Raise your hand if you’ve been caught playing the comparison game on Instagram? I think it’s safe to say that every single one of us has. This can be especially prevalent for those of us that are business owners and lifestyle creatives… outwardly, there’s always someone who is doing it better, hitting higher goals, landing more clients, etc. Now, raise your hand if you’ve wanted to take a break from Instagram (or even quit it for good) for that exact reason? In the midst of stacking up yourself, your skills and your business or brand to those that seemingly have it all figured out (psst… no one does!), breaking up with Instagram can seem like a good idea. Maybe for some, it is. But with some simple changes in outlook, approach and daily habits, you can cultivate a platform that works for you, not against you.
1. Create Before Consume
If you listen to The Influencer Podcast with Julie Solomon (one of my favorites), you may have heard her talk about this. It’s one tip that has really resonated with me lately and has drastically changed my productivity levels: create before consume. It’s not uncommon for the average person to pick up their phone and check Instagram immediately upon waking up each day. Sound familiar? Guilty as charged. I myself have had one too many mornings where a half hour goes by and I’m still on the scroll. The solution? Albeit challenging, instead of waking up each day and instantly consuming content, aim to create first. Set boundaries for yourself, for example: no Instagram for one hour after waking up, no scrolling until you’ve answered a set amount of emails, until you’ve started a new piece of content for your blog, or until you’ve done something that truly inspires you in the raw. Healthy inspiration doesn’t come from over-consumption, but rather, opening ourselves up to what drives us at the core. At the very essence, creation is propelled by everything that makes us tick. So, take a good hard look at your creation goals and make them the number one priority before you consume content from others.
2. Be a Good Listener
In many cases, the focus on exterior appearance blinds us from truly engaging with our audience on Instagram. But if you expect (or keep hoping) that your audience will grow by surrounding you on your soap box, you most likely won’t see the needle move.No one likes to have a one-sided conversation. Do you even know or understand why your current audience does show up for you? What do they gain from interacting with you? What do they want more of? I guarantee that once you start truly listening to your current audience, you’ll serve them better and in turn, engagement and growth follows. This process doesn’t need to be complicated either… it can be as simple as creating useful polls, utilizing the questions feature in Stories, DMing some of your currently engaged followers who comment and like your posts on the regular. Also, make sure that if you are a business owner you are taking advantage of a ‘business account’ with IG so you can see your audience insights. This is a great behind the scenes way to “listen” to what is resonating well with your community.
3. Cultivate a Community, Not a Following
Would you rather walk alone and have your friends trail behind, “following” you? Doesn’t it sound more fun to walk alongside them in your journey together and share in a meaningful conversation? When we place focus on how many followers and likes we have, we’re denying the beautiful space that Instagram can be, if we let it. This goes hand in hand with being a good listener. If you’ve struggled with a follower/like focus, it’s time to start viewing your audience as a community, not a following. They are showing up for you every day, so show up for them—serve them. You’d be surprised at how a simple mindset can change your social trajectory.