When I started my business, a coach told me to be on every social media platform, even on reasonably new ones, to secure my business name. So I did. I signed up on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
It was the worst advice ever.
Over the years, I’ve developed a hate relationship with Facebook mainly. The maligned algorithm makes reaching my people a colossal pain in the ass. Facebook’s business model is pretty simple: want more eyes on your content? Pay up!
I’ve spent money on ads, and I got a few likes here and there, but they never turned into paying customers, which small entrepreneurship like mine depends on.
Add a shop to your business page! Link your WhatsApp to your account! Let us post to Instagram, too! Spend all day with us! Give us more money!!! is what I see constantly.
The same is happening on Instagram. No matter how much work I put into it, it seems I’m reaching fewer people every day. Again, this means a like here and there, a follow (and unfollow), and no sales.
I wish likes and follows would pay the bills, but they don’t. In fact, they make me anxious. It seems that if I want to reach the next milestone, I’ve got to spend more time on Instagram than I’d like to.
Every social media “guru” tells you that you must stay on Instagram for at least 20 minutes after posting to get more people to see your perfect picture. Like, comment, engage! Don’t go anywhere!
I can’t. I just can’t keep up with this never-ending race to a finish line that only exists in the collective mind. Post! Publish multiple pictures! Make videos! Boomerangs! Time lapses! Do IGTV! Create stupid Reels! Maybe you’ll go viral (btw, can we just stop using that word to refer to content in the middle of or after a fucking pandemic?!). Have a shop so no one will buy! Advertise it! Don’t you DARE go away!
The truth is, you won’t become an overnight sensation, and neither will I. Talent doesn’t matter. I mean, look at those freeloading influencers faking EVERYTHING, even themselves. No one looks like an anime character IRL, FFS! 🙄
All this makes me wonder why the hell I even continue posting in a place that can kick you out at any moment without notice or explanation. A place that’s become so anti-democratic.
Before Facebook took over, I’d see all the posts of the people I followed. Now not so much. I know because of this weird section called “Least Interacted With.” I also know that out of 1,319 accounts I follow, I only see 50 every day.
This probably happens to my +-1,170 followers, too. So, why should I invest my time and energy fighting an algorithm that changes daily, only to be seen by 5% of people? Why bother growing my follower numbers which now takes ages anyways, without boosting posts?
Then there’s the whole anxiety, frustration, and self-doubt posting on social media cause me. I can’t help comparing myself to other makers and wonder if my cat dolls are really needed in this dark world. I often question why others seem to throw out stuff into the Ether that sells immediately. At the same time, I don’t get the same response no matter how often I post or how cute the pictures look.
I wish I could quit social media for good, but I’m still so far from my goal of having a thriving business. Much to my regret, not enough people know that my dolls exist to make a decent living. And social media users are people too. I’m sure my people are there looking for me as much as I’m looking for them.
I’m slowly moving away from Facebook, though. I already deleted the app from my phone.
I don’t miss it.
Nor do I miss the thought of entertaining strangers on Facebook with memes hoping that they will buy a doll or read my blog. It seems that a more profound conversation is not possible on a platform that makes money promoting conspiracies, hate, division, and apathy. Over the years, it has turned into a bully pulpit or an extended branch of the Inquisition.
Each time I log out, I feel depleted and discouraged.
That can’t be good for mental health.
For the time being, I’m staying on Instagram until I no longer enjoy it. I’ve met amazing artists over there, and seeing their work always encourages me to do better. I do want to spend less time on it, though.
While looking at my site’s analytics, I’ve realized that social media only makes up a small number of visitors. 55% of my traffic is organic. That’s a pretty good number considering that I don’t update my blog as often as I should, and I suck at SEO.
This blog and you, my readers, are where most of my energy should go. I’ve tried to grow something that could disappear at any moment while neglecting this space that I have complete control over.
You won’t have to sacrifice your privacy to read what I’ve got to share, and if you choose to receive my emails, I won’t share your address with ANYONE. EVER. Oh, hell no!
I hope you stick around. I hope to build a community outside of social media with you. What would you like to see in this little corner of the internet? I’d love to hear your suggestions. Share them below!