About the episode
Hey friends, welcome to episode number 18 of Entrepreneurial Outlaws. Today, we are talking about Instagram, the grid, the entrepreneurial frenemy of social media, the place that we love to hate. We get really excited when we have conversations and when we create a piece of content that really attracts and engages our audience, but it’s the same platform that can leave us feeling drained mentally, physically, it can leave us feeling overwhelmed. It can feel very complicated to just navigate and figure out how we use it in the best way for our businesses. There is so much information around how to grow your Instagram account.
So today we’re going to dive into three reasons you’re overthinking Instagram and these reasons are not here to make you feel like you’re doing anything wrong, in fact, I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong. I think often we overthink because there is so much information. You already know how to shop this platform, I’ve talked about it over the last few weeks, right here on the podcast. I’ve shared with you how to tap into your intuition as a business owner, across your business. It’s those four phases. It’s what I’m calling The Outlaw Method: listen, create, connect and serve. So this doesn’t just apply to your business and your marketing, it applies to your content too and we’re going to talk a little bit about this as well, but for now get comfy and let’s dive into the three reasons you overthinking Instagram.
Topics discussed in episode #18
- Why the amount of followers you have does not indicate success
- What the Instagram algorithm is and why we should stop focusing on it
- Strategy vs. tactics and when you should focus on each of them
- Traffic platforms vs. visibility platforms and what you should promote on each of them
- Focusing on posting quality content instead of quantity content and the power of repurposing
- The role that intuition plays in your Instagram content and strategy
- Listening: The most underrated marketing tool
- Why we need to focus on playing the long game and what this looks like
- My viral Instagram post
- Download the Instagram Alchemy Roadmap
- Learn more about The Outlaws Mentorship
Connect with Melanie here:
Hey friends, welcome to episode number 18 of entrepreneurial Outlaws. Today, we are talking about Instagram, the grid, the entrepreneurial of me, of social media, this place that's, we love to hate, and we get really excited when we have conversations. And when we create a piece of content that really attracts and engages our audience, but it's the same platform that can leave us feeling drained mentally, physically, it can leave us feeling overwhelmed. It can feel very complicated to just navigate and figure out how we use it in the best way for our businesses. There is so much information around how to grow your Instagram account. Now, if you will have been here for a while, you know that I am a big fan of keeping your audience small, not chasing at the algorithm, not chasing numbers, not chasing this vanity metric of the blue tick or swipe up feature.
Sure. If you have more followers, you potentially have more people to put your content in front of you have more people to engage with and connect with. But for the most part, when we look at those bigger accounts, we don't actually see a high engagement rate. In most cases, you actually see a lower engagement rate because a lot of the times when an account, whether it's an influencer or a celebrity or someone in the online business space, when they go viral and they start to rapidly gain followers on that platform, what can actually happen is these people that kind of, they're just there for five minutes, right? That just that to follow along, they're excited. They want to be in that sphere. Or at least they think they do. And then they kind of fall off. They they're there and they probably don't unfollow you, but they're not really engaging.
They're not seeing your content. They're not engaging. And so the engagement rate doesn't actually get any higher. Now, it really doesn't matter at the end of the day, as long as there is some engagement. And as long as the engagement is turning into part of your customer journey and you want making money from your business, because otherwise we just have a very expensive hobby. So today we're going to dive into three reasons. You're overthinking Instagram and these reasons are not here to make you feel like you're doing anything wrong. In fact, I don't think you're doing anything wrong. I think often we overthink because there is so much information. You already know how to shop in this platform. In fact, I talked about it over the last few weeks, right here on the podcast. I've shared with you how to tap into your intuition as a business owner, across your business. It's those four phases. It's what I'm calling the outworn method. Listen, create connect and stuff. So this doesn't just apply to your business and your marketing. It applies to your content too. And we're going to talk a little bit about this as well, but for now get comfy and let's dive into the three reasons you overthinking Instagram.
Okay. So as I said, these three reasons that we're overthinking Instagram, this is not necessarily something you can't change. These are all things you can change, right? Which is the first good piece of news, right? These are things you can actually control because let's just be honest. There's a lot of stuff. And a lot of things happening on that platform that we cannot physically change. We cannot change the algorithm. We cannot beat the algorithm. We can not change it. We can not control it. We cannot hack it. All of that, that we see. And trust me when I just take a scroll through Pinterest, the amount of pins I see telling us how we can beat YAG rhythm, hack, the algorithm, whatever it might be. It is utter. You can not be or hack an algorithm because the algorithm is smarter than us.
It is constantly changing and constantly evolving. And we don't know what it's thinking or what it's doing. It probably doesn't even know what it's thinking or doing. And it is constantly evolving and changing. And so therefore you may figure out one piece and the next day it changes and you're back to square one. So it is a completely pointless game. So let's just like drop the algorithm stuff. It's not here to ruin our lives. It's not here to hide our content from people. It is doing its job, but we just don't really know exactly what the job is. There is there are ideas and there are predictions, but we don't exactly how it's walking at all times. What we do know is what we have in front of us. We have a platform is based on imagery is still based on imagery. Whether that imagery is a video or a static image, an infographic, a quote, whether it's a real or a story, this platform is still very visual.
And then with our captions, we have full control over how we decide to do that. You can write a short caption or a long caption. You can add a Moody's or not. It is really up to you. There is no one size fits all now over my Instagram. And how can we roadmap? I share with you the caption formula I have found works really, really well for my business. And I found it works really well for number of my clients as well. So there are ways in which you can create captions that will enhance what you're trying to share. But again, even this formula doesn't work for everyone because it really depends on what kind of content you're sharing and how you write your content. So these three things, these three things that we're overthinking, and these are things we can actually shift. We can control them.
We can change. And we can actually allow this to become easier. Because at the end of the day, when we start to overthink things, we tend to over-complicate stuff, right? So it goes from potentially being quite simple. It's not always easy, but it is simple. We over-complicate it. And then we start to overcompensate, right? We start to think, Oh, well, I'll do more. I'll post more. I'll do this and I'll do this and I'll start this. And I'll add this in. We do this in business a lot from other thinking, we go to over-complicating, then we start to overcompensate and then we're overwhelmed, right? This is the process we typically take in many areas of a business. And Instagram is no different. So let's just take a little step back, realize there's some things we can't change. We need to just let that be. And here are some things we can actually control.
So the first reason we are overthinking Instagram is because the strategy we are using is actually not a strategy. It's actually a bunch of tactics, right? So a strategy is a plan and it is a long-term plan. It's it's a long game. I know the long game is not sexy, but let's be honest. If you want to have a business for longer than five minutes, you're playing the long game. If you want a business, that's going to provide a sustainable income and you don't ever want to go back to the corporate world. You're playing the long game. That is just a given. So you have to stop playing the long game, the long game and participating in the long game. And your strategy is part of that. So when we talk about strategy, I often hear people telling me, Oh, well, I want to grow my email list. And I'm like, cool, but that's not a strategy. That's something you want. But the strategy is actually what that's going to do for your business. So we need to think bigger picture when it, in terms of strategy, we need to actually say to ourselves, okay, Instagram is part of my business strategy as part of my marketing strategy. And we want to actually think about,
We actually want to think about what the big vision is. How does Instagram fit into a business? So in this case, how is Instagram part of that strategy? How is it going to help us grow a business, make more income, whatever it is that we are looking to achieve in our business, how does Instagram play a part of that things like how often you're posting the layout of your grid or which hashtags you're using. These are things that support that, but then not the actual strategy. So looking at your Instagram strategy for all these small pieces, the small things, they don't need work when you have a clear story path. Okay? So all of these smaller things, these things that we see as super important, because marketing gurus have told us that really important and they matter, but they are part of the bigger picture, your hashtags, and you know, which days you post your posting schedule, all of this stuff, it is a small part of the strategy is what makes the strategy whole it's part of the tack, it's their tactics and up a strategy.
So focusing on the small things, they only work when you have a clear story path and an audience journey. Okay? So your story path is how you leave a story through your captions, through your posts, the story you tell about your business, about your skills, about what you do. And at the end of it, the solution is whatever is your offering, right? Whatever is that you sell, whether you are a content creator, an influencer, an artist, a jewelry designer, a coach, a mentor, whatever your business is at the end of your story path, that will be offered free and paid. And they build up your audience journey. This is the journey you take your audience on these things don't work independently. They are part of the bigger strategy. Okay? So all of these small tactics, they help you to achieve the end goal. The strategy is made up of the smaller pieces and they work in harmony to actually help you achieve something. In this case, it's usually to grow your visibility.
Now, this is another factor that we don't consider. And it's one of the reasons we get stuck on overthinking our, our Instagram approach and our Instagram strategy. And that is the, we are not considering what we're using Instagram for. We need to understand the Instagram is not a visibility platform. And when I talk about visibility, I'm talking about like traffic. So there are community-based platforms and there are traffic or visibility based platforms. There are platforms that are designed to have conversations, build communities, engage, and, you know, start a conversation. Those kinds of platforms are Instagram, Facebook, especially Facebook groups, mighty networks, which is a kind of Facebook group, alternative places like Twitter, but it's a great place to have conversations. But if you're looking for visibility, you want eyes on your content. And I'm, I'm talking about like lead magnets, master classes, webinars you'll maybe you have a lead magnet, you have free templates, whatever it might be.
You need to be bringing traffic to those places on a regular basis. So that kind of platform is a CA is a, sorry, it's a visibility platform. That's what I like to call a visibility platform because it's getting eyes on what you do on a regular basis. And that kind of platform is Pinterest. Your email list, YouTube, your blog, maybe a podcast. Those kinds of places really bring new and fresh eyes into your world. Instagram is a long game. If you are a small or micro business and you do not have a huge, huge, I couldn't speak them a huge, a budgets, the advertising, right. Then you're not going to be able to play in the same league as those businesses. And so we're looking really, even if you have a small ad spend, we are looking mostly for organic traffic. We're looking to really leverage these tactics to help us with our biggest strategy, but we can't rely on tactics to do that.
We can't rely on hashtags alone. We can't rely on our bio. We can't get really obsessed and all the think the days and times we're going to post the graphics we're going to use, whether you choose to create video, use rails or HGTV, all of those things, they don't work independently. They're part of that bigger strategy and your story path and your audience journey. This is how you kind of build you build that visibility. You build that community. You build that engagement on this platform. So your storyteller path is how you take your audience on a journey. And eventually you're inviting them to work with you or buy something from you. Your story path is the soul. The very, very soul. It's the soul of your whole strategy. It's what builds connection. It's what builds engagement. It allows you to build anticipation and it positions you as someone that your audience enjoy consuming content from, which is really, really important because social media is designed to be social.
We are that to consume content, especially on Instagram. We don't go to Instagram to learn how to do most of us go there to numb out. We go there to check in to see what people are up to. What have they done today. And, you know, for most of us, we check in with our friends, our best friends or real friends, but we don't use Instagram as a place to go and kind of search how to do something. We do that on Google. We do that on YouTube. We do on Pinterest. So this is how a creating your story path. And this is how you go from just being likable, to being reliable and relatable in someone's feed. Because what you're doing is you are weaving in a story you are, and I don't, I'm not talking about a fictional story. This is like content that is valuable and of service to your audience.
And you're doing this through storytelling on your feed. Your story path is built from your intuition and your ability to listen before you create, right. I'm going to be talking about listening before you create a million times over because it's so, so important. And it's really, really, really worth repeating your story park is built from your intuition and your ability to listen before you create, we've got to stop posting just to fill a, fake quota that someone else created, right? Raise your hand. If you have ever got to Thursday and gone, Oh crap, I haven't posted this week or I was supposed to post, or I was supposed to break something and I haven't done it. And then you're kind of, you're either rushing to find something to say, and you kind of slap it up. And it's like, eh, but I filled my quarter and we've all done it.
Or you don't post at all. And that could end up going on for God knows how long. Now there's no shame in either of those things. There is no reason to feel bad, but when we're presented with the opportunity to post something for the sake of posting or because we should, or don't just don't. And I don't know, that's like, but you don't need to be consistent for the sake of consistency. You don't need to post just because you said you were going to, no one else knows that you are the only one that knew that you were going to post and you don't need to post for the sake of filling a quarter. Because when you post quality content over quantity, you will engage your audience with your brand, with your business, with your content, right. Quality over quantity. And I know that we hear this a lot, but I think sometimes we have to hear it a lot of times to realize what that means.
So that means posting once a week in your feed, but posting something that has been created from passion, it solves a problem. It speaks to audience. It came from the fact that you listened to them. That is going to be far more engaging than posting five things over week. Plus let's forget, we live in a very, kind of burnt out and overwhelmed society. And as entrepreneurs, I think we're like my, like at the top of that game, most of the time. And I remember a few years ago when I first started my business and this was when Facebook was like the platform before we will worst over to Instagram and the whole, at the beginning of my business, it was like post every day, you should really be posting multiple times a day on Facebook. I ran out of things to say really quickly, right?
I ran out of things really quickly to say, and I feel like there's this shame that's been put upon us. Like, if you can't come up with brand new content every single week, then you're failing at your business. Well, that's not true because who has that much to say, I don't have that much to say, I have a lot to say, but I don't have that much to say there is only so much you can say. So stop posting quality over quantity. Remember that your feed is not in chronological order when people are viewing it. So when people are just scrolling through that main feed, they might see a post of yours for five days ago, but you could have posted five minutes ago. It's just the way it is. We can't, again, something we can't change. So again, the other thing is to remember is that you can repurpose content.
Repurposing is like, it's one of my favorite tools. And I feel like it's one of the most underutilized tools. And again, we do actually over-complicate repurposing because we sit down to repurpose something and then we end up rewriting it completely. But you really don't need to do that. So yes, make sure it's still relevant, but repurpose, repurpose content, especially if you know, you have content that a year ago did really, really well, right? It's such an underutilized tool. Look at the data which we're going to get into in a minute and repurpose. So I want to set a little challenge for you. A mini challenge. I want to ask you like, and this is obviously depends on how many times you post per week on Instagram, but what if you were to post 25% less in the feed next week? Okay.
Or 20%. It just depends on how many times you post. So let's say you post four times a week, you're now going to post once next week, if you post five times a week, you're going to post once next week. What if you were to post once and make that post, this incredible story, this incredible, like, love story of connection between you and your audience, right? This, this piece of content that deeply resonates with you, which means it probably resonates with them and it connects you and your audience and what have you didn't hold back. Right? I've been asking people this question for the last few weeks, I'm cools. What if you didn't hold back? What if you shown your lights, right? You like took that little demo switch and you turned it all the way up, right? All the way up.
What if you were to speak your absolute truth, right? You know, when you have those posts, I was having a conversation with a client the other day, she was going to write something and it was kind of out. It wasn't necessarily uncomfortable. It just wasn't her usual content. She really wanted to say it. And then she didn't, she didn't post it. And she's a bit she said to me, but the problem is the content I was going to share. Now over the last week, I haven't shared it. And haven't posted because I've held myself back from saying the things I want to say, right? What if you were to speak your actually true, turn, that demo, switch all the way up and see what happens.
Now. Those are guaranteed. Anything is going to happen, but it's, it's worth trying. Isn't it it's worth testing. We are living in this era of uncertainty, this era of life being nothing like we imagined a year ago, I was getting ready to celebrate my birthday. And we weren't even talking about COVID. I don't think I even knew it existed. And yet here we are right. A year later. And we're in our third look down here in the UK. And I'm just very much like, look, if you were in a position where, you know, you're holding yourself back, or you know that you haven't been shining your light all the way on what is holding you back. And what if you didn't do that? What if you didn't hold yourself back and look, I'm going to just stop and say, I will be here. I will be here to support you.
Right. So if you actually take me up on this challenge, tag me in the post or share the post with me and say, Melanie, I did it. Right. And so when you sweating through your t-shirt or you're concerned, or you're feeling really crunchy about the fact that you just posted once, or you just said something that you would never normally say, or you shared your truth and you took that line and you turned it all the way up and now maybe you're freaking out and your lights. Now the demo, I'm going to be here to flip my Zippo. I'm not cool enough to have as they play. But if I was, I would do that and I will like that up again. So I will make sure that I can celebrate in this challenge and this win with you, because here's what I know for sun.
I don't know how your audience are going to react. What I do know for sun is they're not going to suddenly unfollow you. I know that your business is not going to crumble, right? It's I know that for some. So that is my challenge for you this week, post once, but make it an Epic story of connection between you and your audience. Turn that light all the way up, right. All the way up. Okay. I feel like I got a little bit preachy that I'll do that sometimes. So I talked a little bit about community versus field visibility platforms. This is really important. This is another reason why we overthink, because we are trying to take people on Instagram and we're trying to get them to like go to a blog and sign up for this and head hit and look, sometimes it happens. It does happen.
But we also know that for the most of us, we are not getting like for most of us, we are not getting a a hundred email subscribers a week. If that's what you're trying to grow, we're not getting that from Instagram. You're probably not getting a hundred new podcast listeners a week from Instagram. I know I'm certainly not. I'm I'm reminding the people who already listen, Hey, there's a new episode, but I'm not necessarily getting a hundred new people a week or even a month coming to my Instagram platform and then leaving and going somewhere else within my business, it's just not happening. So we need to understand that Instagram is a community-based platform. It's still a community-based platform, right? That's why everyone. And you know, every Instagram grew out that wants to encourage you to be in the, be in stories and get people into the DMS.
As I like to Kula, I'm laughing because I'm just like, it really dehumanizes social media and it dehumanizes relationships and connections. Right? so let's just kind of squash the, get people into the DMS tool, the way you do this. And it really ethical and humanized way is just by being a human right. Stop following people because like, Oh, Hey, they might have people who are my, who are in my audience, or I want to pitch you like it. No, we can smell that stuff a mile off. We don't want to be pitched to. You don't want to be pitched to don't do it to other people. So use the platform as a place to build community, right? It is a community platform. It's not to say that people won't go and click the link in your bio. It's not to say that people won't sign up for your lead magnet.
They won't sign up for your master class. They probably will, but it's not going to, it's not going to be the same level of traffic. If you apply the same energy focus and attention that you gave to Instagram, to somewhere that is designed for that kind of traffic source. Right. Does that make sense? So if you were to put, because we put a lot of time and energy and effort into our Instagram feeds, right? I know I do. And listen, I am right here with all of you. I, I overthink my Instagram feed, right? I'm trying to be better. But what we need to do is understand that if we took all the energy and time and effort and resources, we put into Instagram and put it into something like a blog or Pinterest or a podcast or YouTube, and I'm not telling you to go do that.
But I'm saying if you did, the, the the visibility you would get from a different platform would be vastly different, right? Because it is a different type of platform it's created for a different reason. It is about traffic source and Instagram just isn't that. So understanding that Instagram is actually not a place where people come to learn how to do something, but they may come to what's your funny reels. So you dancing around a pointing at the screen or whatever it is you're doing understanding. That's really important. Also understanding what the purpose of your Instagram and feed feed or stories is. What is the purpose of your content when you post on Instagram, right? Where do you want people to go when you do us and to leave the platform and how are you going to get them? How are you going to encourage people to take that kind of action, right?
What is the purpose of your feed? And story is the purpose to grow. Your email list is the purpose to get viewers on to a video is what is the purpose, right? Just what is the purpose? That is my question. The second thing is, this is really, really important. How do you want people to feel when they read your content? Now I took a lot about intuition. I took a lot about your needs as a business owner, and we're going to get there cause that's important to hear as well. But for right now, I want you to stop thinking about what you need from your content or what you want to read from your content or what you want to say. How do you want people to feel when they read your content? So when you publish something, what is the purpose of it? And how do you want people to feel?
Because sometimes you might want you probably not just one thing, right? You're going to, there's going to be different posts for different reasons. You might want people to feel inspired, right? You might want to get them to kind of reconnect, right? Kind of you want them to be pulled into doing something, taking some kind of action. Maybe you want to motivate them. Right? Motivation is more of a push energy. Maybe there's like a push, like a kick in the pants, kind of energy. Do you want them to feel held right? Safe? Do you want them to feel less alone? Right? You want to, again, that comes down to building community. Do you want it to feel less alone? Do you want them to feel heard and safe? Do you want them to be educated? You know, do you want to teach them something? And that's really important.
What type of content creates, where are you? Are you an inspirational content, creator and educational or both, right? Do you want people to feel you want people to laugh when they see your content? Do you want your content to be kind of funny, really, really important questions. When it comes to building this community is understanding what the purpose is and how you want people to feel and also know what type of content creates a you are. Right? I share a lot of similar content in my feed. This is because if I don't, I will overthink it. Again, I don't have that. I don't have that much to say, or I don't have this kind of endless time resource or creative skills. I'm pretty creative. I also typically will feel inspired by different things. And that's how I create my content. I can be inspired by a conversation.
I can be inspired by an image. Something will inspire me. Sometimes it's 3:00 AM in the morning and I wake up and I'm like, Oh, that's a great idea. Right? We get inspired by different things. We are individuals. So your creative source is going to be different to mine. And your, your audience is different to mine. So when you listen to them, you need to make sure that you are creating from that place, right? You've heard them, you've listened. And you know, what type of content creator you are and the purpose of your content. So talking of listening, because you'll most underrated tool in social media, on, on Instagram and in marketing is listening. And there's actually two sides to listening. There's listening to the data and listening to your intuition, right? We're going to kind of come up both because they're both equally important, but they both come from a very different place.
Listening to your data, looking at the data, gathering data, it's much more of a kind of masculine energy. It's a very do energy. It's like it's strategic and it's numbers. And it's, it's really important. Now some of you may find looking at data, looking at numbers really hard. Totally. Okay. Right. We all have different strengths and different parts of our brains. We work in different ways. We find certain things easy and some things really hard and crunchy. So listening to the data for some of you might be really hard for some of you listening to your intuition might be really hot. Now I'm going to assume, because we're talking about thinking and I have come to the realization. The overthinking is the opposite of intuition. So there's a good chance that we also all have the overthinker in us, which can lead to a low of in decisiveness.
But what's really important is understanding how these two things play out on Instagram. So let's start with data, listening to data. Very simple. We look into our insights, we'll look at insights, insights. We're looking at the numbers. We're looking at the information. The platform gives us on each post. How many likes did it get? How many comments did they get? How many shares saves? I think it's called post engagements. Now. how many profile clicks, how many website clicks, all of that information that you can get when you click the little handbag or icon in your feed, and then you go to insights and you know, you can play around with it from that 30 days, two years, whatever it is. But it's really fascinating when we can tap into that data, right? When you can look at it. And the reason it's fascinating is because if you listen to the data and you listen to your intuition and you listen to your audience and you do all these things on repeat, you can really start to see patents come through.
So I want to give you some kind of context about, I guess, nine months ago or so I have, this was not planned, but I did want to share how I was feeling about something in the online space. And I've recently, reshared a similar post, but I created this Kara carousel graphic. And it was very simple, had a lot of text on it, which a lot of people would tell you is not a good idea on Instagram. And it was kind of funny. But it was also very like, it was like a truthful and post, right. It was kind of like cooling. It was a cooling out part. So it was cooling shower in the online space, which I, since then I've now do on a regular basis. But that was one of the first times I did it. That post went nuts. But my like tiny corner of Instagram, you know, where I live in my Instagram feed and that post went viral for me now.
It was, it was crazy. And I was like, wow, okay. So for a point of view, listening to my audience, I was like, okay, people, people deeply resonated with this. I looked at the comments, I looked at what people were saying, which parts of that swipe, you know, where were people saying, I love number three or I love number two. You know, whatever it was that kind of information is priceless because what I understood was okay, first of all, I'm not the only one that feels this way. Second of all, we need to keep talking about this and we've continued talking about it. And here we are now talking about it on a podcast. So that was the first thing, listening to the data, right? All the time I continued using this carousel, this kind of graphic, I use it in different colorways, but I repeat it on a regular basis.
You probably see one on my feet, every one and nine. If I then look at my top posts overall for the last two years, my top 12 posts, six of them are these graphics. It's not the graphic. Yes. The graphic people now know that's my stuff, but it wasn't the graphic. It was the graphic as well as what I was saying. And the fact that I took that, I stopped dimming my light and I shown that light right up. Right. I lit myself full way up. I don't think I explained that probably, but you know what I mean? I took, I took that post and I listened and I was okay, let's try it slightly differently. Let's try it with different content and a different caption and see what happens. And every single time when I've shed even a different type of piece of content, different colors, it continues to be some of my top posts, right?
Most engaged posts. So that is, you know, that, to me, shows, listening to my audience, looking at the data, listening to my intuition, which was, Hey, I'm ready to speak my truth. And then I kept testing and I feel like this is something again, it's not sexy. And I get it, but this is something we don't talk about enough in the online space, testing things out and not taking everything. So possibly now that is something I've had to learn along the way. And that is one of the differences between data and intuition, right. We post something and we spend ages creating it and then it, we put it out there and it doesn't do what we want. How many times have we taken it personally? It's because we think, we now think that we suck, right? Wish it were rubbish. They don't care. Why do we bother them? There's different scales, right? That's like a scale of self-doubt and are in a critic showing up. And it's definitely, you're in a critic showing up. But when we see that kind of response or lack of response, we need to shift and be, and learn how to, if it's really hard to be able to shift into that, data-driven part of our brain and say, okay, this post didn't do what I was hoping it would do. People did not connect with it.
What does that tell me? Right. And it's up to you to kind of figure out what is it telling you? You know, what is it telling you for me? One of the biggest pieces of data I have gathered over the last year is if I share a stoke photo, it just, no, nobody cares. They stock photo stock, stock photography does not deeply resonate or connect with my audience or you, I should say, cause you are a member of my audience. So stock photography just falls flat. And I found the things that, why can I keep doing them? Because they work. And I've talked about this a few times on the show as well. When we find what works, do more of that, don't now put that down and look for the next thing. Right? You've found something works, keep doing it and figure out ways to do it slightly differently, test it out, see what works.
So that is the difference between listening to data and listening to your intuition and listening to your audience now as a content creator, and you are a content creator, that's one of your hats that you wear. You may feel a sense of responsibility to your audience, but you also have a sense of responsible. You have a responsibility to yourself, right? So become aware of what you can and can't control on this platform to understand what works for all of your resources and what doesn't right. Resources being time, energy, and money, right? And this comes back to that cycle of like over thinking over complicating, overcompensating. And now we're overwhelmed. We need to be aware of what we can and can't control. You. Can't control the algorithm. You can't control whether or not someone sees your posts, but you can control what you put in that post.
You can control how many times you post a week, right? Those things are within our control. And it really is my belief that when we tap into that sense of inner wisdom, that self-awareness of what is actually within our control. We are able to take the pressure off our content creation. So when we start to see that there is data and there is intuition, there is information and it can be, it doesn't have to be possible. We can take the pressure off of our content creation because now we know what works. So that means we don't try to create a brand new image. We're not trying to create a brand new graphic in Canva or whenever it might be, because we now know what works and we can keep doing more of that.
We can see our own work more clearly. We can start use our intuition as a guide for listening and creating, connecting, and sobbing with our audience. Because if we don't listen, why should anybody listen to us? Right. If we don't listen to what they're telling us, good or bad, why should anybody listen to us? Because here's the thing. If we don't listen and we keep putting out content that people don't engage with, they don't find it's not what they need. Then we're just going to keep getting really frustrated. We're going to continue this cycle. I'm going to get really frustrated.
And I know it can be really hard to kind of take a step back and look at it objectively and say, okay, it's not working, but that is tapping into your intuition. That is not over thinking. But instead saying, okay, this isn't working. What do I need to shift? What do I need to adjust? Because if we can't see what people's needs are, why should they trust us to solve the need? Right. If we don't listen, they're not going to listen to us. If we can't see what their needs are through that listening, why are they going to trust us? Right. They're not going to trust us to solve that need
So most Instagram strategies don't work because they are not strategies, right? They're not strategies. They are tactics. They are riddled with rigidity and structure and like this do more mentality. Right? And there's also a lot of rules. I mean, how many people I've spoken to in the last year who have said to me, but I have to do video or have to figure this out. I have to learn how to do reels. I have to. I'm like, no, you don't have to do any of that stuff right now. Right. That shouldn't have to, is it, is it clubhouse? We got, I can't remember. It's cool to clubhouse. I think that's what it's called. And I keep saying it and I'm going to be honest. Like, there's been a few moments from like, should I be on here? I have just like, I did not have the time or the energy to do something new.
I just posted my first ever video to take talk because, and I'm literally only doing it because I wanted them post them as rails on Instagram. Like that's literally the only reason. And I, I thought to myself, it'd be really interesting to see because I'm not really following any kind of strategy on ticktock and I have no interest in doing it, how that will play out. I'll let you know. That could be an episode in a few months time, but you don't have to do all these things. I've had conversations with clients over the last year where I'm like, what if you stopped posting five days a week? Especially like last year during lockdown and homeschooling and the amount of people I spoke to who were struggling and yet with like killing themselves to create these incredible pieces of content for Instagram. Sure. But what if you were to just post one instead of five and most of the time the reaction has been, but that goes against everything I've ever been told. Cool. But it doesn't mean that it's wrong and it doesn't mean it's not going to work for you. It just means that people don't want to talk about it. It just means that people want to sell you on the idea of quick, quick numbers, quick launches, quick growth. That is the exception like that is not the standard which most businesses grow.
We have to play the long game. If you are here to be part of the long game, you have to play the long game. Right? So instead of panicking and instead of feeling that we have to do more overcompensating when we don't get the engagement, instead of trying to post-war and show up more and trail the new things and change our branding and buy a stock photo membership, instead of overcompensating with new stuff, understanding that we need to listen data, intuition audience. Those are the three things we need to be listening to within our strategy. And by doing that, we can start to tap into our intuition and stop overthinking our content creation because do visuals matter on Instagram? Yes they do. But what is your, what is your audience want to see? Right? Yes. Instagram is still a visual platform. Yes. Visuals matter, but what matters more is what your audience actually want to see.
I said to you about that swipe carousel posts. I created, it has a lot of text on it. There was a time when I would not have dreams of creating a post with that much text on it, but it works for me, but it may not work for you. So you have to test things out and see what works do you need to show up? Sure. But how does your, how does your audience consume content on Instagram really important in a way you do get to decide how your audience are going to consume content on Instagram. What I mean by that is if you don't want to do video, if you are really uncomfortable showing your face on camera, you don't have to do it. The caveat to that is if you then go and do it, don't be surprised when people are super excited to see your face.
Don't be surprised when your audience is like, Oh my God, I can see your face. This is so exciting. And they don't, maybe they're maybe they're not saying that, but they're like really engaged with your content because I see this with clients all the time. Right? They don't post a picture of their face. They post of their products and it's like, okay, cool, cool. Pretty picture, pretty picture. And Oh my God, this is a person. I know this is a human being. And then the engagement goes up because of course it does because people who know you are surprised to see a picture of you. So, you know, sure. You need to show up. You get to sort of decide what that looks like. You don't have to do it my way or anybody. Else's way you get to do it your way. But the energy you breathe into your content through listening is more important than creating the perfect Vishal.
It's more important than showing up seven days straight. Like honestly, I mean, I think it's amazing to these people who, when I look at their Instagram or watch their stories, I'm like, wow, they are incredibly consistent, but that's not me. I am reliable with my content. You know that when you see one of my pieces of content, I'm going to make you feel a certain way. I am going to inspire you. I'm going to get that zipper out and light you up. Right? I'm going to make sure your light is really bright. If you're not feeling that way, I'm going to tell the truth. I'm going to call out the things that I really dislike about the online business space. That is what I do. And that is what people see when they come to my account. That is what I have created. And that is my reliability.
What's yours. You have to think about it from a place of reliability and not consistency, right? Because especially if you have a lot of other stuff going on in your life, and if you are an overwhelmed AMPATH, right? Like me, you can't be trying to show up seven days straight, like energy level nine, because that's not where we functional live ever. Right. I don't know if I've gotten to energy level nine in the last year. So, you know, it's like, that's not necessarily you, then don't try and create a strategy that, or even use tactics that would be at that place. Right? Allow yourself to breathe yourself. We're going to try to say, breathe yourself into your content, right? Through listening. That's more important, more important than creating the perfect visual or showing up for seven days straight. And if visuals and Canva are, and all that stuff is not your strong suit, you don't have to invest in like the most expensive course or graphic designer.
Like sure. If you can do that great, but best in templates like that is a majority of what I've done over the years. And when I look back at the graphics and visuals, I used to use in my business five years ago, it makes me like Shivah, they were like Pepto-Bismol pink. And there was just like, no, the stylistically, they were just not good at all. But over time by kind of just continuing to practice, understanding what I like, what I'm good at playing around, you know, five years of using Canva has allowed me to get really good at it and investing in templates for the things that are fiddly, right? Invest in templates that can be really helpful. And who do what I invest in a graphic designer. Let me know, because my graphic designer, Meredith, she's amazing. She is incredible. So you have options. Yes. It's visual, but you have options on how you want to show up, right? Because when we overthink, we overcomplicate when we over-complicate, we overcompensate. And finally we just become really overwhelmed.
So a little recap, there's three things that we are ever thinking on Instagram. The first one is our strategy because we're overthinking it because it's a bunch of tactics. Let the strategy be the long-term goal. All those other little things that we worry about on a regular basis, they are supporting that strategy. So what is the purpose of your Instagram feed and your stories, right? What is the purpose? Where are you trying to take people? What is the journey? What is your storytelling path? Understand that Instagram is a community based platform is not a place for visibility. And I'm talking about traffic. When I talk about visibility and the third thing is not letting the data become personal, right? Listen to the data, listen to your intuition, listen to your audience, but don't let all of that stuff become really personal because then we start to overthink it, right?
Why didn't, why didn't anybody like the PO? Why didn't anybody like the post? Why didn't this post do any do what do well? Right. Tap back into those three things, listen to the data that listened to the intuition, listen to your audience. Okay. It takes some practice. It takes practice, but the more you can do it, the more you will learn the patterns you'll see. And then it makes everything flow. And it takes the pressure off your content creation because I still see how overwhelmed we can become by content creating content creation. We can, we, you know, we become overwhelmed by our captions and graphics and how to put the two together. And it becomes this huge part of our, our week. It becomes this like mammoth task and you really don't need to overthink it.
So those are the three things, the three things we're overthinking on Instagram. If you have others, maybe other things that you're ever thinking come over and let me know right over on Instagram. And let me know what it is that you're overthinking on that platform. One of the things that happens to me is I get really distracted. If I'm not really aware of myself, I get very distracted and then I'll be like, why am I on Instagram? What did I come here for? And I think we all do that, right? So thank you for joining me for this week's episode. I hope that it has given you a little bit of insight and a little bit of peace of mind that a you're not alone. And that also you can, you can control some things. And those things are actually far easier to control than we realize, right?
It comes back to that four phase, listen, create connection stuff, right? If there's one thing that we can keep leaning into and leveraging and all businesses across our businesses, especially in our content, listen, great connect and stuff. And sometimes you might just spend a lot of time between the listen and the Cray, right? You might spend a lot of your time listening to your audience, creating content and listening again and going back and forth because that's where we start to get the most information. That's where we start to truly understand the people who were showing up for us. And then we understand how we can show up for them in a more reliable way instead of a more consistent way. And I shared with you earlier in this episode about my Instagram alchemy roadmap. So if you are looking for some support, a little bit help with your captions, and you want to see how I have formulated my own kind of caption formula, you can head over to the show notes, click the link to download the Instagram alchemy roadmap.
And in the roadmap I give you my caption formulary. I show you some examples of posts in my own feed that follow that formula. And in most of them do, I'm going to be honest and you'll be able to see how this could potentially work for you, but as you will see, and I say this, and I want to just make, draw a line under it right now. That's you need to still think about your storytelling path, right? The caption formula works. I know it works. I use it, my business. I use it with my clients, but it only works when we know our story. When we understand the story that we're trying to tell and how that fits into our content. So if you have questions about storytelling, hit me up on Instagram, come over to Instagram and send me a message. Let me know what you're needing support with, with your own Instagram, with your storytelling, with your platform.
And we'll see how I can help. In next week's episode, we're actually going to dive into storytelling. We're going to talk about storytelling on Instagram. I'm going to share with you my storytellers path. And this is born from this is born from a love of connection, a love of connecting with other people. It's also born from all of my years in your mind, space learning so many different ways in how we're supposed to create this journey for our audience or our customers. And I kind of took everything that I've learned. And I was like, you know what? It has to be simpler. Like it feels again over complicated. It needs to be simpler. So I created the storytellers pause, which I use with my clients. And it's these kind of this path, this journey where we go from telling our story through our content, to having a customer journey or relationship with somebody where they're paying you for your work, your skills, whatever it might be.
And then how that becomes a cycle, because word of mouth and referrals is your best is your best marketing is the best of free marketing. So I'm going to introduce you to storytellers path next week. And I'm going to go through how we create Instagram outcomes and kind of where that fits in and how to use that path in your business so that you can actually build relationships. I hate to say authentic, but that is what we're doing. We're building authentic relationships. We're actually being a human and how we can then really grow and scale our business no matter what you're doing by tapping into the alchemy. So that's the next week's episode. Make sure you go and grab the Instagram alchemy roadmap link is in the show notes. Everything I've mentioned today, my graphic designer, I'm going to put some of the templates that I've used.
I'm going to link to some of those templates over in the show notes as well. Make sure you come over to Instagram follow say hello, send me a message. And let me know how you get on with this week's mini challenge. I want to hear about it. I want to be there to send you some funny gifts and just high five, you virtually and just, you know, relish in the freedom you're going to have because you're only posting once this week. So thank you so much for being here Outlaws, and I will see you next time.