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For those of you that don’t know, I went from posting seven days per week to posting once or twice per week or the entire month of October. I was still in my stories almost daily.
Today I will cover why I did it, how the experiment came about, the numeric results from the experiment and the subjective/emotional results from the experiment. As well as who I think can get away with posting less and how to go about doing it.
When I mentioned it to the gram fam – that I’d be posting less, I got DMs asking where I got the idea. If it was just stress or I needed a break from the Insta or what.
Truth be told, it was a combination of three things:
When it comes down to it, I am a student of Instagram. I love it. It’s my favorite social platform. And for me; what was the worst that could happen? Engagement might decrease? I lose some not loyal followers? Big deal. If the worst happens, I know how to rebuild. I know how to get engagement back up. I know how to nurture an audience. But what if…what if I can do less work, and still serve my people well? I wouldn’t know unless I tried it, and I was more than willing to try.
You guys, I am literally SO excited to share these findings with you. Partially because I learned SO MUCH in the process and partially because I am intensely refreshed after reducing my output by 85% for a month.
I was still receiving all the DMs in response to stories. Still well within my normal range of views within 24 hours. My highest days stayed the same being Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays.
I expected this one to decrease, especially with less likelihood of getting on the explore page and less opportunity for my followers to share my posts. But it didn’t. I figured posting in your feed drives this number up but perhaps that isn’t always the case. In fact the only time I really see this number spike is when a post goes relatively viral, which actually happened in my last post of October.
My post got 50 + story shares, 434 people sent it via DM to their friends, 433 comments, 218 people saved the post, 2,611 liked it, it reached 18,035 people, and lead 6,503 people to my profile. On top of that, I gained 2,000 followers in 48 hours. View the post here.
1-3% engagement is normal and expected on Instagram with the current algorithm. Back when I started, 10-15% was normal.
Now, what constitutes a viral post is 9-10% engagement. My engagement on that post was over 10%. Clearly.
So let’s go on a little tangent here, which wasn’t planned. But that viral post is worth talking about. And I mean, what a freaking way to close out a break from Instagram right? The irony kills me. Posts 85% less, one of four posts in a month goes viral and viola, all the exposure literally overnight.
Now, I want you to remember that followers and likes don’t equal income.
Yes, the post was a very passionate post, that started with a hook of “I’m not here for the soft porn” and then went on to share my stance on skin and how women are viewed in the fitness industry. And how women are actually a large part of that sexualization. Sooooo obviously this is a polarizing post. It’s taking a VERY CLEAR stance on something, which is how things go viral. Posts that people can get behind and yell from the mountain tops. That was this post. It was a post I’ve written and deleted probably 100 times. Because it is a touchy subject and one that I wanted to approach with care. I have a strong opinion but I always want to make my message clear and leave little room for misinterpretation [as much is in my control].
I knew the post would go “viral”, using viral relatively here as well.
My likes on a post can range from 250-500+ and it depends on the type of content as far as how many shares or saves it gets. Those are the metrics I look at over likes. For instance this viral post was saved by 218 people, that’s not insane for me. Two posts before my topic of choosing your 10 go to exercises was saved by almost 300 people. But it was the massive exposure that caused it to go viral, ie the likes, sharing, commenting and DMing. It’s really all so interesting to me.
But, before the viral post, my engagement daily and weekly remained the same, even with posting once per week. More on that later.
I will say, through this viral experience…I’ve always known WHAT makes a post go viral and that every post can’t be viral. But I definitely have plans of taking up my space and speaking on more controversial topics that still benefit my audience in order to gain more exposure from MORE potential ideal clients.
Like I said, I love Instagram. I don’t care about the algorithm. I did for a hot minute. But since focusing on nurturing my current followers, I really haven’t paid much attention to it. And that works for me.
Let’s move on to the next topic.
I’d say at the higher end of my norm. My posts get 3,000-6,000 with their reach on average and that remained the same per post. I believe this is because the rest of the engagement was on par with the norm. I was still getting the same percentage of new followers per week as well. The viral post of course is not included in those findings. It would be skewed if I included it. In the scientific world it is what we’d call an outlier.
Loved seeing this one the most. Now I have to point out that around the same time I started this little experiment, I changed the link in my bio and my actual bio information. So this is not as controlled as the other variables.
But I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to see people opting in to my 3 Day Mobility and Core freebie without me having to mention it, talk about it in my stories or post about it in my feed. No work for me. In fact LESS work than normal for me, and more email opt-ins. I believe this is simply due to the fact that it’s my best email opt-in to date. More than having to do with posting less on Instagram or anything like that.
Now, that covers the numeric results. Which were great, but it’s the subjective/emotional result that was my fav.
Only having to prepare one post per week allowed me to create better podcast content, better blogs, and to work more deliberately on ways I want to serve my clients. Which, like I always say, might just be for a season. But it was exactly what I needed for this season. A goal of mine was to use Oct – Dec to REALLY prep for 2020. I felt like I needed to crawl into a dark cave and just work, create, brainstorm and plan. Without distraction, or obligations to do anything outside of my client workload. If you’ve been an entrepreneur for some time, you’ll know that feeling. It’s like you feel it in your freaking soul. And I love it, but it requires essentialism – saying no to other good things for a season.
So that’s what I did and it was and is absolutely amazing.
That headspace also led to me FINALLY committing to writing that viral post. So winning.
The result was hiring my VA, planning the biggest birthday promo I’ve ever done (in fact it’s like nothing I’ve ever done before), aligning my launches for 2020 with our world travels, planning podcast and blog content through April 2020, completely redesigning the way calls are distributed for Built By Annie, all while diving deep into my mastermind, and the 12-week Active Life Immersion course for coaches.
You can see where taking hours out of my week to write and curate Instagram posts just wasn’t at the top of the priority list. There simply wasn’t enough head space for it. Could I have made it happen? Sure. But that would not have felt the way I wanted to feel – spacious, in alignment, in control, and energized.
Sometimes we slow down so we can speed up, we get quiet so we can get loud, we get small so we can get big. And that is EXACTLY what I did in October.
That’s what posting less on Instagram gave me. Less time preparing posts, choosing photos or videos, less time posting and making sure I interact in order to drive engagement, and less time on Instagram overall.
Now….let’s move onto why I think it worked for me, who I think it might work for and how you can possibly post less but have the same impact and results.
I’ve built the trust and dependability. They know when I post, it’s going to be for them, for their benefit. No matter if it’s daily or once per week.
That’s who this works for. And those are the types of people I was observing at first. People with established, engaged followings. They can afford to post less. Because their people already trust them. Rachel Hollis and Beyoncé could post once a month and get their “normal” engagement, if not more because people have missed them. They’re awaiting their goddess wisdom and presence, right?
But worry not if you don’t have an established following. I want to point out that “established” does not mean BIG. It means engaged. It means your people TRUST you. They view you as an expert. And they know you are dependable.
So if you aren’t quite there yet, you do have options outside of posting EVERYDAY.
If you remember, I was in my stories DAILY still. Stories are un-curated, in the moment and raw. They expedite the know, like and trust factor of business. It’s far easier to share a quick story and throw it up than to write a small blog post with the perfect picture or video. Or it is for me anyway. And remember I said I get 3-5x more views in my stories. That’s where my people are, more than their feeds. So why spend more time where my followers AREN’T AT?
Knowing if your people are in stories requires YOU to be in your stories. So if you’re not…you need to be.
That’s a huge reason WHY I think this worked for me and how it might be worth you trying out. Post less in the feed, maybe three or four times per week if you’re just starting out, but BE UP IN YOUR STORIES!!!
It’s not a secret that stories are where people get to KNOW YOU, get to trust you and get to LIKE you. These things make you dependable. They make people want to purchase things from you. And if you’re running a business, you need that to be A THING.
So, try it.
Post LESS. Maybe you don’t go from seven days to one day. Perhaps you go from six to four and see how it feels. Track your numbers.
If you’re inconsistent AF right now and not posting enough, well then you’re a step behind this episode and you need to ACTUALLY be consistent first + provide value until you build that expert status with your audience. Then you can gradually cut back.
Das it fam. Those are the results and implications of my Instagram experiment. Of posting 85% less on the gram in my feed while remaining active in my stories. I’d say it was a win.
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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