I’ve grown pretty fond of the platform, personally. That said, there seems to be a trend happening, or failing… It appears that many small businesses put a good portion of their eggs in one basket: Instagram. Their marketing, advertising, content, attention – all of it towards insta. There’s a few problems with this strategy which I’m gonna lay out, followed by the things I love about Instagram. Because I still love the platform and think there’s a lot of benefits to it. Let’s dig in.
You don’t own the content or the platform.
Instagram has already gone through a few changes the last 5 years. They were bought out by Facebook (thanks Zuch), and they’re constantly changing their algorithm. I see why they change the algorithm and on paper it makes sense. As a small business owner, it’s frustrating. To say the least. I can’t imagine Zuch selling the platform any time soon, but that doesn’t mean it’s out of the question. There’s always the possibility of a lawsuit that would shut down the platform, too.
The algorithm is always changing
I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but engagement is low. Like, really really low. Painfully low. Some days it feels like a gut punch it’s so low. When you’re banking on this one platform to serve your audience and market your business, this sucks even more. This is why it’s valuable to expand your social platforms and build things that YOU are in control of.
As mentioned earlier, I get why they change the algorithm to an extent. It helps users avoid spam. Spam is annoying as shit. Keeping this platform easy to use, ‘authentic’ and about connection holds a lot of value.
The other reason they’re changing the algorithm so much (I believe) is because of friggin bots and people who buy followers. DO NOT BUY FOLLOWERS. It’s a waste of money, it tarnishes your brand, trust, your credibility, and it ruins it for everyone else. I absolutely hate trying to reach my audience in the stories app and all I get are the single emoji responses. Annoying AF.
Pods. They don’t work.
Pods provide short term value. They can certainly help build engagement, but eventually people stop giving likes and comments on their PODmates and they fail. The pods crumble. Not only that, when you create pods – you’re skipping past the most valuable person out there: your ideal customer/client. You’re building engagement around your business, but now because of the pod(s), the algorithm is shifting your posts to fit those in your pods, who may not be people you want to serve/work with.
If I joined a pod of other freelancers, my shit is going to show up on their feed more often. It’s also going to show up on feeds of other freelancers based on interest. Completely bypassing small business owners who could legit use my services. Not cool.
Now that we’ve gone through some of the bad and the ugly, let me share some tips on diversifying your marketing and branding efforts.
Build a newsletter list
Your newsletter list is a great source to build. You’re building loyal customers who are genuinely interested in your your brand, business, products and services. And you! I can’t imagine the internet going anywhere anytime soon, nor email. Also – you own that database of emails.
Use more than one social platform
Focus on your ideal client and where they hang out at. Then invest in those platforms. Personally, especially if you’re a one man/woman show – I wouldn’t invest much more than two. Only because it takes a lot of work, consistency, growing, time and learning what your audience engages with. If you start out with 5 platforms at once – you’re going to burn out and want to watch all the things burn.
Repurpose your content
This helps with stress and content strategy, and it also helps create evergreen content. Evergreen basically means that it’s content that isn’t going to die anytime soon. It’s not trending or has an expiration date with it – it’s useful information that can transcend a good chunk of time.
If you’ve made a YouTube video, upload that to Facebook and IGTV. If you’ve created a blog post – repurpose parts of that content into freebies, social media posts, email campaigns or turn it into a video. This allows you to not only stay consistent with your brand, but it also lets you reach your target market in different ways. Especially if they missed your post from months previously.
This isn’t to shit on the platform, it’s mostly just to share what should be obvious: diversify your marketing to avoid disaster later. It would suck to have all your eggs in one basket only to have the bottom fall out.
I’ll be posting a little more on this and share some tips to help boost your engagement on Instagram. Forewarning – there are no freaking hacks to boost your engagement. I hate that term. There’s no trick to it. It’s going to require work, time and strategy. That’s it. The only other ‘trick’ to boosting your engagement is by using pods or buying followers which is A BIG NO.
Good things come in good time, not overnight. If you see an overnight success, the likeliness that it was a legit overnight success is slim to .00001%. It probably came with lots of hard work, late nights, patience, strategy, sweat and recognizing that cross roads of opportunity and timing.
Keep an eye out for my next post where I’ll share tips to help boost your social media engagement through Instagram, which can also transcend into other platforms, too.
Let me know what you think about this topic, if there’s more you’d like me to dive in on, and drop a comment below!