How to prepare your career or business for Instagram’s demise

Words by Alyce Greer

Brace for impact.

If you had told me in 2005 that, one day, I wouldn’t be into Myspace, I would have laughed in your face. Directly at your tadpole eyebrows. No Myspace??? How would I rank my friends? Where would I put all my club pics? What would I do with my newly acquired coding skills? No. If Myspace was taken away from me, I simply couldn’t go on. 

But then I did. Quite easily in fact, and straight into the arms of a newer, fresher, more technologically advanced flavour of the month: Facebook. It was a more mature option for where I was at in my life, at the ripe age of 21. I had moved cities and wanted to show off to my friends – without the childish act of ranking them. 

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Around the time I became a fAsHiOn bLoGgEr, Instagram stepped on the scene, and I had met my one true love. We’re now coming up to our 10 year anniversary, and while I am still on Instagram every single moment of every single day, my feelings towards it have changed – and I know yours have, too. 

I think I can speak on behalf of everyone when I say we’re all a little off Instagram. 

For those of us that are getting older and have been on the platform for, like, a third of our life, it’s becoming monotonous, and producing content doesn’t have the spark as it once did. If you’re young and have no idea what I’m talking about, your time will come.

Then there are all the changes that Instagram has introduced, making the social media platform way less, er… social. It’s shifted to a retail focus, and put the shop button where it knows our muscle memory will take us; a sneaky act of betrayal I can’t forgive. The algorithm is pushing products, and hiding our happy snaps. And engagement on personal profiles has plummeted, making it near impossible to get more likes or followers. 

Many of us are also realising the negative effect that social media – in particular, Instagram – has on our mental health. It’s a minefield for imposter syndrome, the comparison trap, and picking up your phone without noticing. I, for one, am much happier without it but with my business Bossy. relying heavily on social media, I feel like I don’t have a choice. 

But like Myspace before it, I’m coming to terms with the fact that, at some point, Instagram probably won’t exist – or at least, it won’t be such a crucial part of our career, image and lives. We’ll probably lol about the days when we experimented with Valencia and how we couldn’t leave the house without snapping an #ootd. 

The more I get over social media in general (and how hard it makes you work for its attention) the more I start to think about how I can prepare for its demise. I’m like a doomsday prepper, carefully making plans and collecting supplies, so that when the day comes, my business won’t suffer too badly.

Are you feeling the same way? If so, step into my bunker and take note of the clever tactics people are using to prepare their career and business for when Insta finally goes under. *sniff*

Build your damn email list

Businesses, this one is a no-brainer, but easily the most important. Spoiler alert: you don’t own your Instagram following. If the app disappears tomorrow, so will your audience. Instead, invest half the time you spend scrolling Insta to build your email list – an audience that’s actually yours. Building your email list is a whole topic in itself, but offering a strong lead magnet, being consistent with your content and sending people to your website (even from your Insta) are great places to start. 

Rethink your newsletter strategy 

Newsletters are changing, have you noticed? Businesses aren’t just sending out their bestselling products and half-price sales (they usually end up in the email trash, anyway). They’re adding value with opinion pieces, daily challenges and juicy tips. Yes, this applies to businesses and side-hustles, but if you have a following on Instagram, you should be doing this too. 

Diversify that income 

There’s a reason that all the big influencers have launched successful businesses, products and apps — and it’s not just because they’re leveraging their large following (although that helps). It’s also because they can further monetise their profile, and diversify their income. So, rather than solely relying on sponsored posts, they’ve also got money pouring into their account from other income streams. If Instagram upped and died, they’d still have that to fall back on and let me tell you, it wouldn’t be the most uncomfortable fall in the world. 

Get some digital products happening 

All aboard the digital products bandwagon. This is one tactic that I’m wholeheartedly embracing in 2021, with the release of my first course Bossy. Copy College. It was born from the sheer terror that all of my eggs are in one basket, and that’s not very business-minded of me. Whether you specialise in a certain area, you have a small business, or want to make the most of your following on Instagram, digital products (like e-books, courses and mentoring programs) are where it’s at.

Focus on your personal profile

It’s easy to hide behind your Instagram feed, but unfortunately it’s probably not going to always be there to hide behind. So, it’s time to focus on building your personal profile through speaking gigs, networking events and guest articles on industry publications. A strong personal brand will help boost awareness for your specialty or your business everywhere, not just on the ’gram.

Cheat on Instagram with another platform 

Let’s be honest: we’ll probably never break up with social media for good. We can’t help it; we keep falling for its shit. There’ll always be some hot new thing (read: Clubhouse, Tik Tok) that catches our eye, and that’s not always a bad thing, if you use it wisely. If you’re implementing the other strategies, you could explore other social media platforms (that might be better suited to you, your craft or your audience) that will help you attract more customers and more sales. And no, this is not a free pass to start doing choreographed dances on Tik Tok.

Alyce is a contributing writer for Fashion Journal and the director and head writer at Bossy, a Melbourne-based copywriting and content studio. You can find Bossy here and here.

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