpful to dedicate a couple days a month to creating your content calendar. Using apps like Later can help you pre plan your content, keeping it all in one place and saving yourself hours a day.


The algorithm is forever changing.


All social media platforms want your attention and they are in constant competition with each other for it. That means the algorithm is always changing to get your attention. 


When Instagram first introduced Reels it was a great way to get thousands of new eyes on your content with very little effort and it was almost guaranteed that your Reel would be fed into the algorithm instantly. Unfortunately that has changed in the past few months. 


The Fix: Thrive off change and diversify! It can be devastating to see your engagement drop, but there is still hope. According to EarthWeb, there are still 1.4 billion active users on Instagram every month and it’s growing daily. 


Don’t give up on Instagram just yet! This is a good wake up call for a lot of influencers and brands who rely solely on Instagram to connect with their followers. Any social media company can make changes at any moment that could affect your business overnight. 


There are a lot of people who are a little intimidated by TikTok and it can be overwhelming at first. I assure you it’s not as scary as you think and there are so many new opportunities waiting for you with a platform like TikTok. 


TikTok might be known for its Gen Z dances and complex transitions, but the truth is there are a lot of different communities there. From mom tok, to clean tok, to plant tok; while the names can use a little creativity the communities themselves are thriving. 


Go Social has a great article on the 20 best TikTok communities and it really shows you how endless the possibilities are. If you’re still not sure how to jump in, there are countless resources out there that can help you ease your way into TikTok (and a lot of them are free). You can start with a video like How To Get Started On TikTok 2022 - A COMPLETE Beginners Guide and see where it takes you. 


Your account or content goes against Instagram’s policies.


Your account or content may go against Instagram’s Terms of Service (TOS) or you’re shadowbanned


A shadowban is the “lite” version of a full ban, think of it as Instagrams way of punishing you for breaking their rules. You will be able to post, message, comment, like, and all the other normal functions as usual, however, your account will not be “discoverable”. You will not be in Instagram's algorithm, non-followers won’t stumble across your account, and your posts will not be pushed to your current followers (it might be days before they see it on their feed). You can check if your account has been shadow banned with these 3 simple steps.


While breaking Instagram’s TOS is usually the reason for a shadowban there are some other reasons that aren’t as openly talked about. For example, if you add hashtags to the comments section of your post, instead of the caption, Instagram might shadowban you, but you won’t find that anywhere in their TOS. I highly recommend reading this article by Andrew Lee where he goes into detail about the unwritten rules of Instagram.


The Fix: Try to stay on Instagrams good side as much as possible. If you’re second guessing if a post might go against the TOS, it’s always better to play it safe and post something more friendly. You’ll also want to do a Google search for “Instagram shadowban rules” every few months to stay on top of any changes.


What should you do heading into 2023?


So, is Instagram dead? No! Data shows the platform is still growing and has more active users than you or I know what to do with. There are a lot of changes being made which have affected creators on the platform, but even with dwindling numbers, there are still people finding success. If you take away anything from this article, it should be to remain consistent, diversify and don’t keep all your eggs in one basket.


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