• From InstaGRAM to InstaLAME

    Epic fail Instagram. Epic fail.

    As a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, side-hustling creative entrepreneur newbie, Instagram was like the holy grail of marketing for my still-blossoming (ahem, very) small business. You could say it was the gateway to that promised-land of entrepreneurial success, the visual motherland of shameless biz promotion, I mean with this social media tool tucked in your entrepreneurial tool-belt of life, the likes the limit people, the likes the limit!!! (See what I did there?) Anyways, you get the picture. Instagram was pretty awesome for us small business owners looking to get noticed. Key word here: WAS.

    I can’t help but feel totally and completely cheated out of something really great.  Something I was so excited to utilize in helping grow my creative clan, my customer base, my business.

    Ah, alas, all good things must come to an end, or so the saying goes. More like, in the end, all good things get monetized. I mean I get, I really do. I know Facebook, owner of Instagram, desperately needs that revenue. *insert eye-rolling emoji here* (You can learn more about Insta’s need for monetization here.)

    So what’s the deal with this Instagram change? According to Kevin Systrom, the co-founder and CEO of Instagram, “On average, people miss about 70% of the posts in their Instagram feed.” So Insta’s new algorithm promises to take that 30% of our feeds that we actually do see and make sure it’s the cream of the crop—in other words, the pictures we are most likely to “like” and engage with. Doesn’t seem half bad, right? Wrong! Insta’s previous chronologically based feed will now become a “what’s most popular feed”, so what’s already super popular will, surprise, become even more popular! In turn, leaving us lowly small business peeps straggling in feed-dust, yearning for those promised likes and followers from days long past. Sigh.

    But fear not small-biz friends, it’s not all doom and gloom just yet! Thanks to the awesomeness of other posts, insta-rants, and personal online research, I’ve got a couple of tricks up my sleeve to counteract Instagram’s need to keep the little (wo)man down!

    1 // Turn on Notifications
    You know that little down-arrow on the top right-hand-side of the post? Yeah, that one! Click it and you’ll see an option to “Turn On Post Notifications”. It’s as simple as that! What does this mean? This means your followers will be notified whenever you post something new to your feed. Why is this cool? Because now they won’t miss a single cute pic from you, even if it’s not your most popular post! So Creatives, you know what that means! Beg, I mean…tell your followers to turn on those notifications!

    2 // Turn to a different social media method
    Instagram was the poster child of marketing prowess, a hub of success and promise for us makers, bloggers, creatives, designers, etc. Sadly, it appears this ship may have sailed. Luckily, there are some other marketing pathways worth meandering down! If you want all of your content to be seen and appreciated, you could try turning back to Insta’s predecessor, Facebook. Say whaaaaa?! Turn back to the monster who’s responsible for the demise of the best thing since social-media-sliced-bread? I know, it’s crazy making! But hear me out… the feature for Closed Groups on Facebook is a way for your fans to follow your business progress! With no fancy algorithms to worry about you can rest assured that your members will never miss a post about a new product, sale, or just how awesome you and your business are! The drawback: you won’t be able to organically gain “followers” using this method. Meaning, you’ll have to “invite” new members to be a part of your awesome business group. Upside? It’s like VIP access for your most loyal clients and customers. I'm currently in some of my favorite small business FB groups and I LOVE them even more for it.

    3 // Jump on that newsletter and e-mail marketing bandwagon!
    I’m also a newbie in this department, but man oh man is it an essential! This allows you to engage with your customers in a personal and direct, straight-to-their-inbox without buying them a drink first, kind of way. With email marketing tools like (my personal favorite) MailChimp, sending amazing updates, check-ins and personalized content straight to your customer’s inbox has never been easier! The personalization factor is key here. You can sub-categorize your email list into “segments”, giving you the ability to craft content based on your customers' buying habits, shop engagement, loyalty, the list goes on. This is an awesome way to connect with your people and tell them about the awesome business-happenings they may have missed on Instagram. It’s also a great platform for more elaborate content sharing that would just be over-kill as an Insta-comment.

    So, woo-hoo for small victories! While these suggestions may not be the best, they’re sure to help you through these hard times of Insta-suck. I'm already implementing  MailChimp, but I plan on creating a FB Group to foster some VIP action for those awesome people of mine. By using one, two, or all of these ideas in conjunction with Instagram it’ll be hard for your followers to miss a thing! Huh? Still use Instagram you say? Heck yes! What can I say? I’m a sucker for pretty flowers and cute dogs pics. Instagram may have lost it’s marketing edge for us newbie creatives and small-business owners, but it’s still an awesome way to connect, share your story and grow a following. And who knows, maybe this whole algorithm thing won’t be the end of (marketing) days after all.  Yeah…we’ll see. *fingers crossed*

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