Why I Don’t Want You to Turn on Instagram Notifications

Yesterday my own Instagram feed was full of graphics with little arrows pointing up the top right area of the post, and instructions telling me to turn on notifications.

Maybe you saw that too, and wondered what it’s all about.

Here’s the scoop. Instagram is rolling out a new algorithm, and it’s creating quite a buzz. This algorithm is designed to display things that you actually want to see in your Instagram feed, instead of just a chronological string of all the recent posts from everyone you follow.

Instagram will now show you photos it thinks you want to see.

Not surprisingly, lots of people who use Instagram as a marketing tool are all up in arms about the change, saying that IG is just becoming another Facebook (Facebook owns Instagram, by the way). They’re afraid that all their hard work will be for nothing if no-one sees their posts, which is what happened with Facebook pages.

Of course, they’ve found a solution – sort of. When you turn on notifications, you’ll see all those posts first, so why not tell everyone who follows you to turn on notifications for your posts? Makes sense, right?

This is backfiring, big time. instagram

First of all, I’m a bit of a rebel. When someone tells me what to do, I usually do the opposite (unless I’ve asked their opinion, of course). And from what I read yesterday in Facebook discussions, I’m far from alone.

Secondly, notifications are distracting. I turn them all off, anyway.

When you annoy people, they usually end up unfollowing you. So instead of trying to game the system so that a reader will see your posts, here’s a better approach:


That’s right, post things that people actually want to see and will engage with. Post things of value – fun, happy, helpful, useful, etc. Be authentic and engage with your readers. Instead of groaning about change, use it as an opportunity to improve the way we use Instagram for our business. You’ll get those double-taps and comments, and that is what the algorithm will pick up.

It’s just like anything else. When you add value to someone’s life, they’re going to want more of it.

I’m not going to ask you to turn on notifications for my posts, because I am not interested in forcing my content on someone who doesn’t find it valuable.

If you want to see someone’s posts, give them a like or comment. If the algorithm works as intended, you’ll start seeing more of their posts in your feed. If you aren’t (and you want to), you can always turn on notifications.

It’s your choice. You can control what you see on social media, and what you don’t.

And by the way, Instagram is listening.