Tips & Research on the Latest Instagram Algorithm Updates in August 2019

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Today I'm going to share some research notes on things going on with the Instagram algorithm. Instagram are targeting a lot of proxies and automation services. We know this because they only used to do 5 updates a year. In the last 2 months they've done 8 consecutive updates every week. Every time on Friday so 3rd parties have to work over the weekend (or in most cases don't) to fix compatibility issues.  

TIP: Don't use 3rd party engagement funnels, especially don't give away your password. Instagram detects each time you enter your password and if you're doing it more frequently then it will target you and more than likely block you. 

If you've experienced a drop off recently in your engagement levels its time to look at some ways to get your spurs back. 

At the end of April Instagram announced there is a connection between followers, friends and stories. These are the most important factors. 

MORE ENGAGING STORIES

You need to level up with your stories and make them more engaging. Polls, questions, share peoples responses and answers. 

The story algorithm has taken over. 

This gives you a greater chance on getting on the Instagram explore page. Previously it just used to be grid posts on the explore page, now they're publishing stories. If you're on the Instagram explore page, you're in a pretty good place. 

Instagram want you to stay on the platform for longer. 

We've always known this. The longer you stay on the platform, the more adverts you'll see, the more money Instagram make. 

So wow does the instagram algorithm work? 

One theory is the 'Casino Effect'. IF you lose every time you hit the slot machine, you'll not get sufficient amounts of dopamine (the feel good chemical that your brain secretes) and you'll lose interest. Same if you win every time, you'll feel like a 2 year old at Christmas that gets too many gifts.

The idea is that you have to keep guessing how your posts will fair. You don't know if you'll get sh*t tonne of likes, or a remarkably low score. Instagram even delay the amount of people that view your stories so you keep checking your feed to see how many people are looking. The reward is more intense when it finally arrives. Genius. 

TIP: Start dm'ing your followers more. Develop better relationships. Even if it's with a couple of emoji's. People get wow'd that you're checking out their stories, they often wonder if they're getting viewed at all! 

Also keep your grid clean and consistent. We like to look at pretty things. We like to see the same filters if its on a page we follow. Don't suddenly switch to black and white for a few weeks and get arty if your audience are craving your unique formula. 

TIP: Ask questions in your captions. Ask them for their thoughts, ask them to rate an idea. Engagement keeps people checking you out and makes sure that your latest content plonks straight to the top of their feed. 

TIP: Check out your insights if you have a business page. See what time people are active and make sure you upload your posts around that time specifically. 

TIP: Tag other users. They will start tagging you in their images and you'll develop stronger relationships and more traction. 

References and research 

How the Instagram Algorithm works

The future of Instagram Growth

Huge Instagram Algorithm Updates 

 

Cyber Bullying: Are You Doing it Without Knowing?

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It's been a weird couple of weeks for me. As many of you know I was on the receiving of a very personal and embittered cyber campaign that attempted to expose me and many others as Instagram frauds.

I've written a complete rebuttal addressing the accusations of the article, which has since been removed. You can read that article in-depth here

It's a very strange place to carve a living; the internet. I've had some people tell me you haven't arrived unless you're upsetting someone. If you’re pleasing everyone you're pleasing no one. Can you imagine what it's like to fear picking up your phone each time you feel it vibrate. 

Those little notifications that often feel like a mini pat on the back, suddenly feels like someone threading live rats through your letterbox. 

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Carl aren't you a little old to be cyber-bullied? 

Firstly, age is but a number when you're getting your name dragged through the mud online. Secondly, this is a brave new world we're living in. Instagram wasn't around when I was at school. Those were the halcyon days of old school bullying. 

This is a new wave. 

What are the effects of Cyber-bullying? 

I'm fairly thick-skinned. I don't like to get into it on social media and many times in the last couple of weeks I had to sheath my tongue. It can be a race to the bottom and for what? For some elusive moral victory? I'd rather not and to immortalise the words of Ron Burgundy I'd much rather 'stay classy'. 

I implore you to do the same. 

The basic effects of cyber-bullying and its manifestations are increased depressive symptoms, lower self-worth, panic and in my case anxiety. 

Is this just snowflake mentality? 

I get that a lot. The man-up, go hard or go home attitude. Sure, that's all fine with me. But I can tell you this last week I've had some bloggers and influencers whose names were also enmeshed in that article, in my living room, in tears. 

This is a real thing, with real repercussions. Some of the research I've done on this matter tells me although the bullying stops quite quickly, the harm can permeate for a long time. 

The only thing I can say is why cyber-bullying gets wrongly dismissed as snowflake mentality is because it's something our reptilian brains have come accustomed to. 

We don't have any physical battle scars. We're needing to deal with this modern day scourge on an intellectual and emotional level. Some of us are predisposed to handle cyber bullying better. Maybe older, mature and maladaptive. Others climb to the top of a water tower and jump to their deaths. 

Did that make you uncomfortable? Sorry, this isn't a comfortable subject

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What can we do to prevent cyber bullying? 

I'm sure you've all heard of the software ReThink? Devised for a Google Science fair by a 14 year old. ReThink is a product that gives adolescents trying to post offensive messages on social media a second chance to reconsider their decisions.

Basically it's like a vetting notification that says, 'hey, this comment sounds like you didn't take your asshole pills today, you sure you want to make someone else feel as bad as you?' 

It won a spot as a Global Finalist at Google Science Fair 2014 and winner of PowerPitch 1871, Chicago’s technology and entrepreneurial hub. 

Another way? 

Tweet others how you'd wish to be tweeted yourself. You might think the person is so popular or too big of a deal to read your glib remarks on social media. But they do. They get through like farts between the sheets. 

My suggestion is try and offer someone a bit of encouragement instead. Try and be nice to one single human being a day and see how that makes you feel. 

 

 

Latest News, Tools and Social Media Tips

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In this article I want to give you some crucial updates on everything that is happening in the world of Facebook and Instagram. What's more, how you can utilise these changes into making them work for you. 

CROSS POST AND SWIPE UPS! 

You can now double up on the exposure of what you share across your social media platforms as Instagram has now launched the capability of sharing swipe up links from your stories over to Facebook. 

Although some people like to go native on their individual platforms, for businesses this is a great time saver. Also for people that are more dominant on one channel than the other. For example, I'll confess I don't do much on Facebook compared to Instagram, so having this feature to share across my audiences at least keeps my Facebook page active. The easiest way to get started is by following the instructions here.

FREE MUSIC! 

After I've done a Vlog it can be quite painful having to trawl the net for a song that will fit. Not only that it has to be royalty free otherwise YouTube will set the dogs on you. 

The clever folk at Facebook have sorted this out for us. The Facebook Sound Collection now has over 2,000+ songs and 1,700+ sound effects available for use.

All content from Sound Collection can be used freely on our platforms without any additional licensing. Check out Sound Collection in Creator Studio here.  

WHY THE MERGE? 

You may have heard the news that Facebook are going to merge the messaging services of Facebook, What's App and Instagram by the year 2020. What will this mean for us? More than likely more adverts. WHY? Because Zuckerberg needs to start making a return on Whatsapp since he bought it for $19 Billion. 

Facebook announced increases in revenue today despite all the noise around Cambridge Analytica. And now we have the introduction of a homogenised messaging service. Joy! It just goes to show if you get a product for free, you don’t own it, you are that product. For more information on the combined messaging services there is a great in depth article about that on The National

BACK TO FACEBOOK

You may be looking to boost your posts and services on Facebook, but you're weary on all the technical jargon. There are a dozen ways to improve your skill set on Facebook without having to hire an intern or tech guy. 

Firstly you may want to think about getting a blue certified tick, which can be done by taking an exam via Facebook Blueprint. This will school you on a variety of different subjects such as Ads ManagerBoostingBidding EffectivelyCarousel AdsGenerating Leads from Ads, and Pixel.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions regarding blogging, the latest CMA rules for Instagram or how to monetise your blog you can always comment me below. I know it can be a bit of a labyrinth, maybe daunting for some. So don't hesitate to get in touch. 

 

Switching off over Christmas

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If I could ask one thing of all my readers this Christmas, is to take a break from checking your social feeds. Be present and respect the company of your family and friends whom haven't seen you in a long time. I'll be looking forward to a digital detox in the next couple of weeks and reflecting on what has been another incredible year. 

Whilst my career and public profile has steadily climbed, it's not been without personal sacrifice. Another spurned relationship, more fledgling friendships have materialised, only to turn out to be just that; materialistic. 

My Mistakes

I've made some mistakes with my e-commerce site as I relied heavily on one supply chain that let me down badly, which consequently left me out of stock. I've made those tweaks and the business is continuing to grow now in its 5th year. 

Tips - Make sure you're not being held hostage by anyone in any collaboration. Imagine what you'd do if your business partner walked out on you. Imagine if you're employer makes you redundant tomorrow. What transferrable skills do you have? What options are out there should the worse come to the worse? 

How to be more independent - I've learnt the hard way and one of the best words I learnt this year is called 'optionality'. Meaning if one of my videographers calls in sick, my entire campaign isn't going to fall down like a house of cards. I've networked furiously and built my rolodex so now my round table is filled with knights that bring value, different skills, different opinions and counsel that I depend on deeply. 

Plus points this year

The campaigns have been truly wild and humbling. From working with Reiss, to BMW, (more on that next year) the calibre of brands that resonate with my personal style are reaching out to me is very exciting. I know that might sound a little big-headed, but if I don't blow my own trumpet who else will? 

I also got shortlisted for the Vuelio Menswear Blog of the year for the first time. I lost out in the end to a worthy winner in Ape to Gentleman, but it was an honour to be shortlisted, but next time I'll simply have to lobby harder and pay the judges more. 

The year ahead

After listening to a few development classes I aim to lead a more fulfilling life in the new year. What do I mean by fulfilling? Have you ever wondered how rich people in western society can be miserable, yet some of the most impoverished people around the world have such a buoyant approach to life? 

It's because whilst money can make you happy, it can't fulfil you. Only by leading a life that has value, that has meaning, can you feel fulfilled. 

 Anyway, stay tuned for more 'new man' hokum from me in the new year. Thanks again for reading and for all the engagement on my social platforms. I read every comment and appreciate them all. 

Mental Health | Why Social Media Can be the Catalyst

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It's been a whirlwind few weeks for me. Most of you may have guessed that something was afoot from the dogged-dour undertones in my latest stories and Instagram posts. As the old adage goes, you never really know you're on top of the mountain until you're sliding down, and conversely, never know you're in a pit, until you're forced to climb your way out. 

This past week the eyes of the world have turned to Mental Health. It seems weird that as a society we only allocate one day of the year to focus on this blithe. I've developed my entire brand around social media. In a way it defines me, it emboldens me, whilst simultaneously being a saboteur of my sanity. 

I'm sure we all know that feeling of needing attention, but there is no catharsis for the out-bleeding of emotions on social media. Although we've come to depend on that short-sweet spike of attention that comes with a flurry of likes and comments, it pales in comparison to an arm around the shoulder.

It lacks any form of nourishment and in the end, the virtual family we've become so heavily dependent on to prop us up with that false sense of appreciation, eviscerates. It compounds our hollowness as we're constantly looking for it to satiate something illusory.

Put simply, Social Media is purely a crux, a servitude for our boundless narcissism. It's not equipped to tackle nor cure such complex personal issues such as depression, heartbreak or loneliness. 

That's not to say that Social Media doesn't have it's upticks. Who's to say a simple comment or like can't be anodyne to ones insecurities or loneliness? I've carved out a career around Social Media. It keeps the lights on here in the Thompson household and both Kevin Systrom and Mike Kriege (founders of Instagram) can sit at the head of my dinner table anytime. 

For the greater good we must appreciate the very essence of what Social Media has imbued into our day to day lives. People are less likely to slip through the cracks of life now that we have a more connected society.

For example, how many times have you seen someone post or share news on a missing person or pet? I love the quote a criminologist from Florida used citing Social Media as the new milk carton campaign to find missing teens.

As a business tool it of course helps my outreach, but it also inspires me to do better. It's a fine balance, somedays social media makes my life feel a little anaemic that I'm not in that perfect relationship, on that amazing holiday, wearing that awesome coat. But conversely, we all need things to aspire to. So long as those aspirations and expectations are realistic. 

 

Christ this supposed to be a blog on positivity and gratitude Carl! 

I'll get to that at the bottom. My five things that have helped me but first I'd like to refer you to a video that has been doing the rounds, all the words in this video have resonated with me so thank you Steven Bartlett. 

Steve talks pointedly about social media being the biggest killer of relationships today. It was simpler times for our parents and grandparents that never had to combat the perils of having a thousand and one 'keenly filtered faces' being one coquettish DM away from having your partners knickers down. It's something that Steve so aptly names 'the illusion of choice'. 

The choice is another thing that magically disappears once your now re-indexed from forbidden fruit to rebound-damaged goods. 

But the biggest takeaways I got from the Steven Bartlett video was how we've now mistakenly identified what a true relationship looks like. If you took a myopic-digital analysis of all relationships it would probably look like every moment was lived on a Hollywood movie set.

You'd be drowned in a cacophony of balcony shots overlooking the Eiffel Tower or Lake Como. It would sound like the constant 'clinking' of champagne flutes and every photo would be lauded with saccharin lovey-dovey sentiments. 

No wonder we're so surprised when people break up these days. No arguments are documented online, no trouble on the home front can ever be exposed to the masses. 

"I don't get it you two seemed perfect together. You were the most romantic of couples, always declaring your unbridled affection for each other, what happened?" 

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How do I turn my life around? 

Don't take it so personally

That's right snowflakes, it's not always about you. It's sometimes about the other party not having the god damn self-awareness to know they've turned you down. Oh unrequited is the worst word in the English language isn't it? Followed by, not feeling that spark. Urggggh. Girls, keep on searching for that illusive spark. Is it a thing or have you just seen it on someone else honeymoon reel? 

Find the humour

It's the best medicine, trust me. Have a glance through your rolodex, pick out your friends you know that will cheer you up. They're probably the worst listeners also, which is fine. You're not seeking to unload all your crap onto them. You call on them to do the opposite, take your mind off it. 

Absolute radio silence

In my experience the fastest and easiest way get over a breakup is to go cold-turkey. I’ve got a really stubborn side to my personality that actually makes this possible without the need for blocking but I have to be honest, I’ve cracked and it’s most often after a few too many drinks.

However as I’m offering advice here…no more back and forth on the text, checking you're ok, wishing you happiness and all that. A clean break is what you need. If you think, 'Maybe I didn't try hard enough to keep her, I should fight more for this relationship' then you've watched too many Bridget Jones Diary movies.  

Get to work - be like Liam Neeson 

Get in shape. If you're already in shape get in better shape. The exercise will tire you out so you're not watching box sets 'til 4 in the morning. If you're already making money, make more money and revel in it. Do everything and more. Liam Neeson never turned a single script after his wife died. 

Be grateful, it's not the end of the world

Someone else is having a worse day than you. Jesus Christ did you see that story from New York about that Limo crashing on the way to a birthday party, killing all 18 people inside and two pedestrians. Four sisters died in that crash, you imagine being a parent to that? I know right, your problems aren't worth sh*t in comparison to that. 

How I deal with Passive/Aggressive comments on Social Media

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It's been a new thing for me in recent weeks, learning how to tackle the passive/aggressive and the outright aggressive comments on social media. By and large I have a great community of influencers and fans that champion my platforms, leaving very encouraging remarks. But as the saying goes if you're pleasing everyone then you're pleasing no one.

Some recent comments have hit home of late, especially the ones of the passive/aggressive nature. The ones that sound like they come from an honest place, but are have an undertone of resentment and in my mind specifically engineered to get under my skin.

Why passive/aggressive comments are the worst is because the author lacks a complete backbone. They don't have the balls to be direct and call a spade a spade. A recent comment on my YouTube informed me that I was pronouncing a certain word wrong, calling me a tw*t in the process. Those sort comments I can digest, deflect, even laugh, but the ones that are surreptitiously masked, leave a taint.

Saying something mean whilst having plausible deniability. 

Just Saying

Just Saying, putting it out there, always with the open palms right? You're just saying it, but that doesn't stop people feeling it. You're 'Just Sayin' is the weasel's way out. Just say it, without the Just Saying.

Just Curious  

Just Curious? Just curious about how many blokes you've slept with before me. Just curious, out of curiosity, what's your dick count up to? Just curious how much did you make on your last job? Of course you're curious, but just by making the proclamation does not make your 'curiosity' any less invasive. 

No Offence

No offence but actually offence. No offence but that's not a good look for you. That's not a good look for you, and offence because I'm actually bang into this look, and I can handle criticism, but not when it comes unqualified. No offence, but justify your opinions, I'll accept them, respect them and we'll move on. No offence, but go eff yourself with your no offence 'offense'. (Americanism). 

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How do you handle Passive/Aggressive comments on social media?

Firstly, if you're being intimidated or bullied at all then this can lead to mental health issues. Please reach out to the professionals, the word is eCrime is now sadly becoming more prevalent, it's in the police lexicon but there are professionals that can help you out. There's no shame in reaching out.

Secondly, you can always mute, block or call them out. It's possibly harder to call them out because they're more than likely friends in real life that has perhaps just gotten a little jealous, or maybe you've hit a nerve somewhere you didn't know existed. That's where the third tip will help you out the most.

DETACH! Learning to emotionally detach will help you handle most things, but especially negativity in your life. To quote ex-navy Seal turned author and podcaster Jocko Willink, you need to learn to detach

"When you're not detached you're in the storm and you don't even know it."

That's all I have on this today. I'd be interested to know if anyone else experiences this on their channels, and how they react to passive/aggressive comments.