I was laid up with the flu this week, and decided maybe I’d give a new show on Netflix a try. On this one, a designer comes in, redecorates a residence for short term rental, tells them to use a hashtag on Instagram, and saves the day.

“That’s Instagram-worthy.” “There’s your social media pic.” (as though you only need one!) “Use your hashtag and people will find you”. It made me feel nauseous. Literally. I had the flu, and these things made me feel worse.

I genuinely thought to myself “I don’t want to do social media anymore.”

Instagram for Business
The allure of Instagram is undeniable.

And then I thought deeper about why I felt that way. Because it wasn’t a true statement. The true statement was “this is an awful representation of the work these people will have to put in to build their business using social media.”

Social media for business has to come with a plan. Posting content for the sake of posting content won’t present a well-rounded picture of your business. You’ll miss important things – like your address – because they aren’t as photo-worthy as the pic you’ve spent the last hour staging. You won’t pay attention to what a newcomer will see on your profile, because you’re too committed to the the cool collage you were hoping to make with a nine photo grid. You’ll lean toward urgency, rather than focus on your audience. You’ll fail to generate the trust you need to stand out on a busy platform. Sure, you’ll generate tons of bot-engagement with a plethora of hashtags, but you’ll never visit the timeline and engage with other people.

I’m definitely not saying beautiful pics are useless on Instagram. Go to it! But if you’re a local business who requires local customers, styling an Instagram account to look like an Influencer’s, will not help you.

What does help you on Instagram?

  • Your face and your team’s faces.
  • The space you work in, and of course, your products.
  • Flip the camera around and showcase your community.
  • Use the location settings to be found geographically.
  • Follow the people who follow you, and interact with them in the timeline.
  • Direct message your biggest fans.
  • Create group chats for special events, and invite your VIPS to it.

I’m feeling better now. Both because I got that off my chest, and because I’m getting over the flu.