We’ve all been there before. You click open your Instagram app excited to see what everyone is up to, but a few (or 20 or 45) minutes later your heart sinks when you see perfectly styled product photos or perfectly dressed women striking the perfect pose. As a small business owner, Instagram can be a powerful tool for good. It can connect you with potential clients, foster friendships with other creatives or inspire you to try something new. But we all know the downside of it—jealousy, comparison, inauthenticity. I’ve found that when I make intentional moves to make Instagram more enjoyable for myself, I’m less likely to fall in a slump because of it. Here are a few of the things you can do to use Instagram more intentionally and make it more enjoyable.
1. Write down the big ideas you get from others. One of my favorite things about Instagram is that there are so many smart people putting educational resources out there. Take notes. Save the posts that resonate with you. Then take a step back to make it your own and align it with your personal brand — you will be so much happier in the long run.
2. Follow accounts outside of your industry. When you’re first starting something new, it’s common to want to see tons of other people’s work. But make sure you add some variety to your feed. If you’re only seeing other people who are further ahead in their practice than you are, it’s easier to feel like you are way behind. Follow accounts of your other interests: lifestyle, fashion or mom blogs, other makers who are not in your specific genre, or celebrities who just make you laugh.
3. Save photos that convey your aesthetic. You know those photos that just speak to your soul? Yeah, those are the ones we need to keep around. When you find a photo you love, save it to your account so you can go back and see it later. You’ll find that over time these photos will start to show you what your brand should look like. Perhaps they can give you ideas for color schemes or the feelings you want to portray through your business.
4. Remember that what you are seeing is likely years of practice. This. Y’all this is something that I struggle with every day. When you hop on Instagram for the very first time, you are likely going to see lots of accounts with seemingly perfect pieces of art, thousands of followers and impeccable pictures. This can be super discouraging when you look at your 20 followers and underwhelming photos. But remember, everyone started somewhere. Those artists who are excelling now also started by picking up a pen for the first time. You’ll get there too, you just gotta put in the practice and time.
5. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, just stop. There’s no shame in this, even if you haven’t looked at every post or story yet. It’ll all be there when you get back, and if not, it probably isn’t that important. Your mental health and well being is far more important than making sure to see every post or story. One thing you can do is set aside specific blocks of time to get on Instagram — then once it’s over, put your phone down. This will keep you from endlessly scrolling and accidentally spending a mindless hour on your phone.
What are some ways that you alleviate the stress of Instagram? Let us know in the comments and over on our Instagram page!