2 ways Instagram is ruining your business


One day I looked at my Instagram and saw a celebrity blogger that I have followed for years on her blog, but not on Instagram, started following me! I thought to myself: “I must have really made it, huh?” But then I checked myself a little. Ah, she probably just randomly clicked on my blog in an e-mail I sent her, praising her latest post. But still, she wouldn’t follow me if she didn’t like my work, right?

A few days later she started heavily promoting her online course. Ok, so that was the real purpose of her following me. I get that. It’s legit.

But then I began following some Instagram guidelines that I found on a very popular blog. I followed my idols’ followers, uploaded photos on a daily basis, tagged every photo as if it was my job, and soon I followed so many people that I didn’t even want to scroll through my Instagram feed any more.

Instagramming felt like shit.

So I decided to follow another one of those holy Instagram guideliness: unfollowing people. I just unfollowed people who didn’t follow me back. And I started seeing that some people that followed me first, didn’t follow me anymore.

One of them was a girl I actually thought was my potential friend, and the other was this esteemed blogger I just told you about. She probably even has someone hired to manage her Instagram account, by the way, but it doesn’t really matter. I completely lost my respect for her. She’s a phony to me. No, not just because my pride is hurt, but because now I know she doesn’t practice what she preaches (like not caring about your vanity metrics and genuinely caring about people).

It felt like shit.

Not just personally (speaking to all my self-doubt demons that all creative people have), but also on a broader scale: what kind of world is this where just the numbers count? Do I want to be a part of this? Maybe I’ll just start selling bread on farmers market instead.

And aren’t these guidelines actually bad, not just for people, but for businesses? I see at least two ways in which they are hurting your business.

1. Fake Instagram Followers

If you’re following people just so that they follow you back, they’re not worth much. I mean, they don’t really want your stuff, you’re just someone they followed back because they’re polite so you won’t sell them whatever it is you’re trying to sell.

There’s just so much stuff and so many experts out there that people are becoming immune to advertising of all sorts. They will only buy your stuff if they trust you. Random people don’t have a reason to trust you. Following random people does not build trust.

2. You Lose Your Real Audience

Like the blogger I mentioned above, you’ll lose some real followers if you unfollow people so that your feed is cleaner, or worse - so that you look like a celebrity (lots of followers, following just a few). You don’t really know who is who in your army of followers, now do you?

So maybe you just unfollowed someone who’s been thinking about buying your most expensive product (the price of what she earns in a month) for months and has actually been sharing your content to everyone. You know, she might have just read the same guidelines as you for growing your Instagram and now she knows what you did. Ooops! Bye bye, real followers - bye bye customers (and in my/her case, also advocates and promoters!).

So, what do you think about this? How do you use Instagram?

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