Don’t get me wrong I love Instagram. It’s really helped me grow The Honest Consumer community and for that I’m thankful, but lately I’ve been chatting with some other small business owners and the latest algorithm changes have really got us feeling down. Our likes and interactions don’t match up with the amount of followers because we’re not paying to play. I think it’s really sad. Instagram was, at one point in time, a tool for small businesses to grow, but now it’s another pay-to-play social media. Small businesses like myself and the brands I work with are often pushed down the feed and sometimes followers don’t even see our posts which is heartbreaking. I work really hard to create quality content and provide an educational aspect for consumers, but sometimes my work isn’t even seen just because I’m a small brand who doesn’t have the budget to pay-to-play. And quite frankly even if I did, I don’t think I’d want to. Organic growth has been something that’s really important to me along this journey. I want to genuinely connect with followers and create a community. I think it’s sad that those businesses who have chosen to focus on genuine community and organic growth are punished, in a sense.
I know what you’re thinking….Just voice your opinion to Instagram, you have a decent following. They’ll respond!?!
You can’t voice your opinion. Instagram doesn’t really have customer service. For a couple months I’ve been having issues with Instagram not approving my Shopify to sell Give a Damn Goods products due to an error with Facebook syncing. Hella complicated and literally not even my fault. I’ve e-mailed Instagram, I messaged them multiple times, and even found a phone number to call. Of course nobody answered the phone and then I had to go through a BUNCH of recordings just to be able to leave a message. They really don’t want people leaving messages. I called them about a month ago and with all my other outreach attempts I still haven’t received one response. I’ve probably tried contacting them at least 10 times over the past two months and nothing. No fixes and no response. Oh and get this…their Shopify app has one star because so many people have had the same problem I’ve had and also can’t get ahold of anybody. You’d think Instagram would take pride in their other products designed to help small businesses and tend to those too.
What Can We Learn From All of This?
Now I’m writing all of this because I’ve found it frustrating and writing is therapeutic. But also because as entrepreneurs I think we can learn a few things from this!
1) Value your customers and have some type of customer service where customers can voice their opinions and feel heard.
2) Don’t build your business relying on one platform because when that platform changes or is gone….well….
What Can We Do?
So once again it comes down to power and money just like everything else in our society….and a lot of small businesses don’t have that. When will it stop? Large companies dominating consumerism, space, social media, and more. I don’t know about you but I’m tired of the big name brands…not only because a lot of them are unethical, but also because we’re seen it before. This honestly makes my work even more relevant and important…working to share the stories of small brands doing good. Support small businesses! Follow them, like their photos, and comment because it really makes a difference. Your interactions and interest in small business means a lot! Small brands are likely to respond and typically thrive on building genuine relationships. So check in with your favorite brands on social media and see what they’re up to!
And if my Instagram account happens to disappear after posting this rant, I’m just saying it wasn’t me who took it down and I hope at least some of you saw this and read it ;)