What #Instagramdown Can Teach You About Your Marketing Strategy
“I survived the great #instagramdown of 13/3” — I joke, but am also partly serious. As you will all be aware, this week saw Facebook, Instagram and an array of other platforms go down. And not just down — for the unlucky souls who were actively trying to upload as it happened (🙋♀️), it went completely caput. For approximately a million years. Okay, it wasn’t quite a million years, but are you going to tell me it didn’t feel like it?
The ironic thing about this whole debacle, for me, was that I was working on my marketing plan at the exact time everything suddenly stopped working. And so I found myself faced with the dystopian reality of a world whereby I would have to market myself without the aid of the world’s two biggest social media platforms. Quite literally begging the question — if Instagram vanished tomorrow, how would people know about my business?
Social media has revolutionised business — and many of us here have built up our careers on Instagram alone. We only have to not have access to it for mere hours for mild panic to prevail (see #instagramdown Twitter memes as exhibit A). And despite the many reasons for which social media is problematic, unfair or bias, we pour our time, energy, focus and sometimes even finances into it like it’s sacrosanct. But if the great #instagramdown and #facebookdown of 2019 has taught us anything, it’s that at best, these platforms are unreliable. And do we want to leave our business, our livelihood, in the hands of something unreliable? Witches, it is time to rethink our marketing strategies.
Here are some avenues to consider weaving into your marketing strategy if you only currently have social media involved in your plan…
Your website is your very own corner of the internet where you have unsolicited access to showcase your work and advertise your services. Previously, many have considered their Instagram page their website — and whilst it’s true your Insta may get more visits or get you more work, having your own website means your content can been seen without being censored or affected by an algorithm. Personal websites are just as vital as they always were, if not more so now.
Create the internet you want to see: all hail the blog! Although gaining traction with a blog can be time consuming and you may be tempted to throw in the towel, blogs have always been the OG way of connecting with an audience and driving traffic to those links that your business depends on.
Either hosting a podcast yourself or bagging yourself as a guest on one is a great way for people to find you outside of social media.
Get the damn email addresses! Should Instagram disappear tomorrow, you need a way of being able to contact the people who followed you before.
I would recommend scheduling in some time each month to check on your SEO and working on getting a higher ranking on Google. Being on the first or second page of Google means people will likely discover you much easier.
If you sell a product and the majority of your sales currently come through Instagram or other social platforms, how are you going to promote your offerings or get people to buy from you if the platforms were no longer available? It’s time to venture back into the physical world. Consider approaching stockists and getting your products into some real life retailers. Marketing doesn’t have to just be digital — getting old school might even lead you to try more creative methods of advertising and reach an even wider audience.
Getting featured in magazines and newspapers is an absolutely huge driver for people finding out about who you are and what you do because for better or for worse, people trust the press. Guest-writing for publications is another great way you can get your foot in the door and gain traction to your business - it’s time to get pitching!
We’re forever being told we shouldn’t put all of our eggs in one basket. That we should distribute some of the weight off a single platform to other marketing streams. This week has outrightly shown us the vitality of cultivating an internet space of our own, outside of Instagram or Facebook — but most importantly, where we have greater control. I’m not saying ditch the ‘gram - but let’s future proof ourselves and rethink our marketing strategies to include a wider, more creative use of tools and secure our approach.
Maybe it’s time to listen to all of those who have been saying blogs are making a comeback — because they really really have good reason to. I repeat: if Instagram vanished tomorrow, how would people know about your business?