Why Brands Shouldn't Delete Their Instagram Timeline History

- by Alyson Shane

Picture this: you just spent months working with a branding specialist to develop a shiny new brand identity.

You’re excited about showcasing your new “look and feel” to the world, so you ask your marketing specialist about the best approach to re-introducing your brand to your Instagram audience. They reply:

“Let’s wipe your Instagram Timeline history and start from scratch.”

This might seem like a great idea — after all, the idea of a “clean slate” to showcase your new brand sounds great, right?

Wrong. Deleting your Instagram Timeline content is one of the biggest mistakes you can make on the platform. 

Today we’re going to dig into why deleting your Timeline content hurts your brand, the benefits of keeping your old content, and some strategies to introduce your new look and feel to your followers:

Why Your Instagram Timeline Matters

In the age of ephemeral content, it can be tempting to overlook your Instagram Timeline and the value it can add to your brand identity, but your IG Timeline acts like a visual resume for your brand.

When a new potential follower comes across your content, your Timeline (and the quality of the content there) will ultimately determine if they decide to follow you.

Your Timeline content also amplifies your brand on the platform and helps new followers find you without resorting to paid ads, making it an integral part of any Instagram strategy.

How Deleting Instagram Timeline Content Hurts Your Brand

The idea of a “clean slate” sounds good, which is why a lot of marketers advocate for it, but people who do fundamentally don’t understand how Instagram’s algorithm works or the benefit that your older content has for your performance on the platform, or for your audience.

Let’s dig into why deleting your Timeline content hurts your brand:

You Lose Your Historical ROI

On Instagram, your content and how it performs compounds over time, meaning that the more high-quality content you share that gets Likes, Comments, Shares, etc., the more Instagram’s algorithm views your content as “valuable” and amplifies newer posts you share.

So when you delete your Timeline history, you’re erasing all the work you’ve done to increase your rankings with Instagram’s algorithm and reducing the reach your new posts will have on the platform.

(This is also why poorly-planned Instagram giveaways can kill your growth.)

It Can Damage Your Reputation

People increasingly use Instagram to get to know a company’s brand and values. If a company deletes its entire timeline history, it can appear to be trying to hide something or be ashamed of its past. 

This can lead to a loss of trust and credibility, which can be challenging to recover from.

It Can Confuse and Upset Your Followers

Instagram’s Timeline history serves as your brand’s story. If you delete it, it can be difficult for followers to understand the context of current posts since they have no reference point.

Deleting older content also means that anyone who re-shared a piece of your content can no longer access or reference it, which hurts their interactions with your brand. 

Also, consider all those posts you shared that encouraged followers to “save this post for later” — if they saved it and can’t access it anymore, they may feel betrayed by you and stop following you or engaging with your new posts.

It’s Harder to Build Relationships with New Followers

Deleting your Instagram timeline history can make building relationships with new followers even more difficult. 

Like we said earlier: your Timeline acts as your company history and is how new followers can learn about your brand, what you do, and how you’ve grown over time.

If this history is deleted, followers may not fully understand your brand, making it harder to build relationships and loyalty.

It Can Lead to a Loss of Visibility

Deleting your Instagram timeline history can lead to a serious loss of visibility. Instagram’s algorithm favours timely and relevant posts, so if you delete your timeline history, you’re essentially starting from scratch. 

This can make it difficult to get your posts seen by your audience since the algorithm has to work harder to identify relevant posts.

You Lose Access to Historical Data

One of the biggest reasons to keep your old Instagram Timeline content is that you have analytical data you can look back on to measure and understand success. 

By deleting your Timeline history, you’re literally erasing valuable data that can be used to inform future strategies and increase engagement with your new brand identity. 

Benefits of Keeping Old Timeline Content

Now that we’ve talked about the downside of wiping your Timeline content, let’s cover the benefits of keeping that historical content around:

Old Content Showcases Your Brand’s Evolution 

One of the biggest benefits of keeping your Instagram timeline history is to show off your brand’s evolution over the years. 

Keeping your Instagram timeline intact gives potential customers a visual timeline of your brand’s journey. This can help foster a sense of loyalty and trust since they can easily identify with your brand’s story and journey.

Old Content is Nostalgic

Another benefit of keeping your Instagram timeline history is that it can create a sense of nostalgia for your followers. By keeping your timeline history, you can remind customers of the moments that shaped your brand – from the day you launched to the day you released a new product or offer, and more.

This can help to create an emotional connection with your followers, as they’re likely to remember these moments and feel a sense of nostalgia when they see them on your Timeline.

Old Content “Humanizes” Your Brand

By keeping your timeline history, you can show customers how your brand has grown and changed over time. 

You can also use it to share stories about the people behind your brand and the impacts they’ve had on its journey. This can help to create a deeper connection with your followers and make them feel more connected to your brand.

How to Introduce Your New Branding (Without Deleting Your Content)

Here’s the tea, folks: your followers don’t care about your rebrand as much as you do, so don’t overthink or complicate this process!

When prepping to launch your rebrand, make sure you have the essentials lined up (introductory posts and Reels, new icons for your profile and Stories, etc.) and just roll it out.

If you want to get creative and create a visual “break” between your old and new branding, we suggest lining up three posts to introduce the new look and feel with post captions digging into the new change.

Three posts work well because your Instagram Timeline is organized into rows of three posts, which creates a visual “line break” (for lack of a better term).

This way, you can keep all that valuable historical content while separating it from your shiny new branded content!

Conclusion: Never Delete Your Instagram Timeline Content

Brands should never delete their Instagram timeline history. Doing so results in a loss of long-tail ROI, damages their standing with the algorithm, and hurts their reputation with existing customers. 

Keeping a timeline of posts and stories helps brands to create a larger impact, build relationships, and increase their reach. 

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