If you’ve talked to me over the past year, you’ve probably heard me complaining about social media, specifically, Instagram. While I’ve definitely gotten into the Facebook and Instagram trends on the personal side in the past, I’ve never been one to obsessively share or compulsively check my phone. Until now. In a year’s time, since launching the blingsling®, I managed to go from being pretty much Insta-clueless to having endless articles, workshops, and tutorials under my belt, which ultimately brought me to my decision to step away completely. At least for 10 days.
From a business standpoint, everyone tells you to utilize the free tools to reach new customers and so I got into the habit quickly and with full force, posting at least once a day with all the hashtags, tagging, and engaging with other accounts consuming so much of my time. I curated my feed to look cohesive, made sure all of my content was original, and carefully planned each caption to be as relevant, interesting and actionable as possible. But as much as I dearly love the followers I do have, I couldn’t help but think, my reach wasn’t growing the way I was being told it should be growing. Here’s the thing. When your account is for your new baby, I mean, business, it means so much more. At least it did for me. And it was starting to mean WAY TOO MUCH. So like our favorite friends, Ross + Rachel, I took a much-needed break. And here’s what happened…
1. It confirmed that Instagram was giving me anxiety.
Sometimes, you don’t really see clearly until you remove yourself from the situation. I had gotten used to the scheduling and posting and thought I was fully acclimated to my new lifestyle, but when I finally stepped away, I felt a sense of relief that I didn’t have that daily Instagram post hovering on my to-do list, never really going away.
2. I’m fairly certain the shadowban is real and I have it.
This was partially what brought me to take the break in the first place, but when your engagement drops, you don’t show under any of your hashtags, and certain features on the app are blocked from you, you start to believe the rumors and realize it’s time to just step away.
3. Instagram stopped forcing its way into my conversations.
I like to think my break from the ‘gram made me slightly less annoying by talking about other topics besides my feed and engagement and why no one loved me anymore. Jk on that last one. Or am I?
4. My engagement lowered even more.
This could have been due to yet another algorithm change, but I came back to even lower engagement. The thing is, this time my expectations were set appropriately so it was less triggering. Not not triggering. Just less.
5. My business stayed the exact same.
Surprise! If your people aren’t finding you on social media to begin with, you’re probably not going to see much of a difference when you take a break. For all of you who have mastered building a business from Instagram, you’ll probably have a harder time taking a break. Finally, one perk for us newbies?!
6. I actually relaxed.
To loop you in, I’m usually one of those all or nothing people. So to fully relax, I need to be completely on my own schedule. So yes, I had a few visits to see family last year and a much-needed trip to Hawaii, but when you start to see the world in Insta-worthy pictures and have multiple alarms telling you to get on and post, are you really on vacation?
7. My connections felt more real- for better or worse.
My Insta-break happened to fall over the holidays, which meant a lot of time with family and friends IRL. There was so much going on, I barely noticed my time away from the virtual world really. This brought more vulnerable and honest conversations that I feel lead to closer connections overall.
8. It forced me to get creative and focus on other mediums.
Like everyone else who missed the sweet spot of jumping on Insta, and for pretty much all of us in the future post-Insta world, I had to think out-of-the-box. And really, most of these outlets, like meeting new people at pop-ups and connecting with others at community events are what I enjoy anyway. Yay!
9. I realized I was putting too much time and effort into it.
Not only did the stress around posting decrease, but I had more time for other things. Clever Designs LA is all about getting better acquainted with the world, so why was I focusing on the virtual world so much? Finally! More time to explore, connect, and interact with real people, places, and experiences!
10. It made me grateful for the followers I do have.
Ahhh finally, a little gratitude! I had a couple people ask where I was, which made me realize how thankful I am for each of the followers I do have. Hey, I’ve always been the type to have fewer, closer friends than thousands of people I don’t talk to, so here’s to you clever girls- MUCH much love!
To sum it all up, yes, I am back to posting. Buuuut, it is much less frequently and I’m working on finding a happy medium for myself and the blingsling® followers. So if you’re a #clevergirl, leave me a comment with your thoughts on our social media break, any tips you have, and what you’d like to see from us going forward online!
Love. Inspire. Grow. Enjoy.