Sometimes we all fall into the trap of apologising for things which really don’t require apologies. The number of Instagram captions starting with the phrase, “I’m sorry that I haven’t posted much recently,” is pretty high. Go on, have a quick scroll, and tell me if I’m right. But only a quick one, as I have a whole bunch more to say.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
There is a lot of pressure on small business owners already, and when you add in a little extra with Instagram – the culture, the expectations, the exaggerations, and its impact on real humans and their businesses – it all gets a bit much, doesn’t it?
I have definitely started a caption or two in this way at some point, and I’m guessing that if you’re reading this perhaps you have too, or at the very least you’ve come across lots of these Instagram posts.
But here’s why it’s a good idea to ditch this from your Insta-content vocabulary:
No one had noticed anyway
A brutal truth: the majority of people reading your apology probably had absolutely no idea you’d taken a break from posting on Instagram.
We’re all learning all the time, so I’m not sure if this is something which requires an apology, but I’m going to go with it – I’m really sorry to break that to you, but your Instagram followers are not keeping tabs on how often you post. They have their own work stuff going on, a shopping list to remember, and all the best quotes from the new episode of their favourite show to recount to their mates later, among approximately a million other things.
Keeping up with when you last posted on Instagram is not on your followers’ agenda. At all. Unless they’re your BFFs, in which case it is actually a requirement.
You have nothing to apologise for
Nobody should expect you to post on Instagram at a certain frequency, and if some people do – well, that’s on them. And if that ‘some people’ is you, people, be kinder to yourself and take a second to re-evaluate. It’s just Instagram. At the end of the day it’s just an app, and it’s not the core focus of your small business.
Of course, we all conduct ourselves on social media differently and have varying ideas of what is the correct or best strategy to reach your followers and potential customers, but even so, that doesn’t mean you should apologise for taking a break from Instagram. No one is going to pull you up on how long it’s been since your last post, and no one is going to punish you for it.
We’re all busy
What we really mean when we apologise for taking a break from Instagram is that updating it hasn’t been our highest priority recently, and that’s ok. There’s no need for justification. Sometimes (a lot of times) your time and energy is better spent elsewhere.
Running a small business is no mean feat – hey, you know that, I’m preaching to the choir here. Often it’s just yourself, or perhaps a very small handful of employees, and you have to do everything. If Instagram has to take a backseat for a week or two so that you can focus on handling a big client job or tackling your accounts, go for it. Get those truly important tasks done!
Likewise, if Instagram has to take a backseat so that you can simply give yourself a dang break, oh my gosh, that is more than fine. Please please do that. I’m more than certain you deserve it.
Apologising for taking a break from Instagram and using this language reinforces a notion that we are failing by not spending more time on social media. Which is just kinda silly when you think about it properly.
It’s just not interesting
Literally every single one of us takes a break from Instagram at some point – sometimes planned, sometimes not. It’s nothing out of the ordinary and it’s nothing particularly fascinating.
When you run a small business, you have a plethora of unique and engaging stories to tell. Those stories might be exactly what someone needs to hear to become a customer. Don’t waste an opportunity to share a great brand message in order to say something that’s just so downright dull and generic.
What if that apology is the first post a potential new follower and customer sees of yours? It’s not a great first impression, and probably won’t make them want to follow you or buy into your brand.
Your Instagram captions are a chance for your followers and customers to get to know you and your brand more. Humans are inherently nosey, so give your followers a little tidbit or a behind the scenes shot. Show them how your products are made, or introduce them to a key member of your team. Mention how your business got started, or that really cool thing that one of your favourite clients is doing right now.
All of these stories are totally unique to your small business – no one will have read them before – how cool is that?
If you’re stumped for ideas, check out our previous blog post, 39 social media message ideas for small creative businesses.
And that’s pretty much that. We’re not saying you should sack Instagram off totally, but if you need to concentrate on other areas of your small business for a bit – do it, that’s very important. And when you come back to Instagram, don’t be tempted to start with a sorry, just jump straight into the brilliant, juicy stuff that we all really want to read about and talk about with you in your comments.
Then you really won’t be sorry.
This post originally appeared on the Studio Cotton Instagram, but we’ve added some extra tasty knowledge for the blog.