When Lush announced they would quit social media last year my first reaction was calm curiosity. Unlike many colleges I didn’t think it was simply a media stunt, nor that it would turn out to be a one-size-fits-all solution.
On the contrary, I followed what happened and I gathered intel, because I myself was contemplating the option to untie my marketing from social media.
In fact, over the past six months, I came to the decision to quit Instagram.
Quitting Instagram at this moment, when it’s wildly populated and popular feels counterproductive both if you have a business to promote and if you’re looking for a creative outlet online.
I came to my decision mainly for ethical reasons and based on past experience.
In 2017 I was off Instagram for ten months.
Entirely. I didn’t have an app installed on my phone, I wouldn’t browse the portal from the web, I wouldn’t post nor interact with other users. I can attest I survived.
Furthermore, aside from a period when I was dealing with health issues, during those ten months I continued to work, in fact rebuilding a brand from scratch, without any active Instagram profile or Facebook page until May 2018.
Clearly, this is not for everybody. But it’s feasible. Especially if our values no longer align with those of Facebook Inc.
I never thought “fighting with algorithms” or poor redemption on campaigns were valid reasons to disavow a social presence. At the end of the day, algorithms regulate any online interaction, and campaigns are rarely made successful by the channel alone.
However, Facebook Inc. has increasingly and unequivocally taken political and ethical stands that I don’t feel comfortable with.
The Cambridge Analytica case is but the tip of an iceberg built on a conspiracy of silence and questionable decisions during recent political events. During the lockdown, I started feeling increasingly uneasy about it. I wasn’t comfortable with sharing that much data with the company, at exploiting their tools to market my name, at advising clients on how to build strategies based on its resources. It was this discomfort that triggered my completion of this new website.
At the same time I resolved to plan a strategy to quit Instagram and Facebook at least with my brand.
I am not as naive as to think I will be able to entirely quit both channels shortly, precisely like I know I will never be able to go entirely zero waste. But I trust this is the right direction, and that I can do my best from now on to align my values and my practice on social media too.
How the transition will work
First of all, I have designed a marketing strategy heavily relying on proprietary channels such as my website, this blog, and my newsletters.
I began working on this strategy during last Summer, firstly planning regular website updates so that this platform will deliver fresh content on a regular basis.
Within this blog, I created a new category that will soon group more visual blog posts. These will replace my regular Instagram posting. I have planned to invest in having a custom theme designed in 2021 to better showcase this content, so that you can browse it as you would my Instagram grid.
My newsletters (mostly the Italian ones) are increasingly providing conversation-starting sparks, that are picked up by readers on email or in real life at events. I love this kind of exchange and it’s arguably the most important part of my marketing.
Next, I scheduled these changes, drafting a roadmap to quit my profiles.
I decided I will run one advertising campaign on Instagram and Facebook next Fall (it’s my first, with the babepi brand). In fact, it will be two campaigns servicing different goals.
During the months leading up to June 2021 I will post on Instagram to:
- share some insights on themes I am passionate about;
- show some behind the scenes from the La Fortezza cookbook that I am producing with Annette Joseph;
- interact with people I admire, to foster connections that can move to LinkedIn or on email, and personal relationships that I can deepen live.
Ideally, I would like to quit Instagram during the summer of 2021. But realistically, 2020 messed so many plans that I will not be strict about this deadline.
Where will my social media efforts move to?
At the moment Pinterest is the social network that seems to both be aligned with my values and useful for my brand. I have been a user since 2012 and I have always reaped great benefits from a presence on it.
During the last months, I have gradually redirected the main focus of my profile to my current business goals, I have created custom templates for my fresh pins, and I have drafted an editorial plan.
Next on my planner is to gradually implement this editorial plan, heavily investing time in pin creation and scheduling. But also, hopefully launching campaigns next Spring.
What about you? Should you also quit Instagram?
This also applies to my decision to quit Instagram. I decided to discuss it here for three reasons. I wanted to:
- explain to you the changes you will see on my profile in the next few months;
- make you my accountability partner on this, bounding me to deadlines that have been on paper only until now;
- offer you a different perspective on social media to make you aware of possibilities.
There is no social network that you should use regardless of your goals, values and mission. There are conscious choices that you can make to use a tool or not.
This is why I will not advise my clients to quit Instagram themselves. For most of them, this is still an unavoidable resource in terms of cost/benefit ratio. That being said, I will certainly make them aware of the implication of using this platform.
I might even go on using it myself, as a creative outlet, even though I plan to create a more personal visual blog.
But that is another story.