the experience

I accidentally ghosted Instagram; navigating running a small business away from social media

Back in 2014-ish, Instagram was the place to be. It was like the coolest party in town where everyone—designers, creators, clients—were mingling and sharing their creativity. Naturally, I jumped in too. This girl loved any excuse to create a flat lay for the grid.

Instagram was exciting, it was inspiring and then all of a sudden, it was exhausting. For me at least.

My goals initially were simple: connect with new clients, amp up my brand visibility and be that designer everyone wants to work with. But over time, Instagram started feeling like a demanding friend who wanted me to spill my personal life just to stay relevant. I mean, #authenticity is great, but do I really need to share what I’m having for lunch or half of my personal life to design an amazing website? Nope. Do I really need to show my face everyday and be ‘visible’ to convince you I’m going to transform your business? I would really rather my skills, portfolio and lovely testimonials do that for me.

The more I was told to be visible, to share share and overshare, to create content constantly just to stay in the algorithm’s good graces, the more I felt like I was losing sight of what truly mattered: crafting meaningful designs and fostering genuine connections with my clients. I held my hands up and admitted I could never be that person who effortlessly shares their day to day on socials, it just wasn’t me. The older I get, the less inclined I feel to share anything about my personal life on socials too; theres something special and sacred about keeping life moments to myself or those who I shared them with.

So, in the midst of the “be visible” era on Instagram, I took a step back, albeit unintentionally. I focused on delivering exceptional work, nurturing my existing client relationships, and finding other avenues to showcase my creativity. It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to share, I have two years of launches politely waiting their turn on the grid. It also wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say, this regularly updated blog proves I’ve got a lot I want to talk about, I just wasn’t feeling Instagram, even on my personal feed.

Fast forward to recently when a Designer I used to speak to regularly DM’d me like, “Hey, you okay? You’ve been quiet.” That’s when it hit me—I’d accidentally gone MIA on Instagram.

And you know what? I realised my business isn’t just surviving; it’s thriving beyond Instagram. I felt more focused, less stressed and my creative juices were flowing better than ever.

SEO, Pinterest and keeping my website fresh have become my secret weapons. I say secret, all small businesses know we should be putting our eggs in more than one basket (feed). Most clients find me through good ol’ Google or rave reviews from happy clients.

Whilst I don’t think it’s “luck” I’m consistently booked up and disappearing on Instagram didn’t damage my business, I work hard every single day, I do understand that disappearing off the face of Instagram wouldn’t work for every business. However, the more I chat to my clients, the more I know a lot of other small businesses are blooming without posting to Instagram all-day-erry-day.

But Becky, just hire a social media Pro?

If you’re wondering, “Why not just hire a social media pro to automate and manage everything?” It’s a fair question. I have nothing against hiring for my business, nor social media assistants, I’ve used them in the past! For me and this particular chapter of my life, the answer is simple: personal touch. I believe in genuine interactions and maintaining a direct connection with my clients, which can be hard to achieve through outsourced automation rather than feeling aloof behind the scenes and disconnected.

When I do find myself with some spare time, I’d honestly rather spend it painting, or gardening, or hiking with my dog. These activities rejuvenate my creativity and bring me joy, which in turn, makes me a better designer. Prioritising these moments of personal fulfilment over the relentless grind of social media management has been key to maintaining my sanity in running my business.

Here’s what I’ve learnt

Instagram and I? We’ve had our moments and we may have them again. It used to be my go-to for everything business-related, but now it’s more like that old friend you bump into and think, “Huh, we had some good times, but we’re onto different things now, may be we’ll be right for each other at the next chapter of our lives.”

One thing I do miss, is the general chit chat with clients in my DMs, I actually adore seeing what they are up to and getting to know them better so I’ll be making a conscious effort to be more present in their inbox but perhaps less so on my grid. But who knows, maybe the second I hit publish on this post I’lll get the urge to post to my grid!

So, to my fellow small biz owners feeling the Instagram pressure: you do you. Trust in your business, nurture those client relationships, and remember, your business thrives on passion and quality work, not just on double-taps and hashtags.

As for me, I’ll hop back on Instagram when the time feels right, not because I have to, but because I want to.

Becky x
Welcome to the BLD Blog

Hello! I’m Becky. A brand identity & website designer for passionate & ambitious small businesses. This little corner of my website is dedicated to sharing the 15 years of experience I have with brands, websites and of course running a small business.

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