Why I Don’t Use Instagram for Myself or My Business
This is going to be a controversial topic, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth talking about! I’ve been practicing facing controversy head-on lately, so in the spirit of being honest and speaking my truth I wanted to talk today about what is for most people either a pain point, an inspiration and at times, an addiction: Instagram.
People ask me all the time for my Instagram handle and are completely shocked to learn that I don’t use Instagram. Until recently, I was barely even using Facebook. The majority of my traffic comes from Pinterest, and I love it that way!
When I first got started several years ago, I felt this huge pressure to be doing everything. A well-populated Facebook page, a content-rich blog, and more than anything, a picture-perfect Instagram feed. So I started an account and
At the time, I was living in Florianópolis which didn’t make it that hard to create content because I felt like I was living in a postcard 24/7. There were tons of beaches and tropical waterfalls and fresh seafood restaurants (albeit I was living in a literal shack, but more on that in my upcoming Florianópolis post).
But creating content for Instagram was exhausting. Like, mind, body and soul-sucking exhausting.
I started questioning whether it was worth it. Not just for my business, but even for personal use. And then after several months, I decided to cut it out completely. Here’s why!
Reason One: Appearances
I’m an introvert, and in general I’m not a fan of appearing in photos. I’d much rather be curating mood boards and choosing styling for other people than appearing in pictures myself. It’s not even about being self-conscious, but rather I know there are so many other ways I could be giving back or creating rather than posing for 30 minutes trying to get the perfect photo. Not to mention my poor husband who used to take the pictures! We had some laughs doing it, but it was just not me at all.
I feel (and mind you, this is my perspective) that our culture has become so ME ME ME centered that you go on any social media and it’s a constant stream of selfies, portraits, or a highlight reel of everyone’s life. Which is totally fine and works for a lot of people, so I’m not going to generalize or say “this is good” or “this is bad”. Every case is unique.
But on the flip side, there’s so much pressure to put your whole life out there for the world to see, and for it to be perfect. Nobody’s posting photos of them getting off their redeye flight at 6am with bloodshot eyes and gravity-defying hair static (literally me, every time). That one “perfect” moment that you see on your feed is taken to mean that every moment of your life has to be that way. Hence, the negative impact on mental health (see Reason Three below).
Personally, I wasn’t sure I wanted my life out there for the world to see! I know my life isn’t perfect, and I didn’t want to try to pretend otherwise. I didn’t want to make it about ME and my face. I wanted it to be about the story.
That’s why this Wild Side rebrand was so important to me and why I consciously steered away from ME-focused imagery. I wanted the illustrations to be a nice refresher, to take people away from the comparisonitis that is so rampant when it comes to brand and social media photos, and into a space that they can feel free to dream. Illustrations are about essence, and leave you free to interpret and imagine as you like.
And so I stopped creating content that was focused on myself and my life, and started creating more content geared towards helping my audience. The verdict: it was time to let Instagram go.
Reason Two: Return on Time
When you see a picture on your feed, you’re actually seeing the result of MANY hours of work, the tip of the iceberg. It actually takes forever to get a picture that you like. And then there’s editing. And scheduling, caption writing, staying up to date on comments, connecting with others, and on and on. Even just for sharing a virtual “portfolio” of design work was just as time consuming to plan out the grid and keep creating those IG-worthy designs sneaks.
Before I knew it, Instagram alone was consuming 10+ hours of my week. And guess what? In 4 months, I only got 1 client specifically from Instagram. ONE. Meanwhile, Pinterest was taking up less than 1 hour per week and I was getting 1-2 leads per WEEK from Pinterest, not to mention nearly 100 email signups a DAY. So the time math just didn’t add up.
Even Instagram powerhouse (and let’s be honest – Girl Crush) Jenna Kutcher says: “Pinterest is the #1 referral source for my business, above google, above Instagram, above everything”. So even with 800k followers on Instagram, Pinterest still drives more results for her business. Just some food for thought.
It wasn’t just the production side either. Each little “scroll session” started to take its toll.
I was never a big social media user, and to be honest I only started using Instagram because I felt I “had to” for my business. Every time I caught myself scrolling I couldn’t help but feel guilty that there were so many better things I could be doing with my time.
Imagine if instead of those 30 minutes a day on Instagram, I spent them reading or listening to audiobooks? Or what if I dedicated myself to learning something new, like painting? Or even just invested them back into building a more scalable part of my business?
The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much time I was throwing away doing literally *nothing*. I wanted to spend my time elsewhere, improving myself and my business, and just couldn’t justify how much work went into it. Instagram is like a full-time job (and props to those social media managers out there – I see you, and you’re rockstars!)
So I made the conscious decision to focus on ONE social media (Pinterest) that was giving me the best return on my time.
Reason Three: Mental Health
And finally (this one is the kicker), I firmly believe that Instagram is the #1 (or if not, in the top 3) main contributors to the decline of our generation’s mental health, and there’s data to back that up.
The Catch-22 with Instagram is that you feel this pressure to be perfect, to live this perfect life. And all you see is people posting images of their “perfect lives”, which in turn makes you feel sh*tty because your life really isn’t perfect, and then the downward spiral goes from there.
Even when we know the photo is staged, we can’t help but feel that emotional kickback. This is especially true for young women, who suffer the biggest blowback of negative self-image, anxiety, sleep deprivation and Fear of Missing Out.
For me, spending time on Instagram made me focus more on what OTHER people were doing with their lives and less on what I needed to do in MY OWN life. That was probably the biggest factor in wanting to give it up completely.
By cutting out Instagram, my anxiety levels went down and I felt more self-confident in my decisions. Overall, I found I was more creative, better able to deal with stress and happier about myself and my personal journey.
I no longer felt the need to measure myself by what someone else was doing, but could turn inwards and say, hey this is what I want to do or this is what’s best for me, or I could improve in this area without the pressure of feeling I needed to do it just because that’s what I saw on Social Media. It’s helped me to be more authentic and explore myself and my vision for Wild Side.
There’s a lot of merit in Instagram and it’s done so much for a lot of businesses. However for me, it wasn’t a good fit for myself, or my business and that’s ok.
The takeaway here is finding out what works for YOU, your business, and most importantly, your audience. Don’t be fooled into thinking you *have to* have an Instagram account just because everyone else does. It’s much better to pick ONE social media to focus on and do it really well than to spread yourself too thin trying to do it all at once.
Do I still occasionally browse Instagram? Absolutely, but from my desktop computer, and 90% of the time it’s from following the link from a Pin on Pinterest. Will I try Instagram again in the future? Who knows! Maybe someday; I’m a never say never kind of person.
But for now, I’ll keep focusing on Pinterest. So far, I’ve built a 23k+ mailing list on Pinterest alone. How? Well, I have an online course in the works right now that will show you exactly how. But in the meantime, you can find out how I gained 1.3 million monthly views on Pinterest in 45 days or sign up below to get our Trailblazer’s Guide to Pinterest.
If you’re looking for an alternative to Instagram and want some tips on how to make Pinterest work for you, check out our new freebie: The Trailblazer’s Guide to Pinterest. Sign up below and we’ll send it to you!