Episode 361: Show Notes
Would you ever consider deleting your Instagram account if you had nearly 40,000 followers? Businesses go through different seasons and for a long time we had not focused on Instagram because we were otherwise occupied. But for some reason, our account remained semi-active and we were still slowly but surely gaining followers, even though we only really posted about the podcast and random bits in between. But the engagement was poor, so much so that we no longer saw the need to post at all or to have the account, and this set us on a rollercoaster of a journey of trying to figure out whether we should delete our existing account and start all over again. This might sound crazy, but we had what we believed were legitimate reasons for wanting to do that, and our intentions were so good!
We were absolutely convinced that this was the way to go, that is, until a comment or two from our audience and friends threw a wrench in the works and forced us back to square one. This was an amazing educational process that we came though as we learned a ton about ourselves, our business and what our approach to our followers should be. If you are thinking about deleting your account and starting off with a clean slate or just looking to grow your Instagram engagement, this episode is perfect for you, so be sure to listen in!
Weighing Up the Pros and Cons of Deleting Our Account and Starting Over
We started toying with the idea of starting it all from scratch so that only those who were really interested in what we were doing would be following us. But soon the resistance kicked in and we started thinking about losing that solid audience, which, we’re not going to lie, made us feel really good, not to mention the fact that it would cost us the Swipe Up feature! We were forced to look at what it meant for our engagement and revenue, however, and we realized the account was not justifiable on those premises at all. It’s not that the account was entirely stagnant, it was just that the growth was not the kind that made us feel good. For example, it felt like people followed us and then disappeared, or stopped paying attention. We had much more engagement on our personal accounts with far fewer followers, and this was alarming! We got to the place where we realized that fewer quality followers meant much more than thousands of empty numbers, so we contemplated this situation for a few months.
What Finally Got Us to Decide
We saw a comment that persuaded both of us more in the direction of deleting the account and it went something like, “Clearly all of your followers are bought because your engagement is so low.” This was a punch in the gut! We have never bought followers nor used an account to do automatic commenting and liking. Heck, we’ve never even run a “like” campaign! Yes, our feelings were hurt by this comment, but more than that, it made us aware of the actual value and quality of our engagement. As a side note, there is this misconception that if everything your business is doing isn’t visible, and if you’re not posting all the time, that nothing is really happening in your business, but this is not true. While we might have been less active on Instagram, we were incredibly busy with lots of other things, including prepping for our summit and communicating with speakers on other platforms. This might not be as flashy and sexy as social media posts but doing the actual job should always remain the priority!
Some of The Ideas We Had for the New Account
A few days ago, we sat down and decided to do it – to simply delete our existing account and with that all the fuzziness and non-existent engagement. We were excited to start a new account in which we would also introduce some new ideas and revive our business – all in all a promising new start! We had even gone as far as building the new account, which we had very intentional ideas for. Firstly, we would move away from the overly professional, overly curated feed, which prevented us from showing up regularly. Thus, everything did not have to be as polished all the time. We also thought about the kind of content we would be sharing, including our behind-the-scenes journey and letting our followers in on our decision-making processes. We thought we would experiment with this approach to see if people were still interested in hearing from us. We had made our decision, we set a date for turning off the original account and flipping the switch on the other – so we were way in! We set out to talk about this move on Stories, to share the journey, and let you in on the whole thing. But what we didn’t know was that we were letting you in on the decision making, too!
Why We Decided Not to Delete Our Account
The moment we let you all in on the plan, we got a ton of feedback. The interesting thing was that, on the day that we told people that we were considering deleting the account, we got a lot of positive feedback from people who encouraged the decision. But two or so people, one of whom is a content strategist, suggested some other strategies for boosting engagement rather than deleting the account. Then we got this other OMG comment from a friend who knows intimate details about our business – who had the right to give her input, and she said that starting over was not the solution to the problem we thought we had. Boom! Basically, she was calling us out on making mountains out of molehills and making impulsive changes for no good reason. We had to take a breather and get back to the drawing board and ask ourselves how else we could get to the results we were after.
Realizing That the Analytics are Not to Be Ignored
A few days after we announced that we might close our existing account, we had a look at the analytics and the change was phenomenal. After only three days, our engagement had shot through the roof in comparison to what it was. Before, from a pool of 39,300 followers, we would have only between 100 and 300 people see our Stories – so it’s safe to say that our account was dying. Then suddenly, after unknowingly reigniting our engagement by letting our audience know that we are changing it up, we went to averaging between 400 and 1,000 people looking at our Stories – in just a few days! What is the lesson here? First, we started being more active on the account, but more than that, we were having a conversation that people cared about. As people were watching our stories more, Instagram was bumping us up the hierarchy and we showed up on more feeds again. In addition, you don’t really hear Instagram influencers talking about weeding out cold subscribers as you would with email lists, so perhaps there was no real need to create an entirely new account.
Lessons About Increasing Engagement and New Avenues to Explore
What we’ve learned from all of this is that you can’t simply talk at people, you must engage them in conversation. You are rewarded for people saving your posts, sharing them, commenting, leaving DMs, answering polls and using any of the sticker features. But most importantly, what we have been shown is that, even if you think that something you have done is no longer relevant or effective, there is immense value in asking your audience about it and including them in this decision making. The last couple of days we have had more conversations with our students and followers in months, which goes to show that involving them, opening real discussions and asking them what they want to see and hear about are most fruitful. While we are keeping the original account, we are going to include some of the new ideas we had for the other account we would have created, so the exercise was not a waste of time. It still gave us an opportunity to refine our product.
Weighing Up the Pros and Cons of Deleting Our Account and Starting Over. [0:02:46.1]
What Finally Got Us to Decide. [0:06:27.1]
Some of The Ideas We Had for the New Account. [0:10:34.1]
Why We Decided Not to Delete Our Account. [0:17:01.1]
Realizing That the Analytics are Not to Be Ignored. [0:23:13.1]
Lessons About Increasing Engagement and New Avenues to Explore. [0:30:34.1]