Your closet isn't the only thing that needs a spring cleaning. Here's why you should consider extending the purge to your Instagram account and how you can do it effectively.
As with any other cleanse, you'll feel so much better once it's done.
Spring is arguably the best time of the year. The days are longer, the weather is warmer, and the vibe emanating from people is freshly positive. Sadly, there is a downside – SPRING CLEANING 😱. The concept of spring cleaning is one that is welcomed and shunned at the same time. Like a lot of things, it’s complicated.
And just like how that seasonal purge tends to end up at the very bottom of your to-do list, so is the upkeep on your social media accounts. If ever #blessed with a free moment, the last thing you want to do is look back into your past cringe-worthy Instagram activity and give everything a good sweep. Why would you do that when you could watch this?
What makes finding time to “clean” more challenging than ever is society's obsession with newness. Why spend valuable hours to maintain what's already in the past when you can be creating new content? Maintenance tasks are underestimated and need to be given a lot more love than they currently are. And we’re not alone: the guys over at Freakenomics did a whole podcast on the topic. Give it a listen if you need a little more convincing to get you started on this undertaking.
If you need even more encouraging to get moving towards a shiny and clean Instagram profile, here's something that might help: get your shit together!!(politely of course). Just throw on a Wayne Wonder-inspired dancehall playlist and find a spot in the office other than your desk — a lot can be said about a change of scenery. Then follow the 6 steps* outlined below to reach serious Instagram feed goals. Your profile is one notch away from the equivalent of that fresh bed sheets feeling and floors that ooze a lemony zesty aroma. You get it.
*Note: these 6 steps are merely places to consider looking for dirt. You know your audience and content better than anyone else. You also know if the flooring needs to just be swept, or if it requires a complete steam clean and buff.
Go through your profile and look for content that is time-sensitive. Maybe you were having a flash sale at Christmas or were holding a one-off event on a specific date. This type of content served a specific purpose at a particular time, and there is a good likelihood that it is no longer relevant. Especially if the posts were designed in a way that isn’t as appealing as your usual beautiful imagery, nor cohesive with the rest of your content.
Keeping those types of posts on your gallery can negatively impact your Instagram feed aesthetic, dilute your message, hinder brand development, or ruin first impressions. So hit the delete button and trash these posts – they're like that knickknack in the window that your parents brought you back from Aruba. The springtime Gods say chuck it!
If your time-sensitive content still works with your overall strategy and you want to keep the posts intact, than there is another course of action, which brings us to our next point.
Let’s call a spade a spade – people are on Instagram to look at pictures first and to read second, if at all. With that said, you still need to pay close attention to your copy in the interest of brand identity, and as a result, your captions are 🔥. Whether you're using that dialogue slot as a link in bio Likeshop leverage or to elicit some sort of response from your followers, there is no way that this previously referred-to bio link is still there if your posts are over a year old.
Or maybe you held a contest that had outlined entry mechanisms and stipulations in the caption block. Remove this copy and update it with the contest winner. Take these wordy instances as an opportunity to further cement your brand narrative and values, rather than being post-specific.
Here is a fun little Easter egg idea: scroll down to a year old post and update the caption to read “first 5 people to DM us this post with the celebration emoji get a free sample of our product.” Keep the tally updated on the copy so people know that the contest is still running. Once word gets out you’re planting little eggs, people will revisit your old content in ways they wouldn’t have otherwise. 🐣
Speaking of copy, let’s talk about the necessary evil that is the hashtag cloud. This won’t be applicable to bigger accounts, but if you’re a brand that’s on the come-up, hashtag blocks are a means to justify exposure. Even on your best Instagram photos. No harm no foul.
The caveat is that hashtags will get your photo noticed, but are really only effective within 24 hours of posting. So go ahead and delete those old tag clouds. It will be a cathartic task, promise.
Scroll down on your profile. Keep scrolling. Scroll some more, all the way down to your first ever post. Back when your content curation strategy hadn't yet reached the level of perfection it's at today. I think we can collectively agree that many of these early images are “what were we thinking?” posts, and do not belong there anymore.
We’re not saying every single visual needs to go, but there is a strong likelihood that you can trim some fat. We’re about to get as real as it gets: not every post is a home run and sometimes we put up something we regret. Yup. #Noregrets isn’t real, so it's time to take down those posts with terrible Valencia filters.
To make the whole exercise more fun, screenshot the real duds and send them around in an all staff email, or even share them on your Insta Stories. A good laugh always helps with morale. Plus this exercise will break up the monotony of your deep cleaning session.
Who you follow is as much a reflection of your online presence as the content you put out. And it is a fluid exercise, so take stock of who you are following as a brand and make some updates. We can’t tell you what the right accounts to follow are; it’s a nuanced decision that has a lot of layers to it. That said, take some time to go through your list to give it a scrub. Patience and a fine-tooth comb are required, just like like when you go through your pantry in April and remove all of the items that have expired.
This step is exactly what spring cleaning is all about – getting to that caked in, deep down dirt. This is the equivalent of pulling the fridge from the wall and dealing with the hidden guck. Just because it's hard to get to, doesn’t mean it should be there. If your account has been tagged in a photo you don’t think aligns with your brand, hit the three dots in the top right corner of the image, tap “photo options” and then “hide from my profile”.
Tada, this image will no longer show up in your tagged photos and the account that tagged you will be none the wiser, as they are not notified of your sneaky activities. Treat your tagged photos page as a second profile to improve the overall presentation of your brand. After all, the dirt devil is the details.😉
Congrats, you’ve completed the above 6 tasks. Now take a step back, breathe, and admire your hard work. Go ahead, a celebratory profile scroll is in order here. Looks really good doesn’t it? A tranquil zen is washing over you now, isn’t it? Spring cleaning sucks but this feeling makes it well worth it. Mission accomplished. Well done. 👏