If you’d rather go grocery shopping hungry at 5:00 pm on a Friday before a huge snowstorm than spend even one more ounce of energy on Instagram, this one’s for you!
The most frequent complaint I hear from my clients about Instagram is that it feels fake, performative, or that “they aren’t into that kind of marketing.” They get weirded out about using the app for anything except posting about their business because sharing their personal life and/or going out and randomly commenting on a bunch of stranger’s photos doesn’t feel genuine.
If that’s you, let me start by saying: I hear you! Twice in my Instagram life have I removed 3k+ followers because it started to feel like I was yelling into the void– they were mostly “self-made 7-figure entrepreneurs,” cringey clothing boutiques in California, and bots. (Did you know you could do that, by the way? Remove bullshit followers? It’s a game-changer!)
And I’ll admit it does feel weird to open up to a bunch of strangers, but let’s be real… if your followers feel like strangers, whose fault is that??
Instagram is just like anything else in life – if you want to make progress, it requires a certain amount of ownership and intention. So your followers feel like strangers – but are you inviting them to be part of your community, or just posting and logging off? Are you engaging with their content, or do you just expect them to engage with yours? Are you watching their Stories and having conversations? Are you sending voice memos? Are you treating them like actual human beings?
Everyone uses Instagram differently, and the trick is to find the way that works for you. My own success with Instagram has been using it as a community-building tool instead of simply a marketing tool. I’m not just gaining followers; I’m building trust. I’m not just selling my services; I’m helping solve problems. I’m not just shouting into the void; I’m starting conversations. And as a result, I’m not just marketing – I’m fostering a community. Can ya dig it?
If you’re ready to give Instagram another shot, here are a few ideas for you to start focusing more on community and less on marketing:
1. When someone new hits that “follow” button, go engage with their content! Comment on their 3 most recent posts, reply to their Stories, you can even send them a DM welcoming them into your space. It doesn’t have to be contrived or salesy – remember, we’re all humans ” />
2. IG Stories are a great place to start small, easy conversations. When you post a Story, instead of just sharing your photo/video/opinion/news/etc… make it a two-way street by adding a poll or question box to involve your followers! You’ll be shocked how much more engagement you get when you put in that extra little effort.
3. Spend 10-30 minutes a day engaging with other accounts on Instagram. You probably spend 10 minutes a day mindlessly scrolling by accident anyway, so all you’ve got to do is start a timer and add some intention! 10 minutes scrolling your feed and leaving genuine comments. 10 minutes watching and replying to Stories. 10 minutes leaving comments on recent posts from hashtags. It’s okay if you don’t do this every day – but can you put it in your planner 3x a week to start or outsource to a VA?
Instagram can be an incredibly powerful tool when you’re willing to show up as the real you and put in consistent effort. And if Instagram isn’t your jam, or that’s not where your clients are? Find what works for you and put your energy there instead. Remember – business can be fun when your brand gives you the freedom to make it fun!