In October 2021 I took a break from Instagram. I had just launched my business boundaries that feel good guide, and felt tired. I was tired of feeling like I needed to be ‘on’ all the time. I also really disliked how scrolling Instagram made me feel. I enjoyed catching up with friends, but those pleasures didn’t weigh up against the sense of restlessness I got from the scroll. What I had intended as a break of a few weeks, turned into an indefinite break—and my decision to leave Instagram completely. In this blogpost I share what happened to my business when I left social media, and include strategies for you to try out yourself.
my experiences with social media
If you’ve been reading my blog or my newsletter, you’ll probably know that my relationship with Instagram has been … complicated. There have been times when I genuinely loved being on social media. I currently have friends and a network of lovely people that I probably would not have met without Instagram.
But from the beginning, I struggled with a lack of control when it came to social media. I really enjoy experimenting in my business, but the kinds of results I see from experiments when I write blogs or newsletter, when I pin things on Instagram or when I pitch to a podcast, I just didn’t see on social media. I couldn’t put my finger on why certain posts did well, and others didn’t.
What’s more, I got increasingly annoyed at playing a kind of game where I would try to create content that was useful, but that would also direct people to my website, to my blog, to my newsletter sign-up—while knowing that Instagram is not meant to provide this kind of click-through. I’ve never much suffered from comparison on Instagram, and am generally very good at curating the kind of information I let into my life. But I am also not immune to the scroll, and it frankly make me feel icky.
From the beginning, I struggled with a lack of control when it came to social media.
I’ve tried a bunch of things over the past years to change the role that Instagram plays in my business. This is also a topic that I’ve worked on a lot, and that I often talk to small business owners about.
But now, the time was right for a complete break. I didn’t delete or even archive my profile. My posts are still up there, including one I posted sometime in the early Spring to direct people elsewhere (to my website and Pinterest). I’m honestly not sure whether I want to whether I’ll delete my account or archive my posts in the future. Right now, it’s not an issue for me.
discover more resources on changing the role of social media in your business (including leaving it altogether)
what happened to my business when I left social media
And the big question, of course: did my business crash completely after I left left Instagram? Did I stop getting sign-ups to my newsletter?
The answer is no. Nothing happened, in fact.
I need to make two disclaimers here.
My sales have nearly always come from having other people share about me: for instance about my social media guide. Nearly all the new sign-ups to my newsletter and consequent sales came through the IG post I asked others to share.
I know small business owners who really make sales through Instagram, for instance by having set up the ‘shop’ function, and selling products. That has never been the case for me.
The other disclaimer is that I didn’t just walk out on Instagram and not market my business elsewhere. Even before I quit Instagram completely, in the months that I was merely scaling back, I had doubled down on my newsletter and had really gotten into a rhythm with Pinterest.
You don’t have to be on all marketing channels. Find the ones that feel good for you, and make them work harder. I’ve written extensively about my own marketing strategy: this post is a good place to start if you’re curious.
Of course, sales aren’t everything. Yes, I want to make money with my business, but I also want to feel good and fulfilled in my business. Taking Instagram out has made me feel so much more spacious, more quiet and more grounded in my business. It makes me feel much more purposeful and aligned. For the first time since I started my business I can honestly say now that I feel good about all the marketing I do in my business.
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I hope this blog post on what happened when I left social media gave you some ideas for changing the role of social media in your business.
Do let me know what you get out of this post. Send me a message, I’d love to chat.
And, if you want to create that slow, gentle and profitable business that truly nourishes you, discover how we can work together here.