As you may have guessed by the title of this blog post, I am going to be talking about Instagram.
First disclaimer of the blog post: I am not a social media manager or an expert on instagram, let's say I am just an experienced user, and let's be honest, a tired one.
Instagram has been a headache for all business owners who are trying to market themselves online in the last past few months. Obviously, I am included.
I have done my research, I have read many blog posts written by experienced social media managers, I watched youtube videos, and I tried to come up with the main issue of "how to make Instagram work again". I did my work. And I came to a conclusion that I will share in the next lines.
This blog post is a mix of my current approach to Instagram for this new year and also ideas, tips or the way I make this tool work for me.
My story with Instagram
Instagram is an amazing marketing and social tool, and it is free.
Thanks to it, I can market my business internationally and connect with everyone who is on it. It has helped expand my business and I made beautiful connections and friendships thanks to it!
For me, it was fun at the beginning. I loved sharing pictures and sharing my story.
Then I started doing reels in 2020, during lockdown. Of course, I had plenty of time. I enjoyed it, and I got very excited when one of my videos reached 1000 views! I felt somehow my videos were liked, and that felt very nice. We shouldn't get obsessed with numbers, but hey, it boosted my self esteem :)
But you know what happened? Now my videos get 200 views. I put in the same effort or even more. I think about what to create, to come up with an story, I spend hours editing them and... I still get very little views.
I thought for a while: maybe less is more, less effort! It worked for a bit, my more popular ones were reels where I just shared a landscape view or a flower moving.
And then I realised that I was getting obsessed with it, checking likes and how popular I was. I kept thinking "If only I had more followers...".
I was creating content with Instagram in my mind first. It was all for this app, and how wrong I was.
Focusing first on this app is like starting a house by the roof.
So when I got fed up with everything, I took a break and decided to change my strategy.
The current deal
There is something I keep hearing and reading from different accounts.
"Oh, Instagram hates me and doesn't want to share my stuff..." It makes me want to scream this out loud: "Instagram doesn't hate you!"
Instagram is a tool, it has no capacity whatsoever to feel anything for you or no one else. We just need to learn how to use it in our favour.
Instagram is great for brand awareness. It is great to connect. But people go to websites to buy. They may meet you on Instagram, then go to your website to see your products and verify they want to buy from you.
There are 2 concepts that I keep repeating to myself:
Followers don't equal more sales.
Building a profitable business takes time.
The way this app used to work has changed. Trying to make it work as we previously did won't work anymore. But jumping at any trend as reels, challenges, etc... can be fun, or can be exhausting.
Also, one of the things I noticed as well is that most of all the reels I see are pretty much the same. So it may be that the app is trying to push a certain type of content. I also read they are trying to push the older generations (✌🏻) towards Facebook.
I will be honest: I don't have the secret formula, I don't know how it works. But you know who is as lost as we are at the moment? Yes, Instagram. They are doing changes ALL the time, which means they aren't clear on which direction they are taking. So it is normal that we are a bit all over the place jumping through all these changes!
So I came to this conclusion: Instagram is a tool that I use. It exists to help me, so if it isn't useful anymore, I won't use it. That simple. I won't keep using a hairdryer if doesn't dry my hair, right? I will get a new one.
Am I telling you to quit Instagram? Noup, unless you want to. Have a break, and do what you feel is best for you. What I am suggesting and what I did for my own sake, is detaching myself from it.
I decided: I will share X, Y Z on instagram. I will share what my audience wants the way I want.
So I still serve my clients: I talk about photography, about being an entrepreneur, I ask questions, I share pretty pictures, I try to inspire... but I won't be doing 2 reels a day. I may do one, if I feel like it.
I will share valuable content, pictures, maybe a little behind the scenes video, but you won't see me jumping or dancing or pointing, because is not my style. Nothing against it, it is just not me.
And we should express and show up on the app the way we are, that is what makes us unique.
Practical advice on IG
I don't want to finish this post without giving some ideas or knowledge regarding my use of this app. Hopefully, this will work for you too!
- Be social: I noticed that IG shows me the people I interact with the most on social media.
When you start following someone, you see their posts. When you message them, instagram shows them your account to them. The more you interact with someone, the more you will see of them.
So I started sending a message to everyone who starts following me: I say " Hi, thank you for following :), and if they have any questions about photography, I am there to talk". I start a conversation, I use the social of social media! And it is more likely that my account appears a bit more on their feeds.
- Ask away: I engage with my audience asking questions on my stories, in polls. That works very well. I also asked my audience to share my post with people who may need my services.
Don't be afraid to ask, if you don't ask you don't get! And you may be helping someone with your services, not annoying anyone :)
- Repeat your content: Specially now that the app is not showing all the time your content unless are reels or video format, people may not see your stuff, so you should talk about it more than once!
Re-share your posts, your reels, everything. Don't be afraid to be repetitive and don't assume everyone has seen your stuff, you would be surprise how many people don't book your services because they didn't see your post!
- Be constant: this is one of the best things you can do on social media: show up in a consistent way. I am not saying post every day, I am saying post regularly. So people keep you in their mind for when they will need your services. This has really helped my business. It can be as easy as re-share a post you already did on stories.
Well, I really hope this post was useful, it has been a long one I have been willing to share for a while.
I wish you luck with your entrepreneur journey, with your battles with instagram and if you want to connect and say hello, you can find me here: @lauraribatallada