Many of us have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. It's sometimes hard to drag yourself away from your timeline, even if it feels like it's full of bad vibes. Endless drama, cancel culture, not knowing who to support in the latest battle.... it can all feel a bit too much. But if you're a small business, Instagram is likely an important part of your marketing strategy. Here's how you can maintain some balance in your life:
1. Spread the love
If you feel like Instagram has become non-stop selling, personal promotion and bad vibes, there's something you can do to counter that: spread the love. Go and write a supportive comment on 5 people's posts. Shout out your favourite brands using the Small Business sticker. DM people you love following - and tell them!
2. Use Instagram your way
At the end of the day, it's your Instagram, and you can use it however feels right to you. If you hate the idea of dancing alone in your living room making a Reel, then skip it! If you don't want to talk to camera, you don't have to. There's no magic secret for being successful on Instagram. One thing's for sure: consistency really helps, and if you're creating content you hate, you're unlikely to keep it up. Ditch what doesn't feel good to you.
3. Diversify your social media
If Instagram were to shut down tomorrow, would you still have a business? Consider joining Facebook groups, set up Pinterest to direct traffic to your site, and connect with industry leaders on LinkedIn. Also spend some time building up your email list so that if you want to avoid Instagram, you've got direct contact with your audience.
4. Curate your timeline
The block button was invented for a reason. You have every right to block and unfollow anyone who makes you feel less than great on Instagram, so go through the list of people you follow and cull accordingly. If you don't want to block, you can also mute and restrict people, so their posts and stories won't show up for you. People you've muted won't know you've done it, so you don't have to worry about awkward conversations.
5. Do a digital detox
If you feel like your mental health is really suffering from spending too much time on Instagram, it's time for a break. Start with a week off Instagram, or trial screen-free weekends. Often, a hard reset is enough to make you feel good about logging in again. If not, consider an extended break. During weeks where you have to be online for work, set a 20 minute timer when you start using Instagram so you don't fall down a hole watching Reels for 3 hours.