Instagram posts are dead. Well, at least to most of my audience.
Besides having a little business selling my art and writing, I am also a regular user of Instagram. I post about vacations, meals, and escapades with friends - I'm an average user of the social channel.
Lately, Instagram posts seem a little... well... dated. I don't browse posts as much as I used to because I feel more connected and updated with friends when I see them on IG stories.
I let go of hashtags and getting visibility for my posts a long time ago. "Receiving likes" on social accounts does not really guarantee engagement or reveal people's genuine support for the work that you do. That's obvious, right?
I treat IG stories as a place where friends can join me for a few seconds in life. No, they don't see me write or draw. Instead, I let them experience what inspires me without having to be too obvious so when they come across something I create, not only do they recognize my hand in it, but also feel like they were there when I conceived it.
So, as a maker - how do you treat social media channels nowadays?
There are so many blogs out there that will give you advice on how to increase numbers. Try not to get wired in to it because the only engagement that matters is the one that happens in real life. You know, the kind of engagement where they want to come see you (like a show or gallery opening) so you can say thank you to them in person. The kind when they tell their friends about you via text or over coffee. The kind when they use your product or art and it makes them smile.
To my maker sisters and brothers, I hope this little insight from me and my millennial IG pals who answered the poll will help you in your latest IG strategy.
Wow! I am thoroughly surprised by the contributions. Thank you, everyone!
@Tiffany – Hi! I’ve never heard of Proof to Product podcast. Thank you for sharing! I do agree that curating what you share behind the scenes is key. For me, I only share what is thematic to Kwento and its future releases. And you’re right, privacy is so important so we all have to be smart and extra careful about what we share.
@Penina – I’ve never heard of ello.co and MeWe! I just checked it out and now have some homework to do. I wonder if posting exclusively on stories proves to be more engaging? I still scroll on posts to see what friend’s are sharing but it seems like most of them are in stories too!
@Samantha – Ahhh, yes. Scrolling through posts can bring an unexpected pause and smile to a day. Lately, I’ve been treating stories as a place to share images I would usually treat as a post. I’m being experimental and having fun because I’m not limited to just one post.
@Zeila – Hi Zeila! I’ve had your truffles and they are delicious! Same here, I treat the social channel to get updated by friends. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your desserts on your page!
@Brian – Hi Brian! Connecting dots alright :) Yes, it’s very obvious that I don’t push for sales on instagram so I’m glad you noticed. It hasn’t been a top priority for me to make a high earning point of sale online… at least not yet! What I care most about is making genuine connections and friendships over sales so I treat IG as a place where I can do that. I’ve heard of the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center and know of local artists who really blossomed with their mentorship. Thank you for sharing about their zoom sessions! I didn’t know about that and now we can know all about it :)
@Michelle – Nice to see you here, Michelle! Smart strategy you have – not to follow other local florists in the area because you are right… it won’t retain clients. I think it’s a little too late for me to do that because I made a lot of artist friends who I follow the work of. Because everyone’s work is different from each other in medium and aesthetic, it’s easier to follow and support each other rather than be competitive. I can totally see how your industry is different though! Thank you for reading and commenting!
These poll results are so interesting! I wouldn’t have expected this. Being a small business owner, I do look into IG tips and ways to increase engagement. I’ve heard showing your face more on posts and sharing on stories/going live result in better engagement. At the end of the day people are going to like and engage more with what interests them, and that’s different for everyone. Although, I do believe that there are some things going on with the algorithm that are affecting post visibility, and could be improved.
Personally, I’ve found it very helpful to follow along with friends that are in your own trade. For ex, I’m a wedding florist and a big portion of my followers are in the industry: photographers, videographers, planners, bakers, etc. As a rule of thumb I try to not follow other florists in my area. I believe that community over competition is a phrase that’s over used. If potential clients/customers can find or be directed to other wedding florists in your area through your IG, I just don’t think that’s good business. You can still be kind and respect others in your community, without giving them “shout outs” or befriending them on your business account. Curious to what your thoughts are on this as an illustrator/artist?
I can say that I’ve had several people reach out for wedding flowers who have found me on IG, and end up booking with me, so I’m thankful for the free platform and marketing. I’m sure things may be a bit different as an illustrator/artist, but I’m guessing there’s some similarities!
Anyway really interesting post. Thanks for the read!
I just listened to Proof to Product podcast and ANOTHER guest explained how important stories was, and how followers love seeing the behind the scenes. I’m not the biggest fan of sharing behind the scenes, mainly because it’s not pretty (read: a giant mess), and as a small business just starting out I feel like I have to just show the curated side, especially if I want more wholesale accounts. Ugh!
I think it is a matter of perspective. I took a look at your instagram page and your shop tab.
Your IG is more of a profile than a place to shop. It is more about ideas and getting likes for just that and not directing people for sales.
Your shop is a little more distinct in that people know that it is a place to shop. It is not a matter of drawing inspiration, but rather, a place where you expect to buy something.
For the most part, I would not focus on social media to make a point of sales. You would need the knowledge to attract people or spend a good amount of money on people who know how to do that (ie influencers). Quite frankly, the metric of likes on social media does not mean anything. Rather, the better metric is how many comments or DMs are engaging and not trolling or other. I would suggest looking into Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center. They have facilities in Richmond, SF, and Palo Alto where they help with workshops, mentorships, and a network of small business owners including a focus on women. There was a Zoom meeting, due to the shelter in place, that took place not too long ago about using social media. It was somewhat helpful in understanding the basics. In most of our cases, sales from social media is not a priority. It may be helpful to get a couple of leads, but I personally do not use social media for sales. I do not have the capital to operate with a social media brand manager. Hope that helps. Stay safe and healthy everyone!
Open to collaboration as well during these times. I like to connect the dots and get makers to bring ideas in a supportive, community environment. Not sure how, but the entrepreneur in me sees hope even though I prepare for the worst case scenario.
I am very simple. If I make something that I am proud of like a cake or a beautiful box of my brigadeiros I post. I don’t do it often but I always look for news from friends and posts mostly of deserts to get inspired.
I think i’m an exception, I always have and always will prefer posts – I’m more of a fan of going through old photos (print and digital), and although I like the novelty of stories and appreciate their value, especially for content creators, as a browsing user, I still love a cute post with a striking composition, which I feel can be lost in a story.
I see a lot more visits from a wider variety of people on my stories, and some people I follow seem to post almost exclusively to their stories… but because I follow a lot of artists so I can feed off their inspiration :-) I do scroll: a test sample of one! But I am very interested to experiment with posting more to stories on my art feed. Are you on other, less “corporate” platforms, like ello.co or weme?
I have to agree from the user side—I don’t really scroll as much anymore and I mostly watch stories. From the content side, I’m posting lots of stories on my personal page to stay connected but not doing the same from my business page. I feel like I have to get over that in order to increase engagement for my business but I’m also very protective over my privacy on a public account…something’s gotta give. And you’re right, stories is where it’s at.