My Thoughts on Instagram + a Survey

June 13, 2017


preppy and feminine outfit inspiration with striped wrap dress from topshop

Hope you all are having a great week! Sorry for the missed posts this week. Dealing with some tech issues over here.

Today I’m doing things a little differently. While I’m sharing photos of an outfit post I shot in Santa Barbara, I also wanted to chat a little bit about Instagram. I went to a really interesting workshop on Monday and it made me think about what I could be doing differently. I’m going to share some of the takeaways from the workshop below, along with a little request!

I know I’m not mentioning anything new when I say Instagram has changed lately. Who else has noticed it? Not only is it a little more challenging as a business, but it’s also frustrating as an individual. I rarely see posts from my friends I follow, and then there are others that I always see, to the point that it makes me want to not like their photos. As a blogger, I feel like my images aren’t seen as much, but maybe that’s because I’m not getting the same number of likes and comments I got before. Perhaps people are just engaging differently now and don’t feel the same desire to like and comment?

ruffled wrap dress with pretty sleeves summer outfit inspiration with blue poplin striped wrap dress and denim jacketpretty sleeve detail on topshop dress from nordstrom

In general, the consensus seems to be that when Instagram changed its algorithm, engagement went down. {Engagement is the likes and comments that any individual image receives}. I remember that a year and a half ago I could post a photo at 7pm and knew that I would get X amount of likes within an hour. Now I’m lucky if I get that amount in total. It’s more like half! While I know likes aren’t everything, it can be a little discouraging when you’re spending time working on content, sharing it, but not getting that same response from readers. Do they see your posts and not like them? Are they not good enough? For me, I struggle between wanting to share real, relatable content, but also wanting to share beautiful images. I wonder if the grid matters. What about hashtags? And then there’s the comparison game. That game will eat you alive and while I try to not give it any attention, sometimes it’s hard not to.

love this blue striped topshop dress for summerlove this ruffled summer dress styling a wrap dress for summer this kate spade camera bag is so cute! Love the tassel and stone detail (also comes in mustard!)

On Monday, I went to a Facebook and Instagram workshop and there were a few takeaways I thought I’d share with any of you if you’re interested:


  1. Video is key! Videos are prioritized over photos across Facebook and Instagram.
  2. Posting quality over quantity is better. No need to post 5 times a day. Focus on quality first and foremost.
  3. While photos might not get the same amount of likes right away, there is a longer lifespan on an image. They will continue to reach audiences even days after it was originally posted.
  4. Hashtags aren’t as helpful as they were 2 years ago. {does anyone even search hashtags?}
  5. Geo-tag your location to show up in Explore feed

The video aspect was interesting. While I’ve grown frustrated with Instagram’s main feed, I’ve actually fallen in love with InstaStories. For someone who has had a love/hate relationship with Snapchat, I’m surprised I’ve loved InstaStories so much. I’ve loved connecting in this real way, no makeup needed, and the conversations I have with many of you really motivate and inspire me. The mama tribe that follows me is especially amazing whenever I have a question about Augustine.

I’ve played around with InstaLives in the past and while they’re a little stressful, they’re also really fun. I love that they’re in real time, and I can connect with you instantly. I haven’t tried a Facebook Live yet but maybe I’ll do that next. Would you be interested in that? Any Live requests? I was thinking about a makeup one!

striped dress with wrap detail and bow tie delicate necklace layering love these brown faux leather sandal heels - such a good price too! blue sunglasses with blue dress


With all my confusion surrounding Instagram, I thought it might be a good idea to reach out straight to the source and ask you all for your thoughts. I have a super short 10-minute survey (mainly multiple choice) that I would love for you to fill out. It would mean so much to me as I evaluate what I could be doing to better capture your interest. {Don’t worry, all your answers will be kept strictly confidential and they’re for my eyes only.}


As a little thank you for taking the time I’m going to be randomly be picking a few of you to send little goodie bags to. yay! Just leave a comment below telling me you filled it out. I’ll go off the honor system! {Update: Mia & Sandra are the winners of this one!}

Thank you all again! I hope to continue creating content that you all love and enjoy!


Powered byTypeform

dress {under $100!} . jacket . shoes {under $100 & also in black and taupe!} . bag {also in mustard} . similar sunglasses . tag necklace .  M necklace. three wishes necklace . watch {under $100 option & $250 option } . cuff bracelet . link bracelet . ring .


photos by Jacqueline Pilar

  • Natali

    Great post Mara… I liked your thoughts and that you brought up this conversation about Instagram and it’s changes. Yes, there are big changes and some of them aren’t “good” but we have to somehow adjust and figure out how to use the new situation into our advantage. I love engage whenever I can and profiles which I really love to follow, so commenting is not an issue to me, it’s just that sometimes it will take 14 hours for some of my favourite profiles’ photos to show up in my feed…

    • Yes, I totally agree! I’m so happy you were able to take something away from this post! xox

  • Michelle Joseph

    Hey Mara, I filled out the survey. First of all, I really love this cute outfit. The frills are so feminine.
    Secondly, I love your feed. You are so down-to-earth and it’s like you’re not trying to be someone you’re not (lol tongue twister). You are yourself and you’re real. I love your InstaStories too. I personally love to see vids on InstaStories more than images, but I still love images too. Hope that helps.

    Mich x

    • Hi Mich! Your words are so sweet, they mean so much! Thank you so much for filling out the survey💕


  • Just filled out the survey darling! I know how frustrating it must be but honestly i don’t think you should change the way you do things because of an algorithm. They got people addicted to their App (myself included!) and now they’re changing it so that people will spend more time on it and be much more active, which means more money for them. As a young/small blogger i decided to kinda give up on Instagram and mainly do it for me and to share my blog post. Spending time creating specific content is not worth it anymore i feel like and i’d rather dedicate my time to the quality of my blog posts it’s so much more important for me. But i can totally see how frustrating it must be for you dear, i LOVE LOVE LOVE your instastories and your feed and your blog, don’t change a thing you’re awesome! Oh and that dress is so so pretty, you look gorgeous! :*

    • Yes, I agree with you! It’s very frustrating because I don’t always have time to be extra active on Instagram and other social media sights but at least I got a few tips I can utilize and focus in on more. Thank you so much for your kind words and input 💕


  • MaryMK

    Survey Done 🙂 While I rarely comment on Instagram accounts that I don’t know personally, I love to see your pictures on my feed and watch your InstaStories. They always seems so genuine and realistic that it’s usually a breath of fresh air from other accounts where everything is set up to look a certain way (and end-up looking fake and unrealistic), so please continue what you’re doing!

    • Aw thank you so much Mary! It means a lot that you helped out 😘

  • Kaity

    Just filled out the survey! I really have nothing but negative things to say about Instagram at this point in time – in addition to hating the algorithm, I’m just generally displeased with the direction it’s taken. I don’t like the increasing emphasis on staged photos and planning out your feed to look cohesive and just overall fake-ness. I fell in love with Instagram at first because of how it allowed people to share snapshots of their actual lives, and as much as I love the accounts full of gorgeous photos, I miss those days where people posted Instas to share something that was happening in their lives.

    • Thank you so much for taking the survey Kaity! I can see how it’s super frustrating since people run their accounts so differently. I know it’s easy to feel like there is pressure to have the “perfect photo” when it all started with sharing our lives anyway. Either way, I do the best I can to be as real with you guys as I can 🙂


  • Anika G.

    Survey done! Instagram is making it so hard lately! I wish you had an option for “all of the above” for the question about what types of posts you like to see.. I love that you share such a diverse variety – outfits, home, motherhood. Please don’t change that! ❤️

    • Hahaha I wish so too! Thank you for taking the time to fill out the survey 💕

  • Kim Pincombe-Cole

    Filled out the survey for you! Instagram has become an entirely different beast than it once was – I’ve noticed bloggers having to resort to buying ‘sponsored’ ad posts just to get a picture shown in the most feeds. Such a bummer…

    • I totally agree! I miss the old algorithm but it’s all about doing the best with what we have got. Thank you for filling out the survey!!


  • Alina Conn

    Completed survey. I do love instagram. However, I’ve noticed as of late that bloggers may perhaps post too much for the sake of getting noticed or over staging a shoot. Personally, I adore candid shots and a variety is the way to go. Keep up the great job.

    • Thank you so much for you input Alina! It means a lot 💕

  • Kim C.

    I just filled out the survey! I think you’re doing a great job!! I love your blog and everything you post on Instagram!! I think you have a great balance between personal and professional content and you take the time to engage with your readers which is awesome!! Thank you for sharing what you learned at the workshop, it was interesting to read and to learn!!

  • Sydney85

    I just filled out the survey. I really enjoy your blog with your content covering many subjects. I like Instagram for more candid shots and like blogs for more detailed information.

    • Yes, that’s such a great point! Thank you Sydney 🙂


  • Paige Cassandra Flamm

    Its nice to see that even as a bigger blogger, you still struggle with the changes too. Not that it’s nice to see you struggle, but just to know it’s not just the smaller bloggers taking a hit too. I love the content you share, and think you’re great!


    • I get what you’re saying haha it’s been a struggle for all of us. I sometimes feel like I can’t win but I’m doing the best I can in staying current and active. Thank you so much for your response xox

  • Becca Hill Fitzgerald

    I filled out the survey. Personally, I think you are doing a great job! I like your pictures and if I want to see more about an outfit or blog post, then I will head to the blog. But I love the instastories too with more of your day-to-day life and motherhood journey. 🙂

  • Chloe Chapman

    I filled out the Survey. I love your blog and insta feed!! Your pictures are beautiful and you really keep an upbeat and postive vibe going which is so refreshing!!

  • Chelsea Balderston

    Filled out the survey! Also, adore this dress on you! Can you say, “legs for daaaaays”? 😉

  • Sprinkle ofSurprise

    Filled out the survey! Would love to win your giveaways ha! xox
    Love this post – i’m a small small blogger, and the algorithm on instagram is definitely affecting me. Although me # of likes has grown in past 6 months – it is SO up and down. Some days/some pics are doing great, other days when i post, i barely get 50 likes. It’s very discouraging because i know i’m in a saturated market with so many fabulous bloggers – like yourself – who are established, but i try my best and really am trying not to compare myself to others!
    your instagram game is killing it lady – no worries!

  • Filled out the survey! Very interested to hear more about the workshop was saying about video – social video analytics is my day job, so it’s definitely interesting to hear what is being said out in the field!

  • Allegra Liu

    Finished the survey. Really pretty dress, love the sunnies and sandals and that bag is a favorite of mine!

  • Melissa Pearce

    Completed the survey! Adore this outfit! You look lovely Mara.

  • Filled out the survey. <3
    As someone who has started Instagram in the last few months I have totally felt the lack of engagement. While my aesthetic did change I experienced a huge decline like a lot of other users did (though my numbers were in the hundreds). It has been very difficult to gain any traction at all because of the algorithm and I am stuck in such a small user base. The main way I have built up followers is by having a consistent feed that people look back at (and responding to others' posts as much as I can), but it definitely is frustrating.

    Your feed is great though, I have been trying to work my habits to get some of my favorite bloggers more in my feed, but it is taking time. I actually unfollowed a number of people, which might be what we are all experiencing in engagement drops-rather than organically filing posts throughout the day we are stuffed with the same users through the majority of the day, and, like you mentioned, you get tired of them (even if they are good!) so people purposely aren't engaging us to get who they like most at the top. (I kind of wish Instagram had actually surveyed users before changing the algorithm.)

    Love that dress, the ruffles are so cute!


  • Erin Ambrose

    I took the survey! 💜 You are one of my favorite bloggers to follow. Youre so responsive to your followers and as someone whose followed you for such a long time that means a lot to me.

  • Eva

    Completed! I supose can´t be in the give away (I live in Spain!) But you are invited to come here and give it to me personally!!! xD

  • Jessica Moore

    Filled out. Thanks for taking the taking the time to ask our opinions. I would love a live insta on makeup and hair 🙂

  • Shannon McCarthy

    Filled out the survey! I think you are doing a great job with your content and hate the new algorithm. I know you work hard to create quality content- I for one love all of it! Keep it up, girl!

  • Amanda L.

    You are the cutest. I filled out the survy and knowing how much it means I’ll try and be better at liking your posts. I had no idea!

  • Meagan Cleveland

    Filled out the survey 🙂 What a great idea to get our opinions! I’ve been following your blog for two years now and I love all the outfit inspiration you give me (especially when you work with brands I can afford). I really loved the posts you have done on hair and makeup.

  • I couldn’t agree more with the tips you provided above. Thank you for sharing them with your blogging community and followers Mara! Great idea for the survey too.

  • Steph S

    Did your survey!

  • Lindsey

    I took the survey! It’s interesting that you say overall engagement is down. I do find myself liking and commenting a lot less! I’m not sure why.. maybe it has to do with adding another little to our family and way less time! I have noticed that I get a lot of blogger content and less of friends and family which I don’t love 🙁 At any rate – I love your feed!

  • Kate

    Took the survey! I am not a fan of the new Instagram changes. It feels like all I am seeing are sponsored posts and all the candid shots are out the window. The best part of Instagram was that it was smartphone photos that weren’t taken too seriously. Now it just feels like a marketing ploy and I need to push through that to see any content that my friends post. Great topic!!

  • Did the survey, Mara! I’m glad you brought this up. I love your blog and Instagram feed and don’t want to miss a thing!

  • shara929

    Took the survey! I love your blog and Instagram as it is very relatable and real! I enjoy seeing the fashion content as well as the motherhood posts since my daughter is just a month younger than Augustine. 🙂

    • Aw! Congrats on your baby girl! SO glad the content has felt relatable for you! Thanks so much for reaching out!

  • Taylor W

    Done with the survey! I think it’s so awesome that you care this much about your readers and are opening yourself up like this. You have always been one of my favorite bloggers to follow and I think you should keep doing what you’re doing!

    • Thanks so much Taylor! This is so good to hear! Thank you for being real with me!

  • Madeline Casey

    I filled out the survey! I hope it helps. Instagram has changed so much, and I’m sure it’s tough on your business! Hang in there, you’re doing great!

    • Thanks darling! It’s been keeping me on my toes for sure!

  • Oh, I totally filled out this survey, lol! All I can tell you is that you be you, Mara. It’s why I keep coming back and regardless whether you show up on my IG feed or not, I SEARCH you out. That says just how genuine and real you are! xo

    She Sweats Diamonds

    • You are so sweet! Thank you so much for that comment, it means so much! I love being authentic and real with you guys so I’m so thankful you appreciate it and enjoy it! Thanks for being the best! xoxo

  • Kiley Morgan

    Filled it out! I agree, I don’t like the new algorithm. It doesn’t always show me the things I want to see the most.

    • Thanks girl! I hope the algorithm starts helping rather than hurting soon!

  • Elisabeth

    I filled out the survey! Very interesting discussion. I love your outfit-it’s super cute as always.

    • Thanks girl! So glad you found it helpful! Hope the outfit inspires!

  • rchiariello

    I’m pretty sure I’m the only 20-something without Instagram!

  • Holly

    I filled it out! Glad to know that you value our input as readers. Too often bloggers are now just concerned with schilling sponsored products. I’ve been following you for years now and hope to continue!

    • Thanks so much Holly! I love hearing what you guys want to know more about so I’m very grateful for the feedback!

  • Just took the survey! The new Instagram algorithm is super unpleasant, but rest assured – we all still think your content is awesome! As a suuuuuuuper small blogger, I’ve actually been seeing a lot more engagement as far as likes, but the follower count is where I’m having trouble. So bizarre! Thank you for sharing your insights from the workshop 🙂

    • That’s so sweet of you girl! Keep blogging and keep gramming! We’ll find ways to make Instagram work in our favor, hope you start getting more following girl!

  • Lindsay Rubin Chancellor

    Hi Mara,

    Took the survey! Glad I could help….even in a small way! : )


  • Happy to take the survey-plus I love that dress! So cute!

    • Aww thanks so much Emma! I’ve been obsessing over it!

  • Danielle

    Hi Mara!

    I just took the survey, and as a Social Media Manager myself, this new algorithm has been very frustrating – so I am happy to help! Keep up the great work, such a big fan! <3

    • Ah! I’m glad we’re in the same boat girl! Thanks so much for your sweet comment 🙂

  • Liz

    You might as well sign my name to this post because I agree with and have been thinking the same! I hate the new algorithm (I think most people do) and so I hope they change it back at some point. I also filled out your survey (well thought-out questions, by the way) so fingers crossed I get a goodie bag–I love all of your beauty recs so it would really be a treat!

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to read and fill out the Survey Liz! So sweet! I know, the new algorithm has really been annoying, but I’m hoping we can all learn something new in the process! 🙂

  • Deanna

    LOVE the dress! I filled out your survey, keep doing what you’re doing, love following your blog & insta! 🙂

  • Daicia

    Love this dress! I filled out the survey 🙂 I love following all your content and really appreciate the chance for direct user feedback. It’s a great idea!

    • Thanks so much Daicia! So thankful that you feel connected and are getting inspired by the content 🙂

  • Briel79

    Took the survey, hope it helps!

  • Julia Ruiz

    Filled out the survey! Thanks for sharing the tips you found helpful! I agree the new Insta format is frustrating, even just as an individual–hate that I miss my friends’ post and get random stuff in my feed.

    • Thanks so much girl! I know I feel like I’ve been missing so many friends post’s lately! I have to go and find their profiles to see what they are up too! Glad this was helpful for you!

  • Lauren Oliver

    Loved this outfit! That dress is so pretty! I filled out the survey too, and totally understand where you’re coming from. I have a smaller following, and still notice the tremendous difference from the algorithm! I’m just hoping Instagram will finally realize that no one likes it and switch back… fingers crossed!


  • Shantall Melody Franco

    I love this outfit, looks great on you 💙. I filled out the Survey hope it helps 😉

  • Elizabeth

    Just took the survey and want you to know that your Instagram and blog are both full of great content. Thank you for all your hard work! I search directly for you on Instagram because I love your photos and outfits. 🙂

    • Thanks so much Elizabeth! That is so sweet to hear, I’m so glad you have been able to follow along and be inspired!

  • Rachel

    Filled it out! You’re doing great!

  • Lydia Girard-Tremblay

    I have been following your blog and your Instagram for many years now and always loved your sense of style! I do hit “like” when your posts appeal to me in some way, whether it’s the outfit, the overall “feeling” of a picture, or the scenery, but I never comment (never do for anyone). Most of the time I don’t quite understand why it’s relevant to have 200 strangers say that your outfit is cute… I am not a blogger myself (only a reader!) so I’m sure I don’t get it, but I never feel the urge to let my opinion known. Nevertheless​, I took the survey. I hope it helps, although sometimes I wanted to answer “all of the above” (but I know that’s not really helpful)! I also try to visit your blog once in a while, to contribute to your readership. There is very few things you share that I don’t like, so at least what you are doing currently is already good!

    • Thanks so much Lydia! I truly appreciate the input, it’s so good to know that there are so many different reasons why people don’t comment so thank you for sharing your thoughts here! I’m loving all the feedback and I love being able to connect with you all individually here, so thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  • Done! I had a nice long comment but some reason it refreshed and I’m too annoyed to fill it all out again. All I’ll say is I feel you. Stupid algorithm change.

    • Haha I feel you girl! Thanks so much for doing the survey!

  • ashield cabrera

    Just filled out the survey! 🙂 Such an interesting topic and thanks for sharing your takeaways from the workshop. Also, thanks for caring about your readers so much – it means a lot! Xo

    • Thanks so much girl! I’m so thankful for you! I love that there are so many ways to engage with you all!

  • Brittney

    I filled out the survey =) love that you’re so engaged with your audience and that you care enough to ask us what we want to see! Thank you for being you 😘

    • Thanks so much Brittney! I love being able to relate to all you!

  • Eli

    Survey completed. I feel your frustration about IG lately but I guess we have to find ways to evolve with it. 🙂

    • Thanks Eli! Instagram has been driving me crazy! But I’m excited to keep learning!

  • Priyanjana Roy

    I have something of the same sort! A playsuit!

  • Cynthia

    Survey completed! Thanks for the instagram tips too.

  • Carrington Woods

    Did the survey – love your blog!

  • Diana

    Filled out the survey! Keep being you, Mara! I’ve followed you for years and always look forward to your content.

    • Thanks so much girl! So thankful for you and your feedback!

  • Sandra Manley

    Filled out the survey- such good questions, and I love posts like this (I’m a newish blogger, but I want to expand my reach). You’re the best! 🙂

    • Thanks so much girl, so glad you liked the post! Hope you are able to find some tips and tricks for growth!

      • Just emailed you Sandra!! You won the giveaway 🙂

  • Filled out the survey & interested to hear about the feedback!

    • Thanks girl! I can’t wait to hear about the feedback too!

  • Cate

    Filled it out! Your blog is wonderful and so are your pictures! Don’t be discouraged 🙂

  • Annie

    Filled it out! As a fellow South Bay resident I love whenever I can spot a familiar location as a backdrop on your blog!

    • Aw! Thanks girl! Love that we’re in the same neighborhood! 🙂

  • Kayley Nammari

    Completed the survey, and I hope the feedback helps you out tremendously! I love Insta Stories and found that yours are very real and engaging. I tend to watch Stories more than I scroll through my feed because no ads on Stories!

    • Thanks so much Kayley! So glad you like the insta stories, I always try to be authentic for you guys!

  • I filled out the survey. Hope that helps, babe! <3
    Also, I'm just obsessed with your dress, so pretty!


    • Thanks so much Alina! So glad you like the dress, it’s such a fun new addition!

  • Sam Williams

    I filled out the survey- can’t wait to hear what people have to say

  • Missy Sorohan

    Hi, Mara! Great, short, easy survey. Happy to help!

  • Jessica Villanueva

    Hi! Loved the post and survey. I’ve completed it and hope the feedback helps!

    • Thanks girl! So glad you’re liking all the content!

  • i’ve filled it out 🙂 love your content so much already!!

  • Mia Henley

    Loved the takeaway tips and did the survey! Your posts are always lovely.

    • Thanks so much Mia! So thankful that you are enjoying the posts!

  • Van Nguyen

    I took the survey. Love watching you and little A. Love your outfits.

    • Aww thanks so much friend! So glad you’re enjoying it!

  • Yvette A Mitsch

    I took survey. I try to read your posts each day! Love your outfits and your writing style!

    • Thanks Yvette, that is so sweet to hear! So thankful you like it!

  • Took the survey! Love this dress, need it asap!! xoxo

  • Amy Hwang

    Filled out the survey. As an almost mommy I love watching your little boy grow and read through all your mommy blogs. It helps so much to take advice from someone I’ve come to follow and trust (even if it’s not directly 😊)

    • Thanks so much Amy! I’m so glad you enjoy them! I love writing about him and I’m so thankful they are helpful for you! Congratulations 🙂

  • Janna Maland

    Did the survey 😊 Love your blog and instagram! ❤️

  • I took the survey 🙂 I really hope that your metrics improve because I enjoy all of the content you share and hope other people see it and enjoy it as much as I do… best of luck!

  • Beautyalamode

    I took the survey. 😀 Thanks Mara and I wish you the best of luck. Your content is great and I think its awesome that you want our feedback !!!

    • Thanks so much girl! So thankful for all the feedback!

  • Lindsey

    I took the survey and love that you are so interested in evolving with the insta game 🙂

    • Thanks so much Lindsey! I’m constantly trying to figure Instagram out 🙂

  • natalie rumore

    Took your survey! I guess I need to start watching the stories more often (my friends always reference their own stories in conversation, and I have no idea what they’re talking about!).

    • Thanks so much Natalie! And I feel you girl, I need to watch more of my friends stories.

  • hofken


  • Maren Meade

    I filled it out!

  • This dress is so cute! You’ve really pulled this outfit together nicely 🙂

  • Ines

    Keep up the excellent work, I love to follow your social networks! 🙂 I hope you got my email “From Portugal – with love”. Really hope to hear from you someday. 🙂

  • taylorraes12

    Thanks for the informative post! I agree Instagram has gotten bogged down with odd posts as well! I love seeing yours anytime!!

Read previous post:
10 things I learned in my 20s - M Loves M @marmar
10 Things I Learned in my Twenties