Let’s start by saying that Instagram is excellent. There’s no question about it. Over 1 billion (yes, billion!) people use it every month. It’s currently one of the most popular social media platforms with an extremely active user base. So the potential is enormous, and your photos and videos could be seen by a huge crowd. Needless to say, there’s a lot of business opportunities and money up for grabs.
Maybe you have heard about how much Instagram influencers make money and want to be one yourself too. You can definitely make it work and become a successful influencer and start making a lot of money from sponsors.
I get it, it can be extremely lucrative to get into the Instagram game and focus all your effort into it. And actually that’s how I started, and for a long time, I was relying just on Instagram.
But should you focus just on Instagram?
I don’t think so!
Putting everything in the same basket is never a good idea. Whether it’s about running a business, building relationships, growing on social media or anything else, it can be risky to focus on just one thing.
It can work for a while (or even for a long time), but having a bigger plan always pays off. Expanding your brand to other channels is a choice that I advise you to make sooner or later. In the long run, it will guarantee continuity and success for the years to come. It’s something I wish I had done much earlier.
- The Uncertainty of relying on Instagram.
- Limited monetization on Instagram
- Focusing on irrelevant things
- What to do instead?
The Uncertainty of relying on Instagram.
One of the biggest problems in focusing on a single platform, like Instagram, is the uncertainty that comes with it. In fact, when you are posting on social media, you rely a lot on an external platform that you don’t have total control over.
And that is like building your house on someone else’s land. There is nothing wrong with that, but you will never have the full control, so choose where you want to build your house (or audience in this case) wisely.
1. The unpredictability of the Instagram Algorithm.
Have you ever thought:
The Instagram algorithm is unfair as my posts don’t reach my followers?
I know I have and you probably have too.
And it really can feel and be unfair that your photos and videos don’t get the attention that you think they deserve. Great content performs better on Instagram, but trust me, there is no guarantee that your content goes viral. No matter how good the content is. It’s all about the unpredictability of the Instagram algorithm.
Sometimes your post gets a lot of likes and comments, but on another day, you struggle to get similar engagement. You wonder why that happens but just can’t figure it out.
But I have good news for you: it probably is not your fault!
It is tough to predict and survive all the changes in Instagram’s algorithm. Instagram is always adding new features, updating the explore page, and deciding what to show the users. So you can never be sure how your content will succeed.
2. Instagram losing its popularity
What if Instagram shuts down completely?
Ok, it’s not going to happen. At least not anytime soon.
But the thing is, you’ll never know. Currently, its popularity is tremendous, but we have seen many services fail in the long run.
For example, Flickr used to be the go-to photo sharing service. And even Facebook is not what it used to be.
I’m not saying it’s going to happen with Instagram, but it is very likely that the popularity won’t last forever. There will always be a new, more exciting service that people want to use.
3. The risk of losing your Instagram account
It is doubtful that Instagram suddenly fails or closes down. But that’s not the only way you can lose everything you have built on Instagram. Have you ever wondered:
What if your Instagram account gets deleted or hacked?
That can happen! And unfortunately many have experienced that.
If you have not taken care of the security of your account, there is always a risk that someone hacks your account. If that happens, there is a big possibility that you will never get your account totally back.
I don’t mean to scare you with stories about how you can lose your Instagram account. But it can happen. It probably won’t, but what if you one morning wake up and your account is gone?
Ask yourself this: if you would not be able to recover your profile, would you still have an audience?
If you are active on other channels and have an audience elsewhere, you would not need to panic. But trying to connect with all your followers without your platform would be extremely hard!
Limited monetization on Instagram
Many influencers make a lot of money merely on Instagram. Many brands are currently throwing money on influencers to get their products promoted. Influencer marketing works and also, it is very trendy right now.
There’s definitely a lot of money involved. No question about that.
But these days, there’s also a lot of competition. The number of influencers grows all the time, and it’s getting more challenging to get sponsor deals.
4. Problem with sponsored posts
Yes, sponsored posts are undoubtedly an excellent way to make money. And you definitely can include sponsorships naturally in your Instagram feed and actually bring value to your followers.
However, there are several problems with sponsored posts from the influencer point of view. That is to say that you need to be careful not to overdo them.
Having too many sponsored posts could also risk your credibility with your followers and weaken your own brand. The fact is that most people hate ads: so if your post looks more like an ad, you’ll lose the trust of your followers quite fast.
But the biggest challenge with sponsorships is the work required to fulfill them. To do a successful campaign with a brand, you need to put a lot of effort into it. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with that because you probably love to create content.
The work is not only about creating the content, but also finding the right brands to partner with. And when the deals are fulfilled, you need to negotiate new contracts with your previous and new clients.
They don’t come by themselves, so it takes time.
And all that time you spend creating sponsored content is away from everything else. From creating content and engaging with your audience.
5. The challenge of Passive income on Instagram
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a steady flow of cash coming your way each month without all the effort?
Well, with Instagram, passive income is not that easy.
No income comes without work, but building a passive income can give you long-term success. You can make money on Instagram through affiliate marketing, too, which is an invaluable source of passive income.
Instagram is not, however, the best channel to drive traffic to an external source. The reason is that you can use links only on your bio and stories, but not on your posts. It can work, but it is not optimal as people actually would rather stay on Instagram than visit a website.
To transform your Instagram and influencer profile to a strong business, I encourage you to build an audience and following also outside Instagram. It requires extra work, but trust me, you feel much safer, more confident, and motivated.
Focusing on irrelevant things
6. Losing your focus
When you focus on posting new content regularly on Instagram and trying to grow your following, there is a good chance that at some point you lose focus on what is important and why you actually are creating and posting in the first place.
There are two things you should focus on; content and engaging with your followers. Creating valuable and useful content is why people actually even follow you, so you should never neglect that. And replying to questions from your followers is also crucial in building a community.
7. Focusing on likes, comments, and growth
How many likes, comments did my latest photo receive and how many new followers have I received?
I have been there. It is easy to get caught up in all the numbers and insights. But when you start to focus too much on the statistics, you spend time on trivial things instead of creating great content.
I know, it is satisfying when you receive thousands of likes. But in the long run that doesn’t matter as much as you would think. If your content is valuable to your followers, the growth and engagement will follow. Eventually.
More often than not, it won’t happen overnight, but good content always pays off. But trying to grow your account with some special methods you found online, is not what you need.
You can never fully know how Instagram works and how many people you reach with your post. Trying to battle with the algorithm changes is an endless battle that I would advise you to avoid.
What to do instead?
If you have read this far, you probably wonder what you should do instead? Don’t get me wrong, Instagram is a fantastic platform and can boost your business. There is a lot of people there, and you can grow a huge following. But when you want to transform that into something more stable and long-sighted business, you definitely should expand a bit.
My advice is to build a strong brand of yourself and aim for an audience across the internet. How can you achieve that? You need to be clear what your goal and niche are and always focus on those.
I can not stress enough the importance of creating valuable content to your audience. When you do that, I can guarantee you that you will find your audience no matter what the platform is.
1. Launch a blog
If you don’t already have a blog, it is high time to launch one. Maybe you think a blog is a thing from the past already. But the truth is that blogs are still relevant! And a successful blog will always be as long as people surf online.
And the best part of having a successful blog is that it is your own. Therefore you have much more control over it than over your Instagram profile.
When people visit your website, you have their full attention. Unlike on Instagram, where people can scroll quickly to the next post (someone else’s post), there is a good chance that on a blog, they spend more time.
With a blog, you are your own boss, and you can build a community. Sure, you can create one on Instagram, too, but there is so much more you can do with a blog. A blog is more versatile, everything is under your control, and it is easier to monetize (display ads and affiliate marketing among many other things).
So if you want to build something that will last, I strongly recommend starting a blog.
2. Start an email list
If you have read posts about blogging, you probably have learned how important an email list is to grow your blog.
The sooner you start growing your email list, the better. In fact, if I were you, I would start building one today. Or even better, right now!
You may wonder:
What is so good about an email list and why I need one?
An email list is essentially an extension to your blog. It helps you build a community and make your connection with your readers more personal.
And the best part? Once you have people on your email list, you can always reach your audience. At that point, you are not dependent on traffic from external sources, like Google and social media. Sure they can unsubscribe from your list later, but if you treat them well, most of them won’t.
3. Use other social media
Social media is great when you want to build an audience and promote your content. The thing is, social media is where people are and spend a lot of their time today.
As I wrote earlier, Instagram is great, but you should never focus on just channel. If you really want to expand your audience, being active, and creating content to other social media channels is always a good way.
You should focus on the channels that make strategic sense to you. It depends on your niche, which social media channels are useful.
For instance, Pinterest is excellent for food recipes, Twitter for sports, and politics. All channels have their user base. You should find out what your potential audience uses. Is it Facebook, youtube, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat, or something else?
When you are active on multiple channels, you will probably gain followers and subscribers on all channels. If someone finds you on Youtube, they might look you on Instagram and Twitter too. And most importantly, check out your blog.
This is how you build an active and engaged community, as the growth is 100 percent organic.
Never put everything into one basket. That is a rule you have to remember. No matter how lucrative one channel could be, always try to branch out.
I’ve noticed that increasingly people focus on just one platform: mostly Instagram. Although there is in itself nothing wrong with that, you are not making use of all the possibilities that you can do with the content you are posting on Instagram.
Start your own blog if you don’t have one already, build an email list, grow on other social media channels, and most importantly, build your personal brand and a community around it. That way, you will be safe from everything you can’t control, like changes in Instagram algorithms.
Don’t just aim to be an Instagram influencer. Build something bigger: build a business that will last.