I specifically remember creating my personal account back in 2012 when I was studying abroad in Madrid. It was such a fun new way to share my travel pics with friends… even if the pictures were horrible quality by today’s standards!
In 2016, I created my @craftedbycarly account, which started as a place to share my hand lettered creations — just a hobby and creative outlet at the time. For a while I posted a new creation every. single. day. on the grid. And because they were simpler times, that strategy worked! Both friends & strangers on the internet looked forward to what I posted everyday, liked, commented, shared, which led to predictable follower growth and the occasional freelance project (which was just a bonus, since this was purely a hobby).
In 2019 when I started taking my design side hustle more seriously & wanted to begin more strategically marketing it, I transformed my hand lettering Instagram into what is now my business account. While Instagram’s algorithm continued (and continues) to evolve, the strategies for marketing when I started my business were still pretty low lift and straightforward. I utilized hashtags, engaged with other accounts, posted consistently, and saw pretty predictable growth.
(The short answer: probably for the same reasons you don’t love it 😂 I’ve spoken with enough friends and fellow small business owners by now to know I’m not alone here!)
…which, by the way, is exactly how the app designers built it. More endless scrollers = more eyes on ads = more money for the business. It sucks up time that I’d rather be doing pretty much anything else with: reading a book, taking a walk, working, or even just staring at the damn ceiling.
I didn’t need anyone to tell me I was addicted — but the book Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention—and How to Think Deeply Again was a huge eye opener, and I recommend everyone read it.
This one is really the straw that broke the camel’s back for me: keyboard warriors yelling into a void about anything & everything that they’re upset about. I get it — there’s lots to be upset about in the world. There’s lots to wrap our heads around, and grapple with, and learn about. There’s lots to do. But it’s become divisive, people say things “to you” they would never say in real life, you’re told you’re saying too much or too little or just not the right thing about any given topic. In my opinion and in my life, real life social connection & genuine discourse is healthy. Being the giver or receiver of yelling into cyberspace feels neither nourishing or healthy. So I’m bowing out in favor of real connection.
In this episode of the We Can Do Hard Things podcast, Glennon Doyle (and co-hosts Abby Wambach & Amanda Doyle) interviews Roxane Gay, and it was such a refreshing conversation about this very topic. They talk about their experience on social media as public figures, but the topic felt extremely relevant regardless of that.
The biggest reason I’m taking a break are for personal reasons — I’m addicted, and I’m sick of the divisive nature. But from a business standpoint, the ever-shifting algorithm feels overwhelming to me and content creation hasn’t felt like the best use of my resources as a solopreneur.
Like I mentioned, back when I started posting my hand lettering creations in 2016 and later started marketing my business in 2019, the algorithm was predictable. If you created great static content and followed a set of rules (like utilizing hashtags and engaging with other accounts), you were likely to see growth. And that growth was likely to gain you clients.
In our online space, we are in an era of more more more, and I just can’t (or maybe don’t want to) keep up. For example, video and Reels are highly prioritized right now, which takes a lot more time to create. I know a LOT of people who are so good at this and love creating video content, or who are naturally good at staying up to date with the changes to the app, or who do social media marketing at their day job, or love the thrill of a new challenge. I’m just simply not any of these people – and that’s okay! And as the algorithm has shifted and my engagement has dropped, I’ve started to wonder if my time and energy spent creating and posting on Instagram may be best spent on another platform.
And at some time or another, these things worked for me. But in the last 6 months or so, none of these things really helped solve the real issue: my heart just wasn’t in it. And I started to worry I was spending so much time (AND mental energy) marketing on a platform that didn’t feel right for me right now.
And then I had a lightbulb moment that’s one of those “why did it take me so long to come to this conclusion” moments: Why don’t I just quit Instagram for Q1? I’ll log off for 3 months — from January through March 2024 — and focus on the other marketing strategies I’ve been wanting to be more consistent with. At the end of March, I can decide if or how I want to come back. Duh.
But because Instagram has been basically the main way I’ve marketed my business for 4 years, I’m scared! So I’ve thought a lot about how I’ll go about it in a way that doesn’t feel like I’m sending my business over a cliff:
...at least I'm trying to make it that way. While I'm off Instagram, I'd love to hear from you in other ways! Fill out the form below with your thoughts or questions on the blog post!
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