Are You Investing Too Much Time in Instagram?
It’s no secret: Instagram is where it’s at right now.
With more users than ever, it’s the app for connecting with friends, potential clients, industry peers, and inspiration. And as creative business owners, it’s our job to keep up. Post consistently. Use stories. Have you shared your highlights yet? And what about a Live video?
As creative business owners, we are constantly inundated with Instagram tips: all the things we should be doing to make the most of our online presence. How many podcasts or webinar ads have you seen with a title like: “Grow Your Instagram Following with These Easy Steps!” or “How I Doubled My Followers Overnight!”
Instagram is free marketing for your business. That’s the magic of social media: with little to no monetary investment, you can place your brand in front of thousands of potential clients. You can create connections in your industry, and find inspiration at every turn. It’s easy to see why Instagram is essential for your business—especially when you’re starting out.
But how many hours are you pouring into your Instagram game?
Does it feel like you’re constantly overwhelmed by what you should be doing on Instagram? I feel ya. Everyone is always telling us to post consistently, engage often, and make use of every. single. feature.
So let me ask you a question: Are you investing too much time in Instagram?
I know, I know. It sounds crazy, right? How could you be investing too much time in the app that everyone is always raving about?!
Here’s the thing: Instagram is a valuable tool. But it’s not the only tool. And it’s definitely not the most efficient tool in terms of time investment.
Let’s break it down. Ask yourself these three questions to find out if you’re investing too much time in your Instagram game:
1. Are you substituting screen time for face time?
You know me. I’m all about people. Connecting. Forming friendships. But sometimes you have to pause and ask yourself: is Instagram tricking you into thinking you’re more connected than you actually are?
A “double-tap” will never be as meaningful as a real-life hug. A DM will never carry the same weight as a meaningful coffee-date conversation.
In this industry, your reputation will always mean more than the number at the top of your Instagram account.
Despite all our social connections, Word of Mouth will forever be THE best way to build your business. Referrals are hands-down the best way to attract ideal clients and establish trust with potential customers. Your time is so much better invested in building real relationships than in carefully planning a grid of pretty little squares.
So, instead of scrolling for an hour:
- Invite a fellow creative entrepreneur to coffee.
- Write a past client or industry peer a thank you note.
- Offer to take headshots of someone you’d like to meet.
- Email a note of encouragement to someone new in your industry.
Serve your clients and your industry peers well. An authentic heart of service will go so much farther than an Instagram post ever could.
2. Are you wasting non-productive time on Instagram?
We all know how it goes: “I just need to post this one thing real quick.” Yeah, right. When was the last time you did anything “real quick” on Instagram?! As soon as you open the app, you’ll be sucked into the same old scrolling habit. I’ll be the first to admit: I’ve definitely found myself mindlessly scrolling more than I should!
A “quick post” turns into fifteen minutes… maybe even half an hour, maybe more. Was that time really productive for your business?
3. Does Instagram leave you feeling drained rather than energized?
Instagram is full of inspiration. But sometimes, “inspiration” mutates into its ugly counterpart: “comparison.”
It’s easy to log on with the pretense of inspiration, connection, and authentic content. But if Instagram leaves you feeling drained, overwhelmed, unconfident, or “less than” in any way… it might be time to take a step back.
Your time is your most valuable resource. What can you do with an hour added back into your day? Maybe you can knock out editing a photo session; maybe you can schedule an extra consultation call. Or maybe you can go pick up groceries, take care of your mind and body at a yoga class, or treat yo’ self with a mani/pedi. Any of these are a better use of your time than an hour of mindless scrolling.
In the meantime, make the most of the time you DO spend on the app. Work smarter, not harder.
My favorite ways to cut down on the time I spend ’gramming:
- Planning tools: plan your feed ahead of time, using handy tools like UNUM, Planoly, or Preview. Every week, dedicate an hour to lining up your posts and captions for the whole week—knock it all out in one time-efficient sitting, while you’re focused and mentally alert (*note: minimum of three cups of coffee required).
- Track your time: Have you ever tracked the time you spend on social media? Quite frankly, it’s an embarrassing wake-up call. Take a look at the amount of time you’re spending on social media (here’s how!)… If you’re as shell-shocked as I was, you’ll find it much easier to put that phone down!
- Take a break: Let me be the first to tell you: it’s okay to take a break. Just log off for the entire day—or week, or month. Trust me. Your business will survive. Your clients will still find you and fall in love with your work (thanks to those word-of-mouth referrals you’ve been building! 😉)
And when you’re ready to come back? Don’t apologize for your absence! I hate to break it to ya: most of your followers are not sitting on the edge of their seat waiting for your next post. If anything, they’ll be pleasantly surprised to see you pop back up in their feed.
- Unfollow if needed: Are there people you follow who make you feel inadequate? Do you find yourself comparing your account to theirs—and feeling disappointed in your own work? Guess what!? Ain’t nobody got time for that. UN. FOLLOW. Keep your feed limited to accounts that truly inspire and connect.
So can we all agree? Let’s use Instagram to our advantage—not against it.
Let’s take back our valuable time, and put it to good use doing something worthwhile for ourselves and our businesses. You in?
Still seeking balance? Do you want to do more than just change your Instagram game?
If you’re seeking restoration and community on a whole new level, I’ve designed the perfect experience for YOU.
I would love to connect with you over coffee, sunset yoga, and a sleepover in the Waco Barndominium. And did I mention we’ll be hearing from keynote speaker Natalie Franke?! I hope you’ll check out all the details and join us on September 10–13. Early bird rates end on May 1st!