October 16, 2018

That Time I Went to the Instagram Offices

Business of Blogging Featured



Hi, loves!  As promised, I wanted to share with you some of the notes I took during Net-a-Porter’s first NETSET Academy in New York City.  Firstly, I was *so* excited when I opened up the emailing invitation.  Net-a-Porter is one of my favorite brands and their magazine Porter magazine is actually the only one I have a subscription for if that says anything.  They can do no wrong in my book!

The event was held at the Instagram offices and the keynote speaker at the event was none other than Mrs. Eva Chen herself.  She was just amazing as I imagined she would be.  She was so REAL and honest with us, which was refreshing.  This industry can be kind of intimidating, right?  As someone who’s been on Instagram since the day it launched, I left feeling inspired!  There’s always something new to learn.

So if you’re not an influencer or creative on Instagram, you may want to skip today’s blog post, but no worries, no hurt feelings!  But if you are going to stick around Eva Chen and the Instagram team (including @kristiedash) gave us answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about Instagram.  Let’s not waste any more time and get right into it!


First and foremost, you have to post authentic content.  Only post what feels true to you and that you think your followers will relate to.  Which means, make sure you are also regularly creating content!  Don’t just throw up that old campaign photo.  Are you traveling to a new location?  Take advantage and post content that will attract new followers in that area.  Use location tags, hashtags, etc. to get their attention.  Note: Location tags DO matter on Instagram.  And, lastly, Instagram has found that while people come for information, they stay for personality.  Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine!  It’s also the biggest differentiation between you and everyone else on Instagram.

There are 4 main reasons why people follow an account: 

  • To be entertained
  • To get information
  • To be educated
  • To get inspired


The Instagram team stresses how important it is to connect with your community.  But before that, of course, you need to find out who they are.  So be sure to be regularly checking your Instagram insights and other analytic data to ensure your posts are tailored to the right audience.  Note: Nicole Warren of Gary Pepper girl says to only post content that serves your community.  Also, make sure you are engaging with your community and responding to comments, answering questions, etc.

Now, let’s dive into the A-word:  The algorithm has been a contentious topic for quite some time now but I’m here to assure you, the algorithm is meant to HELP, NOT hurt us.  And I can happily say I won’t be complaining about it anymore.  It’s time we stop trying to blame it when our photos don’t do well or we feel like we’re not growing as fast as we should be, but hopefully some of the tips I’m about to share with you help with that!

So the biggest change came about when they realized that people are following more accounts on Instagram than ever (There’s now over 1 billion users).  This meant that it was likely that you weren’t seeing a lot of posts you cared about because you would have to scroll for so long to get all caught up on your feed.  Now, Instagram shows you what they think you want to see most at the top of your feed based on what and who you engage with the most.  And how do they know what you want to see?  There are over 500 signals that the engineers look at when determining who to show your posts to, but the three, main categories are Interest, Timeliness & Relationship.

However, unlike you may think, Instagram still does show you every single post.  They DON’T hide any posts.  If you’re not seeing someone’s post that you want to, engage with them more!  If you don’t think enough of your followers are seeing your post, post more!  It’s that simple.  Did you know that the average fashion and beauty Instagram user opens Instagram anywhere from 30-50 times a day?  Take advantage of that to be seen.  So make sure you are consistently contributing to the ecosystem and you will be rewarded for it.  Also, because of how the algorithm works now, posting times don’t really matter anymore either.  So don’t worry about waking up in the middle of the night or super early in the morning to post.


If you’ve checked your explore page recently (which gets I think gets 200 million views a day), video is the largest icon on that page.  Instagram also just released their own mobile friendly video player, IG TV.  Are you getting the hint yet?  The answer is yes YES!  The future is video and Instagram stressed to us how important video content is to grow your audience.  Instagram is super invested in video right now.

That all being said, don’t feel like you now need to hire some fancy videographer and spend a million dollars or a million hours editing to create highly edited videos.  Candid, in-the-moment videos perform really well on Instagram rather than overly produced videos, including boomerangs, hyper lapses, and other short video formats.  And your audience wants to see them!  So play around with video as much as you can and have fun with it.  But be sure to put the most interesting content in the first 3 seconds of your video to keep your viewers attention.  When a viewer watches your video for 3 seconds, that’s what counts as a “View.”

Other tips I jotted down related to video:

  • Most people watch up to 20 seconds of a video
  • Most watch with the sound off, except on stories where they watch with sound on
  • Mix up the format of each post in stories to keep people watching
  • Post short, loop-friendly videos, that people can watch over and over
  • Long hold on your “Live” photos to turn them into boomerangs
  • Try going live with other influencers/industry people
  • Save your LIVE and turn it into an IGTV
  • Content on IGTV should feel episodic (Like a series, Q&A, home tour, tutorials, etc.) to get your viewers to come back and watch more


The short answer to this is NO!  A good way to prove/check this is to look at your feed/photo impressions vs. your profile views.  It’s likely that about 1% of your feed impressions are visiting your profile.  So from a business standpoint, it’s just not worth it to invest that much time and effort into making your grid perfect.


We, as creators, are stronger together.  Like Eva said, content creators are like unicorns and what’s better than a lot of unicorns?  So, collaborate.  Be nice to each other.  Support one another. And don’t be competitive.


Okay, I think that covers everything that stood out to me from #TheNETSET Academy!  If you have any other questions, please leave them in the comments below, email me or direct message me on Instagram. 🙂 xx, Nat




This post is amazing. Thank you! xo



This was so great to read, thanks lady! Plenty of food for thought there. I would have been excited getting that invite too! So handy and love Porter too.
xx Jenelle | http://www.inspiringwit.com

So interesting! I definitely thought my grid was the end all be all!