Instagram is a great tool for connecting with other business owners and potential clients! But Instagram insecurities are no joke.
I’ve loved Instagram since I posted my first photo of a ladder hung with Christmas stockings at my mom’s house on my personal account in 2011. One of my favorite writers, Jen Hatmaker, says Instagram feels like it’s prom every day. It’s full of so many things I love: babies, puppies, friends, food, coffee, books, travel destinations. I’ve honestly never really paid attention to how many followers I have or the number of likes a post receives because it’s all just a fun way to share life with my friends. I didn't even know about Instagram insecurities.
Then I started a business Instagram account. And everything changed.
I’m not on Instagram to become an influencer. Trust me, my life is not nearly interesting enough. I use Instagram to connect with creative entrepreneurs who need help finding the perfect words for their websites, sales emails, and blogs. It’s a great way to share my expertise and services with others. I’m not attempting to run some kind of viral account. As I’m writing this, I have 105 followers after operating my account for two weeks, so you can clearly see that I’m not killing it in the numbers game.
And here’s where things get really tricky.
I know I’m not on Instagram to gain a large following for the sake of having followers or to monetize my account. But the pressure attached to that little “follower” number at the top of my feed has become a haunting presence. As the number ticks slowly up, or quickly (and randomly) down, my self-worth and confidence take a hit.
I hesitate before posting anything because I'm afraid no one will engage. I find myself constantly checking to see if people followed my “call to action.” For an introvert like me, who replays and questions routine social interactions, the struggle is real.
What's a girl to do?
After a few weeks of self-doubt and crippling “social media” anxiety, I booked a couple of new clients directly through Instagram. Suddenly the effort and risk of putting myself and my skills out there felt like it might have been worth it. In addition to the new clients, I started making friends!
As I’ve been slowly building a base of potential clients, I’ve found myself learning so much from those around me. The amount of free information and advice I’ve received is seriously unbelievable. Where I felt and expected criticism and comparison, there is actually inspiration and encouragement. When you surround yourself with the right people, the Instagram business world reveals itself as a giant lovefest. There's expert advice and ridiculous support and lots of love.
I don’t suddenly have all the keys to unlocking the Instagram algorithm. But I can tell you that if you are looking for a genuine support squad while you use Instagram as a tool to grow your business, it's definitely out there.
Find your people and take the time to engage. Show up as a real person. You’ll find your people, ready to cheer you on and connect you with customers and shout your praises to their audience. Instagram insecurities don't immediately disappear! I still feel a little queasy whenever I post something. But I’m finding it easier to concentrate on the positive interactions and benefits of the platform instead of constantly comparing myself to others.
My Instagram Insecurities haven't vanished, but they're somewhat mitigated by the aspects of community and encouragement.
So here I stay. Growing a business I love and using Instagram to help me find both my ideal clients and an unexpected, but absolutely fantastic, support network.