Mythbusting the Algorithm (& other tips to Instagram and Facebook)

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. I only promote brands that I truly love and believe in! Thank you for the support!

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Hi babes! I was able to be a part of an incredible conference with the Facebook team the past two days. They reached out to some of their content creators in the Salt Lake City area and had us all meet together to talks tips, tricks, and best practices. I had questions about so many theories I have heard, and they were able to provide answers. Here is what I was able to put together from the Frequently Asked Questions. Please note, I am not an authority on this subject, and I have not quoted anything from the team members that I talked to.  I am choosing to share this information with the goal of helping others get the most out of the platforms, and I am sharing it in my own words as I understand it. All of the information I present should be taken for personal use and should not be sold, copied, or redistributed:

Q: Does Instagram know/care how frustrated users and small influencers are with the constant algorithm changes? Are they doing anything to help small businesses/influencers succeed?

A: They do care! Them coming out and meeting with creators today was part of their 2018 initiative to reach out to the people that keep them in business (us) by putting out content! They’re really focusing on connecting with influencers this year to bridge the gap. They have tons of things coming out on their platform to help create! HOWEVER, they truly believe the algorithm is better! More content is actually being seen now. But they ARE aware that people are still learning what works. 

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Q: What is the deal with the Instagram algorithm?

A: They truly believe that the algorithm is better, and don’t foresee it changing back to chronological. They actually convinced me on it today, and I went in feeling the same as you. Basically, your post has a lifespan of 7 days. People are shown content within that 7 day span based on their relation to you, and on how much engagement it initially gets. It’s actually better! We have more of a chance to be seen, and to be seen multiple times, because the post can still gain traction up to that seven day mark, unlike the old way where posts were only on a feed for about 12 hours.

Q: Why do so little people see my Facebook page posts?

A: FB pages run differently than IG. FB pages require many posts a day to stay relevant. Your post will do best if shared. If no one is engaging with the content, the algorithm doesn’t see a reason to push it out to more people. Questions to ask yourself to evaluate your content: Are you posting to your page multiple times a day? Do you have a call to action? Is there a reason for your followers to engage with the post?

Q: Any truth to business accounts being treated differently by the algorithm?

A: NOPE! They don’t want to hurt anyone’s reach. Our reach is entirely up to how we get others to engage with our content. Business offers analytics, swipe up, branded content tool, the ability to receive a verification badge; it's worth it for creators and business owners.

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Q: Do they really penalize comment pods?

A: They do not punish comment pods. They don’t have time to monitor them. Plus, they also said they want people to engage with each other, so why penalize?

Q: Is there a shadow-ban?

A: There is no such thing as shadow banning. Hashtag feeds have their own algorithm and so your posts may or may not show up in them depending on if your post is deemed relevant, is engaged with enough, or if you used the hashtag spammy (like using too frequently or off topic). Be sure to always use hashtags in static posts and in InstaStories. 

Q: Should I use hashtags?

A:  This was one of my number one questions because I have a couple friends that SWEAR by not using them. The truth is, you should ALWAYS use hashtags. They’ll never hurt you, but they might not always help. You can put them in the caption or the first comment, there is no difference. Be sure to rotate your most used tags or else it’s deemed as spam. You can also add hashtags up to a week after a post. You should use AS MANY HASHTAGS AS POSSIBLE (up to 30). The trick is making sure they are absolutely relevant and they you don’t use the same ones too much, or you’re marked as spam on that tag.

Q: Is there a way for them to determine whether or not your likes or comments are organic vs 

A: Instagram and Facebook can tell it’s a bot if it likes too quickly or comments too quickly, or if the comment is the same. If you’re paying for a service where real people are engaging with your followers to build a relationship, you should be fine!

Q: Does editing a photo's caption within the first 5 min of posting really hurt it's engagement?

A: Editing a post NEVER hurts

Q: Does having #ad or #sponsored make IG or Facebook show to less people?

A: Using #ad or #sponsor is not hindering your reach by the app! It’s only dependent on the fact that our followers don’t engage with ad content UNLESS it’s told authentically, tells a story, and is on brand.

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Q: How to increase story reach?

A: Create engaging content, like polls or something that makes the viewer interact rather than passively watch. Always hashtag and always geotag!

Q: 3 years ago I was getting the SAME amount of likes I get now. I have way more followers now. WHY is that!!!!??

A: 1. Because your older followers may be ghosts and 2. You have to create more dynamic posts now. Just like how we can’t throw up an on-the-fly low-quality blogpost, posts should serve a purpose (5 ways to xyz) your Instagram posts must serve a purpose as well. There’s no blacklist, promise. No shadow banning either.

Q: How can I get people to see my posts?

A: I know this isn’t the answer you want, but you HAVE to create engaging content that is share and save worthy. Quality over quantity. It’s better to post every other day, or once a day max. BUT, InstaStories NEED to be posted on a daily basis to stay relevant if you aren’t posting to your feed. 

Q: Why do I keep losing followers?

A: I’d assume it’s because of the saturation. People are unfollowing because they’re finding engaging content on so many more accounts now. In order to stay relevant we have to provide something that they can’t find elsewhere

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Biggest takeaway from my day with the Facebook team:
Biggest take away today was that FB isn't against creators and they actually want us and businesses to thrive because we are the ones that are producing content for their business to keep going. Rather, if we are seeing posts not do so well with the algorithm change, it's because they are not resonating with our audience and we need to become better at catering to their wants and needs. I will also start producing more video content after today.


Things That I Love That are Pink

This post contains affiliate links and some of the outfit pieces were gifted. All opinions are my own. I only promote brands that I truly love and believe in! Thank you for the support!

lauryn hock from lauryncakes, fashion blog, utah blogger

It's already Valentine's Day?! Did you properly prepare? If not, I've gotchuuu covered! Whole Foods is selling 2 dozen roses for $24.99 (or $19.99 if you show them an Amazon Prime coupon). Hurry your butt over and get some fresh roses for your lover. You're welcome!

In order to celebrate the day of romance properly, I decided that a round-up of all my favorite pink items felt absolutely appropriate.

15 Affordable & Fun Date Ideas for Valentine's

This post contains affiliate links. I was also gifted clothing from ASOS. All opinions are my own. I only promote brands that I truly love and believe in! Thank you for the support!
Affordable Date Night Ideas, cheap dates, cheap dat ideas

We have all been on the search for a fun yet cheap date at least once. With Valentine's Day coming up quickly, I decided to round-up a few affordable dates that Spencer and I have gone on the past 3.5 years of marriage! Feel free to leave a comment with another date that you and your partner enjoy that doesn't break the bank.

A Long Personal Post on Positivity

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I shared this on Instagram and thought that it would be nice to share here.

I’ve stayed off here for a few days because I honestly couldn’t bring forth my passion and drive to create. I felt like the very reason behind what I do was taken from me; it left my identity broken. If you haven’t been aware of the social media storm happening masked as a movement, consider yourself lucky. One MAN has decided to be in charge and tell WOMEN that they should condemn others for what the post publicly, what they wear, say, eat, how they act, even down to what they choose to do to their bodies. There was some truth to it, as the leader of this “movement” shed light to mental health... but it was done in the wrong way. I found myself all consumed with it, and my very being was seized as I forgot why I do this in the first place: to inspire myself to be better and to hopefully inspire those along the way. In order to control my familiar feelings of depression (lack of enjoying in usual activities, emptiness, hopelessness) that were creeping up in my consciousness, I wrote them down. I wanted to take responsibility for spiraling further by feeding the dark beast. I chose to instead take matters into my own hands in a healthy way— by getting some delicious food and expressing myself in a non-hurtful letter. Below (in the first comment) is the letter I wrote. I haven’t sent it to the man who needs to hear it yet, but when I get the courage, I will. I believe in so many of you women that have surrounded me and become my community; I feel safe sharing with you. Please read, and PLEASE reach out to me if you ever need a friend. I’m not going to tell you that I’m qualified in helping you manage the gloomy feelings that we all get sometimes, but I want to support you like you have supported me. After I say this, I hope that I can get back to my regular posting schedule and feel the positivity again. We all need positive passions!

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The Letter
I will absolutely use my voice on this platform, but I will never draw attention to you. You hurt so many of my friends deeply. The damage is irreparable because of the poison you filled peoples veins with. Bad deeds have been done by those you enticed to leave negative comments on unassuming accounts and nothing was done to stop it until it was far too late. The apology you gave yesterday seems insincere as it only comes after we (those that you put the blame on) have band together, gathered evidence, and began to voice your wrong approach. You’ll never post this screenshot on your story because it doesn’t fit your narrative of “hundreds and thousands of supporters and maybe only one negative comment a month”. I know for a fact, as I’ve seen screenshots of you not responding to people with counter arguments. I do want you to know that you have shook me, and not in the way that many would hope influencers would be shook. You have been a part of a movement and invited others to make fun of a business and a brand I hold close to my heart. I’ve lost my passion for it all this week, which took away my voice. I viewed my brand as a creative outlet, a way of making art and capturing moments. I now feel depressed about it all. Ironic, isn’t it? Someone promoting a “movement” about mental health awareness, yet you dragged others through the mud to get your point across. You directly hurt my friends when you called them out. You hurt women when they lost hope in this industry supporting women empowerment. You hurt me when you took away my purpose and my passion. Let it be known that I am all for raising the bar, opening up the discussion on mental health, breaking boundaries with communication. The approach I witnessed the past few months, and the past few weeks even more so, was absolutely filled with hatred, vagueness, and scapegoating. What I witnessed was women put down by a man, women pitted against women by a man, women told that what they do with their bodies is wrong by a man, and even worse, that mental health should be the responsibility of others. Blame was shifted. Scapegoats were accused and held accountable. Gaslighting was prevalent as a tactic to prevent the madness of it all from getting out. I’m sick for all of the people that have been manipulated. What this movement needs is a WOMAN that is educated in teaching the proper coping mechanisms for feelings of depression, anxiety, comparison, and inadequacy. If you truly want to help this movement, give the mic to someone else that is qualified.

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How to Prepare Your House for Your Adopted Kitty

This post is sponsored by Purina TIDY CATS® and PetsMart and contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. I only promote brands that I truly love and believe in! Thank you for the support! #ad #TidyTreatment
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Meet Teddy. He is a 5 year-old Bengal cat that we adopted from a family that couldn't keep him anymore. He has changed our lives so much! I used to consider myself a dog person, but after bringing him into our life, I can't say that I am biased to either species. I now point out any kitty I see hanging out in the window as we take walks in our neighborhood. Since Teddy had had two previous families that he lived with (multiple home transitions), we wanted his welcome in our place to be as smooth and comfortable for him as possible. Below you will find some of the tips we used to get by bringing a new kitty home with us!