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February 13, 2020

Looking to jumpstart your spring cleaning? Pro tip: skip the dust bunnies, trade your yellow gloves for a glass of wine, and start your ritual purge on social.

We all spend a good amount of our time scrolling through our Instagram feeds, and as our very own Stephen Tornetta said last year, sometimes it’s necessary to say “thank u, next” and cleanse your feed for your own sanity. (Check out his guide to Instagram spring cleaning here). 

As of last week, Instagram made this task just a little bit easier with the introduction of following categories. These categories add another layer of organization to your following list, letting you quickly assess who your true besties are and who needs the “it’s time to see different people” speech. 

If you click through to your following list on your profile, you will see two new categories: 

  • Most Shown in Feed: accounts you see the most when scrolling through your feed
  • Least Interacted With: accounts whose content you comment on/like the least

Hey, relationships change. That cute guy from freshman year was a must-follow back in the day, but do you really need to see what new latte design his local Starbucks barista gave him this morning? This feature just makes it a bit easier to see whose photos you are scrolling past on the regular and gives you a chance to either take them off your list or place them on mute. 

For brands, this may raise a few concerns: Are we going to become the victims of spring cleaning? Should we expect to see a drop in our followers?

COURTESY OF INSTAGRAM

First of all, let’s put your worries to rest. No, your followers aren’t going to be leaving in droves. This new organizing tool helps users better keep track of what accounts they actually see and care about. This also inadvertently helps brand weed out their unengaged users. We want our followers list to be filled with users who want to see and interact with our posts. Having these unengaged users does not help your brand, other than acting as a vanity count: nice to look at, but otherwise useless in advancing your brand’s messaging. 

In fact, I’d encourage brands to see this as a learning opportunity. If you are losing followers to this tool, use this behavior as a barometer of your channel’s health and ask yourself: 

  • How relevant is our content to our Instagram audience? Take a closer look at who you are trying to reach, and then test, test, test. Try out different messaging and creative to narrow down on what your audience responds best to. Consider Instagram Stories and IGTV as other ways to reach your audience on the platform.
  • Are we reaching the right people? Having followers is nice, but are they relevant? Do they have the right interests? Are they located in the right spot to even utilize our offerings/services?
  • Are we posting too much or too little? No one likes being spammed. It’s all about finding the right balance for you and your followers: enough to maintain brand recall and user engagement without annoying them with constant updates.

As you ask yourself these questions, remember that social media is not an exact science. Get creative, test different content and features, analyze your results, adjust your strategy, and repeat.

At the end of the day, this tool will be great for both users and brands. We all get to clean up our feeds for a better user experience and brands get to find out who their real followers are. Yes, relationships change—so use the opportunity to improve your existing relationships and discover ways to start new ones. 

About the Author

Kierstyn Schneck

Kierstyn is an account coordinator at ChatterBlast. As a recent D.C. transplant, she can be found in Philadelphia's nearby hiking trails or joining others in their dog envy on the bridge over the Schuylkill River Park.

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