The app we hate to love.
The app that we spend the most time on.
The app we obsess over and can't seem to ignore... You know... girl I'm talking about the ol' gram.
Instagram has quickly become our generations new 'hang-out' and while we are hyper-focused on using it for business, is it actually WORKING to grow our brands? Is the time spent giving us the return we THINK? The lost hours coming up with micro-blogs for the feed, to the dozens of stories we perfect... and filter... and post... what's it actually DOING for us?
I'm going to be the first, and probably the ONLY person you follow that is going against the grain by saying, NOT MUCH. Not today anyway... While IG used to be the place to grow a solid, engaged, organic following we've learned the hard way (once again) that when YOU don't own something, it can be taken away. BAM. Just like that.
From 6% engagement and thousands of new followers every month to -1% engagement, shadow boxed posts, hashtags that are hidden, followers that don't see my posts, and TONS of time wasted - here's my unpopular theory...
Get ready, this one is juicy. But, imma bet my bottom dollar it's worth the listen.
Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR BABE. Let's get it.
Full transcription available at the bottom of this blog post.
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FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION:
Hey, Lola, what's up girl. I am recording this episode for you today because I've got a bone to pick with our favorite app. The app we hate to love. I think if you're anything like me, Instagram that's right. The app that I spend more time on every day than any other app, the app that I stress about, overthink about, feel validated by feel less than because of Instagram. Dang you Instagram. So here's me just going to be really brutally flipping honest with you guys today about why Instagram is not helping us. Why Instagram I believe is actually hurting us and why we have to get really, really intentional about what we're doing on Instagram and why. And then I also want to map out for you how you can better grow your audience more quickly, more organically and agility in times faster than Instagram. I'm going to give you some tough love today. And guess what? I'm also talking to myself because I'm sitting in the same space that you are sitting. I hope you love this, or you hate to love it, or you love to hate it. Whatever.
In fact, the mompreneur mastermind show where we choose to run insanely successful, passive income businesses that light us up while consuming iced coffee Rawless and flawless, and maybe breaking it down to some gangster rap while our kids aren't looking. Did we just become best friends? Yes. Yes we did. Hey, I'm Stephanie gas. Six figure corporate exec turned top 1%. Network marketer turn podcasters. I believe when we let God line our path, we experienced true miracles. Welcome sister.
Let's get pumped up for today's show.
Before we jam on Insta, I wanted to remind you sister friend, that I have lots of options for you to work with me. We can jam on a power hour session where we map out your brand creation, lots of live coaching on the air that you can hear what that might look and feel like for you. We can map out an online course, a passive product for you. Lots of things I can help you with in an hour. So email us email@example.com. If you're interested in that in 2020, and I have a podcasting course, that is, I believe the number one podcasting course on the market. I'm just going to be audacious and claim that spot for the female entrepreneur, because there is no fluff. I'm going to get you results. I'm going to get them quickly. I have women launching, like I've said top 30, top six 11 in their category.
We have women that have are scaling and growing organically in organic funnel using podcasting. It's the number one way to show up in the world where you can put content out for the woman that is multitasking. So if your avatar, your Lola is driving kids to school, she's working out at the gym. She's making dinner, she's cleaning, she's shopping at trader Joe's with her earbuds in, you need a podcast because you have to stand out in 2020, every Tom Dick and Sally has an online business, has a side hustle, has an MLM, has a blog. Like how can you differentiate yourself? You can stand up, actually sit down with your coffee, with your comfy clothes on and get behind the microphone and share your heart, solve her problems and show up consistently for her. I want to share an insane stat with you. You ready?
This is crazy. Stay with me. And we're going to talk about Instagram, crazy statistic about podcasting guys. I started my show in October, okay. Of last year, October of 2018 zero downloads except my mom. Right? and then by may, may of 2019, I had 20,000 downloads. That's October, November, December, January, February, March, April, may seven months, six months, probably it took six to seven months. It took me to get 20,000 downloads, divide that by six and get that. And you do the math then from may to September. That's when I hit 50,000, it more than doubled four or five more months. I had more than doubled the show to 50,000. Okay. From the end of September, through mid January, we're going to pass a hundred thousand if not sooner. So that's four more months. It more than doubled. Again, again to 100,000 downloads. Sit with that for a second.
Where else are you showing up where your growth is compounding super quickly organically. I haven't spent $1 of paid traffic to my podcast to date none, zero, other than doing some sponsorships on other people's shows, which is crazy cheap, by the way, zero Facebook ads, none of that stuff. It's word of mouth. It's me showing up for you guys. And here's the other secret. I want you to pull from that. All right. Or the other takeaway is that it didn't grow overnight for the first seven months. You know, it felt slow. It felt like is this gaining traction? Is this working? But over time you see the growth and you see people know, Oh, she's going to show up for me. And wow, this is helping me solve my problems. So that very long message and visual picture of what compound growth looks like when you set up a free service based content outlet, like podcasting to set you and your business and your brand apart.
If I am speaking to your soul right now, and you want that, you've got to go to podcast pro university.com and look into my course. I believe so fiercely that it can help you get to the other side of this. And if you're not sure yet go look at my free podcasting webinar that talks about how you can start a podcast, if it's right for you and answers all the questions and just get a feel for it. That's over at bit dot L Y slash 10 steps, the number 10, 10 steps to podcasting. Okay. Let's talk Insta gram, the gram, the grim I G I've been feeling for a while. Like I wanted to talk to you guys about Instagram. I've had a bone to pick, and here's the crazy irony of all of this. When I started out as like an online entrepreneur in this sphere, I was killing it on Instagram.
I was growing by thousands of followers a month. I had posts that had a thousand likes. I had engagement that was five, 6% through the flipping roof. Hashtag strategy was working for me going and liking and commenting. I had an Instagram manager that was doubling my efforts, sending DMS and commenting on people that I wanted to come follow me. It was blowing up. So I thought, so I created an Instagram course, cause I'm like, this is it. This is how people scale their brand. This is awesome. Created the course. And it did really well. It was the second course that I ever created. Even up until March of this year, March of 2019, I still felt like Instagram was what's up. Even with my podcast, I thought, okay, I'm going to show up on Instagram all the time. Every day work, super hard, have captions that are like gonna resonate with people's soul and change their life.
And I'm going to really do hashtag research and I'm going to share it. And I'm going to show up on stories and make my stories all polished and fun and they're going to go, okay. And it kind of was still working, but engagement had fallen off. I was really stagnant in my followers. It has stopped growing. So this was about February of this year, completely stopped growing, like just stuck at like 40. And you guys were like, Oh my God, 40. K's so amazing. Well, it was when people were still seeing my posts and when they were still engaging with me and when they were still sharing and, and before Instagram stopped deciding to help people grow a business and a brand online and they shifted to, we're going to revert back to what Facebook used to be. And it's just like a personal place to hang out with family and friends.
They reverted back there. And so they changed the elusive algorithm so that unless people are actively liking and commenting on something and showing Instagram that they love my stuff organically, without me going and prompting it, it's not getting shown. So I was still talking about Instagram. If you guys go on the podcast, back in March, I have Instagram episodes. How to double your Instagram story views because mine did how to grow engagement and likes on the feed because mine was, but things have changed and I'm not afraid to raise my hand when things change and say, sisters, we have, we have a problem. Houston, we have a problem. We are all living in Instagram, circa 2018. When we were able to blow up Instagram and grow a massive organic audience, just using Instagram. And here's the other problem. We're listening to influencers. Me included people.
I follow mentors. People I listen to their podcast. Tell us, Instagram is where it's at. Show up on stories all day, every day, show up on Instagram TV. It will set you apart, make your feed so good because the feed photos is how you get found. Still do hashtags. Don't do hashtags, 11 hashtags, 30 hashtags do microblogging on Instagram. All of these people are telling us you and me, people that are trying to grow an audience today, and we don't have a huge following already. We don't have a huge audience yet that this is where to do it. I'm going to raise my hand and I'm going to go against the grain. And I'm going to kind of fearful
Say to you, that is
A lie for where you sit right now. Now hold on. Let me explain why those people telling us that Instagram is what's up. They already have.
I have a huge audience.
Their audience is diehard. Their audience is going to go to their feed and their Instagram stories and their Instagram TV without being prompted because they're avid followers. Now, if you're newish in whatever you're doing, and I think most of you are, there are a couple of you that are already super established and have a booming business and a big, great, amazing, engaged following. That's like, you know, your hardcore Lola's in your brand or business. But I think it's few for those of you doing that. Instagram is working against you. You think by spending hours a day on this platform, you're going to have the same success as those influencers that already have the success. They already have the engagement. They already have the organic visibility because people are clicking on their stuff and there's no shade. Okay. There's no shade to those people because I think they're looking at it from through a lens of, well, yeah, Instagram's working for me. Sure. It is because you're, I'm Len air.
You already have a booming business. Of course Instagram's working for you. So that's my bone. Like that's my bone girl. Like I'm picking it. I'm going to pick that bone right up and I'm going to throw it and Chuck it at Instagram right now. So here is the situation. What I want you to walk away with this from here's the truth of what I know, and I'm not an expert. Okay. So take this with a grain of salt. Here's what I know for sure. Of all the places that I am showing up. And yes, I am spending hours a day on Instagram guys, hours, Instagram. The only thing it does for me right now today in December of 2019 only thing, it cultivates the relationship with my existing community. You you're already my Lola, you have, you know, come and listen to the show. You've learned something you've grown from something I've taught you.
So you get curious and you come look at my Instagram. How many of your raising your hand was that? You sometimes you read my feed stuff and you're like, Oh, that's good. Yeah. Steph rock on girl. And sometimes, most times you laugh at my Instagram stories. So what is Instagram doing for those of us that have a small to moderate following it's cultivating the relationship, the rapport with your existing community. Okay. Instagram is no longer bringing me new people into my community. Here's why I know this for sure. Because my following has gone down. My engagement is dismal from five, 6% app at its best at its peak, mid 2018. I don't even scrape 1% today. The same women are following me. The same people I'm talking about the same stuff. I'm trying harder to resonate with her. I'm posting more often. I'm on Instagram stories like a boss, but yet it's slower.
It's down. Here's why I don't own it. I don't get to control the visibility. I don't get to say who sees my stuff. I don't get to target the right woman anymore. Instagram gets to decide who I'm shown to. Right? And I'm not showing up. I've been shadowbox to more times than I can even tell you. If I ask my community like the women, you guys like the women that love the stuff that I put into the world. If you see my, my stuff, 50% of the time I'm hearing, no, the only place that I'm really showing up easily without having to fight for it is Instagram stories. So it's the last place I'm growing here are the top two that I'm growing. Number one is my podcast. I told you guys in the beginning of this episode, what podcasting is doing, it's compound growth.
It is exploding. It is growing every single month. I have high visibility. I own it. The SEO works for me. When I type up a description in my podcast, it gets shown in Google search in Yahoo search, any search bar where somebody types in like how to start a podcast mompreneur or Christian mompreneur podcast, or email marketing for mompreneurs. Like any keyword that I'm using inside of my podcast, descriptions is showing up. So not only am I getting free, free marketing for the right woman, just by having a podcast, the organic word of mouth. When you solve people's problems is bajillion, cotillion times more powerful than somebody reading a cute caption on Instagram. They're not even sh they're not liking it. Let alone commenting, let alone sharing it. But a podcast episode that resonates with you. You're sharing that ish, right? You're like, Oh my gosh, Mary, listen to this podcast.
It's amazing. And then Mary listens and Mary's like, Holy smokes, Joe, listen to this show. It's amazing. And apparently they're from Australia, right? Like it goes viral because of word of mouth because we're solving, we can't do that on Instagram. Sure. If you want to have Instagram TV and have Instagram shove you back down in a year when Instagram TV is boring, it's not hot anymore. We have a new thing. We have Instagram groups now. So whatever we don't own it, stop wasting your time. Stop pouring your heart and soul into a platform that you don't own. You don't own that. Do something else that you get to control that you get to say, this is evergreen. This is mine. I get to own how this is seen in the world. How it's shared, how it resonates with my person, like podcasting, like blogging, like a YouTube channel.
And even YouTube is sketchy because it does work a lot better than Instagram. But I believe it's a lot slower. You guys know how I feel? I think it's podcasting. I think that's, what's up for the next five years. I think it's on the brink of a massive explosion. I think those of you that are not positioned in a place where you are growing an evergreen, organic content funnel, like a podcast you're missing out, hugely missing out. Here's what we do. Here's what we do today. Okay. Cause you're sitting here like, Oh no. Oh gosh. Steph is telling me that I'm spending all this time on Instagram for nothing. Yup. I am. Here's what I want you to do. I don't want you to delete your Instagram because Instagram is a great way to just ha I enjoy it personally. It's where I hang out with you.
Lola's cause here on the show, we don't get to engage with each other. I don't get to ask you what you think. I don't get to see you laugh at me when I'm a weirdo, but I do on Instagram. So I enjoy Instagram specifically. The stories stories is where I really enjoy showing up for you guys. The fetus kind of annoying and like pulling teeth. But I, I still post on there just because I'm trying to make my, I'm trying to check the boxes of like, you know, consistently showing up in the world. But here's what I want you to do. I want you to, for two days track the amount of time you're in that app. It's ugly. There are days where I'm like, I have spent two and a half hours in Instagram. You guys two and a half hours. And those hours are returning me pretty much $0.
Once in a while I get a conversion. I do talk to my leads in Instagram, DM. I think that's a really beautiful way to have conversations with people that want to hire you or look into your courses. So I guess I could validate 15 minutes of that by, Oh, I talked to clients, I'm commenting with people. Sure stuff. What about the other hour? Two hours and 15 minutes. Overthinking it. Checking out, Susie Lou over there and her a hundred thousand followers and getting super annoyed that mine's not doing well. Riding a bomb, posts that flops checking the stories to see if you guys commented to see if you guys answered my latest poll. Does that sound familiar? Do the inventory now for one week. Here's your homework? Cut it in half. If you're spending two hours a day on Instagram for one week. Okay. Add it in half set a timer.
You get one hour. Okay. Or that if you're spending five hours a day on Instagram, okay, we've got some work to do, but let's just start by cutting it in half. And there are only a couple of things you should be doing in there. Ready? Engaging with your community, engaging with your community and creating content. Not scrolling, not comparing stop going in there because you're addicted and your thumb wants to click on it. Get control of your life. Tough love time. Get control, get control. You have control of your life. You have control of your thumb. That's why I delete the apps. Every weekend. Ladies get in there, make your post post your Instagram stories. Do a couple comment back to anybody. Jim's comment back to people that have commented on your pictures and get out. And if you have to delete the app every day, to make sure that you who don't go back in do that work because it's not helping your business grow.
Not today, not with the algorithm. You're wasting this precious, valuable time that you could be doing something to actually scale and grow. So that's your homework. Number one, here's your homework. Number two, put that extra hour or five that I just saved you a day per day, that you were wasting on this app and towards something you control. What do I mean by that? I want you to apply it to a podcast. Even if you do one episode a week, I'm telling you, telling you believe me, it can change your life. It can change your business. It can change your community's life. A blog. If, if podcasting isn't for you, you can do a blog. You can own that. You can put great copy into the world. The SEO can work for you. And then you can just repurpose it on Instagram or video, a YouTube channel of some sort, even your own website, where you embed the YouTubes in there.
And then you pair it with kind of a blog. You have to do something. That's a content outlet. If you're an online entrepreneur, okay, here's the next one. Stop trying to grow an organic audience on Instagram. Start growing an organic audience on Pinterest. Y'all yeah. Well Pinterest is where 98% of my website traffic comes from Pinterest. And guess what? I spend zero minutes a day on Pinterest. My VA, she posts up a picture from each blog post that I do. We use group boards to do so you can go listen to my Pinterest episode, it'll blow your mind. And that is what grows my website. That is what grows everything between Pinterest and my pantry cast. That's what's up. That's how I've grown massively organically in the past year and a half. Not Instagram. I hope that this causes you to take a really deep look into where you're spending your time into how you're spending your time there.
And I also hope that this pushed you over the edge into something that's yours, that you can own visibility. That's organic and SEO driven for 2020, rip off the bandaid. And also I hope that this opened your eyes to listening to influencers and people that don't sit where you sit, be careful, be so careful discern who you're following today. There are some people that I've been following for a long time that I had to unfollow them. I had to unsubscribe from their podcast because morally they weren't in line with who I've become or their messaging kept distracting me from my calling. I have a specific on this earth and they have a specific call in this earth. And if they are distracting me and telling me that their calling should be my calling, that's not in alignment. Now it's a different story. If someone saying, Hey, you be your calling and this is how it can help you, but just discern.
Are they telling me I have to do something. That's actually not serving me. And I'm taking it as gospel because I think they're cool because I think their audience is really big and amazing. And I wish I had that or I should do what they do. I should work that many hours a day. I should show up on Instagram stories a thousand times a day. I should never delete Instagram. Never do that. Wow. Be careful. The devil hides, he hides in some incredibly disguised places, always filter truth through the gospel, through scripture, through your heart, through prayer and make sure you are doing what's right for you and your business and your family at the end of the day and your Lord and how he is asking you to move and act and pivot and touch people in this world. Be true to that. There is only one right way and it's God's way.
And so whatever God is whispering into your heart, whatever you feel, Holy spirit tugging you to do. Listen, don't be afraid to go against the grain. Don't be afraid to say no to something that doesn't feel right to you. You don't have to do what everyone else is doing. You are brave and strong and you are your own person. And there are 1,000,001 ways for you to be successful, there are 1,000,001 ways for you to shine. There are so many different things that are right. You have to find what that is for you. And I want you to take the reins. Don't let other people steer your sled. It's yours. You get to decide if you're going to go, right. If you're going to go left, if you want to go on the bumpy path, if you want to go on the smooth path, if you want to go to the mountains, if you want to go to the ocean, it's your choice.
Stand up. Be brave, create something that's yours authentically yours. You get to say whatever you want to say. However you want to say it and you get to own it. Nobody else can shove you down in the feed and hide what you have to say. Just because they don't like it. Not anymore. Not in 2020, you were destined to stand out and to shine and to be brave and have a message that will impact the world because you have a gift because you're listening to this podcast on purpose, because you're hearing this episode, I'm going to challenge you to take a step back inventory, your life inventory, how this app may or may not be controlling your life, how this app is not actually helping you in many, many ways. And I want you to take control of it. Okay? I love you. I hope you still love me after this tough love message.
I hope it helped you relax and breathe and realize you're not doing anything wrong. I hope it let you rest easy, knowing that there is an easier way to do this. And it also gives you permission to let go of it. Let go of it. I have, it feels flipping amazing. I love you so much. It's almost 20, 20 time to a pop that champagne or that pop that carbonated Apple juice. If you don't drink and rest, enjoy your life. Have fun disengage. Get off social, delete the apps. Journal, read, pray over next year. Grab with God she rises. Let's do it right next year. Let's do it well, sending you off with a huge hug as always. Love and light, Stef.
Lots of fancy unused education. Podcast Coach, Clarity Coach, & Top #25 Ranked Podcast Host for Christian Entrepreneurs.