Instagram changing our feeds: a post about being a small business owner

 

EngageWithInstagramI’m in a funny place with all of this Instagram change. I’ve seen a ton of businesses that I follow post today about turning on post notifications in order to ensure that they see their feed. I just don’t think this is the right idea. I know its going to be tough for me and many other small businesses to feel like we’re reaching people. But I also think its also possible that this will improve the interactions we have with the people who like what we’re posting.

When I first started to use Instagram, it was just a place to share pictures with my friends and family. I had no real interest in following big businesses. I don’t think I even cared if they were on there or not. If I did follow a store, or a person who was posting about stuff they were selling, it was someone or some place that I actually connected with personally. I’m picky about how I’m advertised to, and I really liked that Instagram was basically ad-free. Tumblr’s annoying ads are probably the biggest reason I don’t use it much anymore.

This past August, I started taking my personal business a little more seriously, which meant more advertising. I changed things up with my Instagram account, making a shift from posting my messy house, my family, weird things… Gradually, my posts became just about my work. I started taking prettier and more editorial pictures, (which I’m still working on every time I post) I started really using hashtags, I even did a few giveaways, and a number of other things to grow my business through my Instagram account. Some people who had been following me for a while, unfollowed me. At first this bothered me. But now I realize, they’re picky about how they’re advertised to as well and they didn’t want what I was selling. That’s okay, because in using my Instagram account to promote my business, I’ve learned how to connect with people who do want what I’m selling. In fact,  I can directly tie  Instagram to most of my recent sales in my Etsy shop, all of my wholesale retail accounts, and a few design jobs.  That’s big! All because I started using it like a business.

But, as I started doing this, know what I noticed? A LOT of people selling their personal brand of Instagram strategy. All over the place. Also, I found out that there were a lot of small businesses who had started  little side hustles selling postings and write-ups in their feeds. (I don’t actually think these are a great way to grow your business, but that’s another post) I think Instagram noticed too. And like any business, they wanted their cut.

That’s life, it was inevitable.  Its not the end of the world.

Do you know what it means to me? Probably, I need to change my marketing strategy. That’s it. They’ve changed, I need to observe what the effect is and then maybe change what I do in response. Know what I’m not going to do though? I’m not going to ask my fans to turn on notifications. Can you imagine how annoying that would be? Notifications are for things that are important, not something that is casual and fun like Instagram.

I’m pretty sure everything is going to be okay, its just going to take some tinkering with what I do. The people who engage with what I post – the likers, the commenters – they’ll see my stuff. People who don’t regularly engage won’t see it as often. Maybe that’s better.  Maybe I’m reaching the people who want to see what I’m doing more often, and bugging the people who don’t want to see my posts all the time less.

I will say this though – As an Instagram user, I hate seeing sponsored posts. They throw me off, they are rarely about anything I’m interested in, and  I hide every single one of them. I mark them all as irrelevant, because I cannot stand them in my feed. But that’s just me, I’m picky. What do you think?

 

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