Updated on August 3, 2020
For budding influencers, knowing is half the battle. Information about things people track and interact with makes a great proving ground for potentially building your own profile. Maybe your feed got flooded by people liking Taylor Swift pics or leaving a monstrous amount of comments on this political profile. Or all of the above for big events like PewDiePie’s wedding. The point is, you can get a lot of great info off the people in your online circles.
You can do this sort of canvassing on any social media site, but it works best on Instagram for a couple of different reasons.
First off, Instagram is primarily image or video based. Visual feedback is much easier to work with compared to text posts or viral stories. Instagram can actually be counted as a side-line for online life, at least compared to its sibling applications. What Facebook is to regular life, Instagram is to glitz, glamour, and presentation. The things people follow are things that actually hold their interest, providing entertainment, information, or product lines they follow out of enjoyment rather than necessity.
Instagram is also less group-centred than Facebook. People don’t mind following and tracking things they enjoy rather than following basic service, government, and necessity groups. This makes it a very reliable data point to figure out what people actually like.
How To Actually See The Activity?
Hit the heart icon on the bottom right side of the screen. This pulls you to your account activity. Just switch tabs to the upper left side to the “Followers” option, and it’ll already done.
Is This A Violation Of Privacy?
Nope. We have account settings for a reason.
First off, you could adjust your privacy settings very easily. Setting your account to public means anyone can see your content and follow you. They can see your activity and feed in their log, updating to a certain limit. They won’t actually be able to single you out specifically, thankfully.
Setting your account to private heavily restricts your online presence. Followers have to be vetted in by you and only you, and none of your content is available online to anyone not among your follower base.
Why Should You Even Care?
Instagram likes, comments, and followers add up into this nifty little thing called engagement. This is basically the measurement of how many real people follow what you’re doing. I stress the word real because there are plenty of zombie accounts and unfollowers that can really screw with this measurement.
Engagement is what dictates how awesome your are – in the eyes of big-name companies – as an influencer. If you want to turn this into a side gig, focus on this one very crucial aspect. Engagement is also far more effective on Instagram then other social media sites.
Followers are exactly what they sound like: people who basically subscribe to your content. What most people don’t figure is that high follower counts can screw you over in terms of engagement. A sudden spike in followers can really distort your rating, which in turn makes your account less appealing to brands online. Zombie accounts are basically bot accounts that exist only to screw with the algorithm. These are the kinds of accounts with hundreds of follows or followers with non-existent activity. Unfollowers are the rare but annoying human account that follows a user, then unfollows them once they get followed. They do this to inflate their own follower count as an influencer – which I just want to remind you, actually works against them with the existing engagement-prioritizing algorithm.
Likes are the measure of how many people glanced at your content and took the time to hit a button. It’s kind of like them acknowledging the post, but it does mean a human did that (for the most part). This is a great measurement for general activity and actual human inclusion in the interaction.
This also has its own set of problems, unfortunately. It’s a very common process to automate and sell, which is fine in all honesty. It isn’t illegal, but just very pointless. Because of the possible script usage, most companies don’t tie their sponsorship to specific like and react counts.
Comments are probably the best measure used, as it’s very hard to fake a video or post’s appropriate response. These especially work with comment chains, making the authenticity more reliable for brands online. Sometimes, people use bots for this as well. While this works for basic questions and interaction, there are a lot of people criticizing bots for being shallow and pointless over a network created for online personal interactions. These people also tend to have the frustrating experiences to justify their viewpoints.
Seeing someone’s Instagram activity gives pretty awesome insight into what they find interesting, and if you can in turn use that to shape your content. At the very least, it’s some extra info to work with. Figure out what’s got your friends and family engaged and see if you can turn it into something useful.
What Can Their Instagram Activity Tell You?
Do they follow a specific theme for content? Are they checking out any niche accounts or just liking each other’s posts? You might want to especially keep an eye out for posts they react to beyond your friend group, as it’s likely your buddies follow and react to these people out of genuine interest rather than some sort of personal connection. What kinds of posts are they commenting on? It’s about figuring out what holds people’s interest and seeing if you can take this into consideration for your own thing.
Instagram does not allow you to track specific people’s feeds, but that might actually work in your favour. All the information you’ll get will be constantly up to date, and you can keep working at figuring your content’s direction out without worrying about following outdated trends.
Just don’t forget that people like everything for a reason. You may not know the specific reason for specific people, but eventually trends start to emerge. Just pick up on them as they come, and thing’s might turn out pretty well for your account’s growth.