As a small business owner I am barraged on a daily basis with advice from many voices. Much of this advice is sound but a lot of it is pure snake oil, and often derived from the desire of somebody to get my buck for the sake of generating x10 more leads, more likes or more money.
However one piece of advice which stands out is this. Your business needs to be on Instagram in order to become an ‘Authentic’ business, usually followed by a ‘click here’ button inviting me to buy 10,000 followers. By sharing carefully curated posts people will be able to determine your brand and know who you are. In return I will get more customers and that’s a good thing. At least that’s the advice…
I get the point of this advice but I have issues with it:
1. I have loads of stuff to do each week and barely find the time to update my Instagram and turn it into a shiny platform showcasing my destinations to make it worthwhile.
2. I cannot see how you can be ‘Authentic’ by doing exactly what everyone else is doing.
3. I hate lying.
What does not sit right with me is that as a business I am expected to use Instagram to ‘lead’ my customers into my website through glossy marketing tactics. I know this is a normal part of business, but given the increasingly reported downsides of one’s mental health by using Instagram It feels wrong.
Take this as an example. Imagine for one minute that I regularly post glossy, gratifying and tempting Instagram posts of amazing destinations with beautiful people enjoying my service. Imagine then a customer comes along, sees my Instagram and proceeds to book believing his or her experience will be identical to the one in the photos. They will be surrounded by beautiful people, atmospheric filtered landscapes, living in the moment having reached the sold expectation on Instagram.
Imagine my customer then books hoping to duplicate this exact same experience. Sadly that’s not something I am able to guarantee. It could rain the whole time, the trail will possibly be busy, especially the highlights, and the perfect angles which photos are taken at often look worse when you see if from another perspective. Disappointment awaits (not that my service is a disappointment).
Moreover, I do not want to be part of the feed which shovels perfection in everyone’s face distorting reality and expectations. My business is not glossy, with perfectly laid out business cards, a Scandinavian, retro chic furnished office in a converted Victorian building. No sir, I spend my evenings working slumped on my sofa, in my slacks eating ice cream surrounded by Peppa Pig toys while replying to emails and reconciling bank lines on my accounting software.
Who wants to see this? Because I’m afraid to tell you that this is the authentic side of BookMyTrail where the nitty gritty happens which makes each experience possible.
Moreover, some of the best businesses I know don’t use social media at all. They work on referrals, face to face human experience and good-old-fliers.
We are repeated told is that we have to stand out and be different to succeed.
Since everyone is trying to be a superstar on Instagram, hoping that they will one day make it with thousands of loyal paying instacustomers I’m going to try something else. Instagram is no longer different, it’s what everyone is doing and its getting old.
I’m quitting Instagram, that’s my way of standing out.
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