Pattern Shift

Bonus episode - Why I'm Returning to Instagram after breaking the chain 2 years ago...

December 14, 2023 Saskia de Feijter Season 4 Episode 74
Pattern Shift
Bonus episode - Why I'm Returning to Instagram after breaking the chain 2 years ago...
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Returning to Instagram after a two-year hiatus was no easy task. Let me, Saskia de Feijter, guide you through my journey of finding my social media footing again, and how I managed to balance business goals with personal values. I'll share my reasons for initially disconnecting and the enlightening course that sparked my decision to experiment with Instagram again. 

Ever thought about approaching marketing with minimalism? That's exactly what we'll explore in the second segment. By aligning marketing strategies with personal values and making mindful decisions about social media consumption, I've been able to achieve a minimalist presence on Instagram. I'll share my secrets, the tools I use like Otter, and hopefully inspire you to consider alternative ways to market your business and reclaim control of your social media use. 

The final segment delves into the art of crafting an effective Instagram strategy that aligns with your values and goals. We'll discuss creating a visually appealing and informative Instagram grid, achieving a brand presence, and balancing the pros and cons of the platform. For those eager to learn more, I'll share details about a helpful workshop and mailing list. The key takeaway here is the importance of making conscious choices and staying connected in a way that's right for you. Join me as we navigate the Instagram landscape together.

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Speaker 1:

Hi, I'm back with a bonus episode. My name is Saskia de Vyther and I'm so glad that you're here because I'm going to explain why I returned to Instagram. After two full years of really not being there and just not just pausing my account like closing my accounts, I went away for good. That's what I thought. This podcast is about small businesses in the slow fashion industry that I want to support and help to have a more healthy and happy take on how they run their business so that they can do it sustainably for themselves and for others. Okay, so I talked about me leaving Instagram a bunch of times on the podcast.

Speaker 1:

I started, actually, this podcast to have something instead of my social media accounts because I didn't feel like I was in alignment with it anymore. I felt like it was turning into a toxic place. I spent so much time there and, just from a business perspective, it wasn't so much return on investment. People used to comment and say that I was inspirational and they loved what I did. They loved the way I thought about things and it helped them to think differently about what they did online, although I was really happy that that was happening at the same time in building a small business by yourself and also taking care of your health and your private life. That was just. The balance was off.

Speaker 1:

I decided to leave Instagram and use my time for better and other things, and I have loved it. I have not for a second missed it in two years. That's because I took this whole path of really doing this intentionally. It wasn't from one day to the next. I started by unfollowing accounts, making it a more quiet place to be. I took the app from my phone. It was this whole process of things that I did before I decided it's time I'm stepping away. I even invited people to connect with me via email, connecting with me personally or even sending me snail mail. There was one person that did Shout out to Charlotte Hi, charlotte, I owe you one. The next one is way overdue. Charlotte lives in Finland and we started a snail mail correspondence and that was really fun. I just decided to spend time with friends socially in a different way, and even also friends that I made through Instagram. So obviously things changed a lot, but when you feel the need to connect with somebody or they feel the need to connect with you, that will happen and you can do something about that. It doesn't need to be on Instagram and it also shows you how deep relationships go and you can make intentional decisions about that. So I was so happy not being on Instagram.

Speaker 1:

And then what happened is I took a course on writing for the internet and what they had us do was post every day, and they wanted us to post on what was then still Twitter. That was this summer. It actually changed over to X during the month that I was there and I'll have you know that Twitter was actually the reason that I became quite critical of social media. And that was back in 2012, where I distinctly remember being in the car and I even remember where I was at the time and just thinking in Twitter sentences. That was just so such a moment for me where I can't believe I'm thinking in kind of Twitter marketing sentences. That's how my brain now works. I've kind of molded it into this Twitter mold and I was so appalled that I left. I think it was that week, so that was in 2012 and that started the feeling that social media it's free, it's a free marketing tool and nothing is really free ever is it, except for the really good things in life. And yeah, that is when I started to change my mind about things and becoming more intentional. So that's a long time ago.

Speaker 1:

I remember when I quit Facebook. I think that must have been. I think I quit Twitter way before 2012 and I might have quit Facebook in 2012. I don't know a long time ago, but I kept it like dormant so I could send the Instagram posts to Facebook, but I never went there anymore and then last year I killed it completely Two years ago, I killed it completely and I just remember that people were like what Are you crazy? What are you doing? That's like your business suicide, what are you doing? But that's just how I always did things, even in my business. I will not sell somebody a set of needles if they don't need it. It's just. I've always tried to connect my personal values to my business values, because that's the only way I can really do it.

Speaker 1:

So this summer I did this challenge right every single day for the internet and they used X as a platform and I was not happy about that. When I found out, I'm like I don't want to do that. So that was kind of. I always struggle with these things because I want to stay true to my values, but not at the cost of everything. So I really just need to think it through and realize why I do these things and what's the point, what's my goal, and just intentionally, consciously think about it and then make a decision. So at that point I was like, okay, I'm just gonna sign up, I'm gonna do this for this summer and I'm gonna look at it as an experiment as well. So that was my first experiment.

Speaker 1:

So I'm on Twitter, posting every day in this internet language that is meant to really catch people's attention, and it does. It does work. It just didn't work on X for me. So I followed all the rules and what they say is focus on your niche, right? So, as I'm in this super-duper, very tiny, tiny, tiny niche, that didn't work, because what's supposed to happen is that people will tell their people that you exist. So somebody sees your stuff and they're like, oh my, my neighbor knits as well, so they might be interested in this. And then they say, hey, howdy neighbor, I've seen this ex person, I've seen person X and they're twittering. They're exing. What are they? They're exing about knitting and that might be interesting to you. But if you're talking super-duper deep inside your niche, then that first layer of people. They will not understand what you're talking about, so they will not connect to you. So actually, what I learned about that month is what you have to do is, first of all, talk to a more general public. So they're like, oh, you're finding all the crafters, all the knitters, and then the extra layer of the onion is talking about the business aspects and changing the world a little bit and all of that, and then you can get there.

Speaker 1:

But following all the rules, doing everything right for a whole summer or actually it was a month, 30 days gave me, honestly, one follower because she was a knitter and she was in that group as well. No other people started following me, even when I talked to other people on Twitter. So that definitely isn't my platform. I don't particularly feel that I want to be there at all, but that was kind of my trial thing, my experiment, and it wasn't for me and it didn't work, and so that was the first kind of step back to social media and I stopped posting and I started posting on LinkedIn and that did a lot. There was a lot happening on LinkedIn. The problem is that my clients or my potential clients are usually not on LinkedIn. For some reason, a lot of them don't see themselves as business owners, as professionals or not in that kind of way, and they are on social media to find customers and not necessarily connect to other business owners, or they don't see other business owners as potential customers. So it's kind of a tumbleweeds in a kind of way, but still I got some traction there, so that was interesting.

Speaker 1:

So I want to focus on why I'm coming back for now, because I'm sure that being like an old punk rocker-ish in a way like the word sell out or like I know that kind of bubbles up in my mind a lot lately. Why am I going back? Well, there's a couple of reasons. Basically, there's one reason so I have been working on a kind of a workshop for my clients small businesses in the slow fashion and textile craft industry to show them how they can do marketing in a way that's more aligned with their needs and their boundaries and more healthy and that really boils down to doing a minimalistic approach to social media and things like that. And while I teach how to do that on social media, the only social media that I'm still on is LinkedIn and Pinterest, which I should use more, I have to say, but I still really don't like it that much.

Speaker 1:

I like actual connection with people. I think that's the basic thing of it. So I'm building this workshop and I feel like I'm missing something in that. I feel like it's hard to teach a minimalist approach when you haven't been on the actual social media platform where all your people are, for two years Now. That's not reason enough for me to go back, but I do want to take this experiment, just going back one step, if I as kind of well, there's actually no marketing experts.

Speaker 1:

With marketing, what you need to do and this was a mind-blowing thought when I first came across it and so liberating is that you're never really an expert on marketing because all it is is trial and error and trying as creatively as you can, thinking about your customer, who they are, where they hang out, what they need, how you can support them, and then putting that into like communication cake and offering them that cake. It's meant to connect, to help. It's a positive thing. I never thought marketing was a negative thing. I just am looking for the tools and the platforms and the ways to connect in a way that really light me up as well and that I know my customers and my potential clients will love and love to be there and that kind of thing. If you know what I mean From one. If you look at it from one aspect, it's like okay, so you're a marketing quote-unquote expert and Instagram is most definitely the platform where my people hang out and I'm not on there and I'm trying to sell business programs to those people who are on that platform.

Speaker 1:

That sounds wild, it sounds bonkers. What am I doing? But at the same time, I kind of practice what I preach, right? So it's kind of this kind of forces that work against each other. And I pivoted my business three years ago. It's so different than what I did before, where I had a needle craft school and an indie yarn shop, and now I work from home. I'm selling on the internet instead of locally. And it's so different that I have to really rework the way I do things, and that was a conscious choice because I had to for my health my mental and my physical health requires me to change the way I conduct this business and spend a lot of time figuring that out. I've owned a lot of solutions and now I want to help other businesses do the same, and that's where I am right now.

Speaker 1:

So that's my business, that's what I do, and part of that is that I want to show them that you can have a marketing plan or a marketing strategy that fits your needs and your values. So I had to move back in there to kind of make that connection and make it easier to talk about, but also kind of build a bridge a bridge in and a bridge out. Who knows, is it the bridge in for me or the bridge out for other people? I don't know. So that's the experiment. I need to prove myself wrong or right, and it's kind of the win-win. But if I prove myself right in saying that you can have a brand presence on Instagram which is minimalist and good enough, then that is great. But if it doesn't work, I prove myself right. And if it works and if I can get new clients from a minimalist presence, that is great as well, because I do need to grow my business. So that's honestly the reason and, as you hear, I'm saying brand presence.

Speaker 1:

I'm using that now, instead of marketing, as a word for this, because I think that for me at this moment, the way I want to go about this is I just want to be there and to be able to people to be able to find me there as a baseline. So here's what I did. I have this minimalist presence on Instagram and I have this whole kind of strategy planned out, which I will share with you in a sec. I will be able to share with my clients what worked for me and how I did it, and what an alternative is to being absorbed by Instagram, because that's the problem, right, people are being absorbed.

Speaker 1:

There's so much noise in their lives, the world is so full and it's not good for us, it's not healthy and, I think, the most important thing, it's not necessary to be bombarded by information. There's also something that's extremely important and that is thinking about, like making conscious decisions. What am I letting in and what am I pushing out? So posting or consuming on Instagram are two different things, and there's so many intentional decisions you can make that it's really weird that most of us just copy what the other person is doing and they look at the brands that they love and they copy what they do, how it looks, their actions, how much they post. There's ongoing podcasts and YouTube videos on Instagram strategies and it's just so. It's like send through your fingers right. One moment you have it there, you think you got it, and then it's all gone and you have to start again. So in my book, the best way to do it is to keep it close to yourself and to just be the puppeteer and not be the puppet. So where did I come up with that? That should be the title. Yeah, that's even also very interesting If I look on podcasts and titles and find the titles that talk about minimalist marketing or no social media.

Speaker 1:

There's not a lot there. But around me, the amount of people that don't feel comfortable anymore and have issues with social media, they're everywhere. There's almost nobody. It's always this kind of a but story. Right, you talk to somebody about social media and they go oh yeah, I really don't like it, but, or I wish I could quit, but, and then what comes next is a lot of things that are basically just choices, and you have those choices and you can choose to connect with your friends in another way and you can choose to focus your business social media posts in your business hours on your computer and not on your phone, at dinner with your family or at night watching TV scrolling. There's choices we can make, and for some of us these choices are hard, and if a choice is hard, then you are just a hero for choosing what is good for you. So I hope that kind of makes sense to you.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, so here's how I did it so far. I'll share that with you. I'm going to probably record what's happening in this whole experiment. So yeah, what I did? First of all, I thought a lot about the subjects. I talk to people about it, I talk to myself about it. I literally, as I walk every day for half an hour, I talk into my otter, which kind of transcribes what I'm talking about. So I have to do it in English because it doesn't speak Dutch, and I use these notes for later and to get my mind clear. So I'm opening my otter now and this morning, as I walked, what otter does? It makes a summary, so I quickly get the gist of what went on in my mind. And these are the things that I do to understand where I'm at, because I have so many conflicting feelings about this that I need time to process.

Speaker 1:

I made this worksheet for myself and I called it Insta in a day and at some point, maybe in this episode I don't know yet. I'll probably use it in the workshop that I'm building. This will be available for other people. It's a worksheet that helps you think through the main things, the main reasons why you want to start an account and how you're going to do it, and how you keep linking back to your goals, your boundaries, your values all of the things that I teach in the business circle program connected to Instagram specifically, and I wrote down. By having a brand presence on Instagram, I want to turn myself into a study case and investigate what can be gained with a very minimal brand presence. As a second point, catch some podcast listeners in my quote-unquote fly trap and move them over to my newsletter. In the process, I like to review what happens when I just have a grid in place and no actual proactive moves after one month and then add podcast updates in the second month. So this already goes a little bit into this strategy, which I will come back to later.

Speaker 1:

The most important thing for me on Instagram is to have a place to land, because people in my industry go to Instagram before they go anywhere else. So that's it Kind of a fly. I said fly trap, I mean fly strap. I'm imagining people flying by. Oh, this is interesting. So it's not like murder, it's more of a. Is there a more positive way to say this? Anyways, I'm tiring myself out, yeah, so that is important for me that people have a place to land, and at the same time, I kind of want to move them away from Instagram and into my community or at least into a conversation with me personally. So I'm gonna try my best in inviting people into my mailing list or into my community. So that's the main. Those are the main goals there.

Speaker 1:

And then I started to make a list, basically, and talk about what I love about Instagram, what I like about Instagram, what I hate about Instagram and what I don't like about Instagram, and that gives me insights in how I'm gonna be there, who I'm gonna be there no, not who. How I'm gonna be there, actually, also a little bit of who. Then I wrote my boundaries down. What is unnegotiable. I don't want an app on my phone. I have set times in the week to do focused interactions on Instagram. I do not watch the statistics daily or even weekly. I might do that once a month, and then I have a boundary of.

Speaker 1:

In the first month I want to start following people, but don't start active connecting with people yet. Just wait it out and see what happens. And I know people are gonna react and they're gonna say that's not the right approach for Instagram. This is not how you get followers. This is not how it's done. But this is not how I want to do it. If I could find out what the best way to use Instagram is. That's not what I'm doing here. I want to find a way that I like to use Instagram and see what the results are of that.

Speaker 1:

So then what I did is I went to Canva and I designed my 15 post grids, which is basically just a mini website, right? So if you land on my account, you'll see the 15 posts and you'll see pictures of me, pictures of the beautiful illustrations, and you see the pattern shift podcast right smack in the middle, and this will give you a first glance of what the Yavl and pattern shifts brand is about. And then I made some columns. So I forgot to say I made all of this in Notion. And then I made some columns with the images, the text connecting to the images, the topics and some notes, and I've just started to write text connecting to the things that I offer, what I do. Also, what general problems are that my clients are experiencing and how I can help them with solutions. All of that and that made this kind of easy-to-use copy-paste way of filling that grid with information. That is, yeah, as I said, just basically a small website.

Speaker 1:

Then I went on into defining a strategy, and the strategy is basically a combination of the goals, the things I like, the things I don't like, how I want to start, how I want to proceed after a month. Do I want to use a link tree? Actually, this podcast episode is part of that as well, just explaining why I'm back. Because it's quite a story, isn't it? It's not. It's hard to explain in two sentences. So the strategy for me is I want to find a way in which Instagram can offer me things and not take things from me, because it's about me now, but I want to share this with the people in my community.

Speaker 1:

Later on, my podcast was first called A Smaller Life and it was about decluttering and a colorful minimalism Just learning how to choose. That's actually why I started my community. I wanted to offer a place that was less toxic and more friendly, more safe, with no algorithms, and that's what I've built in the Yavol community. It's amazing and I'm so proud of it. What happens is that people say it's another thing and there's already so much in my life, whereas my thinking was here's a choice you can make. You can decide to have this one place where everything is more safe and kind and focus your learning and your sharing there, and some people can add to what they're already doing, but lots of people are. They don't want to leave the social media, even if they don't like it, and I think it's so fascinating that people are scared to do that and it's so liberating. So, yeah, I guess we're all so different and my experience is not your experience, and so I think it's really good for me to step back and to figure out what is kind of a midway and what can work for people like me that are also different.

Speaker 1:

So, going back to what I did and how I'm doing, this is defining my strategy finding out. First of all, I want to just give information and after a month or so, I want to start sharing the new podcast episodes in stories. Probably Obviously, I will be reacting to direct messages, because I'm there to connect with people. I just don't want to be consumed by it. So there's a different way of approaching that. And then I look at the kind of the parts of Instagram that I want to use and be used in a smart way. So what profile name do I choose? What's my username? Do I or do I not use the highlights?

Speaker 1:

Then I talked about the 15 grid tiles as a web page, a link tree and a bio, including a call to action which focuses on asking people to sign up for my mails. So, and then? When do I post and what do I post and how do I post? After the first month, as I said, I post with new episodes, but not on the grid. I want to keep the grid like static and I'll probably do that in the stories, and I could do, I could find out how a reel works, but at this point I'm not nearly. I'm not interested in that. But if I can do it smart and I can automate it, then I'm in because I'm all for the automation Working smarter, not harder. How do I post? Yeah, exactly, using automation as much as possible and make social media a once a week event. That is, just not have it front and center, which is already hard for me Already it's seeping back in Because, let's be honest, I'm not cured.

Speaker 1:

After being two years away, I still have a twitchy thumb. My thumb now goes to my community mostly. So let me be honest, where do I go? Linkedin, my community, and I also sometimes am on the making app, which I love as an alternative for Instagram, and I tend to sometimes go to Pinterest for inspiration. It's definitely a dopamine hit. It's definitely dead. It's just my thumb just goes there.

Speaker 1:

And I can talk about being intentional and being conscious but, like, my brain just wants the hits right. So I have to be intentional and conscious about the steps to take before that thumb twitching happens. So, if things are, if I don't let certain apps on my phone, if I don't Like it's building habits, if I put my sneakers next to my bed in the morning and put them on, then the next step is exercise, and that's easier because I made it easy for myself. I think this is the same way. Completely cutting off everything might not be the healthiest decision for you. So it's about consciousness. It's not about doing what I say. It's doing what's important for you, and if you feel like I do, then this is a way that you can go about it.

Speaker 1:

I'm here to give you inspiration and ideas and just talking about how I did it, very much in my own way of speaking. Thanks for some people is probably way too chaotic, but that's fine. So, going back to my little worksheet, I talked about my strategy how to post, when to post and what to post. It's important to have a username that makes it easy for people to find you, so I chose javible underscore pattern shift, and my username is suskiettefeiter. Then the bio I made a bio that conveys what javible is. As I pivoted, now javible is something that is different from what it was before and included a link tree, and I will include a call to action link that will sign you up to my mailing list.

Speaker 1:

And then there's a question of who to follow. Who do I follow, and do I even want to follow people, or do I just want to be this quiet person in the background and react to DMs and to people commenting, but not much more? So this is complicated. Right, when I still was on Instagram, my high point had about 7000 followers, and I can make it a point to kind of go back there, but that's not where I'm there, because my whole thinking has changed. I'm not in the business of getting thousands of followers because I want to have thousands of listeners to my podcast.

Speaker 1:

The reason that I am on Instagram is to find people to connect to and move them into my community vibe. And the other way of thinking for me is that what really helped me to relax about my business and about growing my business is I don't need that many people. I don't need a lot of followers. I need a few clients. That's actually what I need. I need a few clients a year that take my business circle program.

Speaker 1:

People that want to sign up for the community and be a member for 8.50 a month or just try it out for a month and then stay or not stay. If it's your thing or not, you can find out. That's why I'm there, and so who follows me and who I follow is kind of connected, because if I'm on Instagram, I'm not there to scroll. I am there to connect with people. So there's going to be a little bit of scrolling and I have to give myself restraints there. So how do I keep the space for myself fun, interesting and helpful? That's by following the people that connect to my goal, by making a conscious choice to build a feed that is going to offer me information, inspiration, all that kind of thing. So following and followers kind of connected.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I just do want to see what's happening in the industry, although I had some spies on the Instagram Actually one major spy that kind of feeds me with information that might be interesting and I don't think I missed all that much because I can find people in other ways and I've signed up for newsletters if people had them, and also there's only so much of information that you need for your business. Like, the whole FOMO thing is something I have to actively battle. I have a lot of email newsletters, but I made my inbox. I have folders and smart folders and so I have ways of making that a fun and inspiring and interesting thing instead of an overwhelming thing. So I kind of have strategies and plans and systems around that. So this is the whole Insta in a day worksheet that I went through and with that I signed up and now I'm going to fill up my account in the upcoming few days. I'm very interested to see how it goes.

Speaker 1:

I was unable to get a new account for a couple of hours. They just wouldn't let me in. I think I'm on a blacklist or something, talking so much bad stuff about Instagram. So I used a new email address and I managed to get in after a couple of hours and some heavy swearing and some introspection of thinking of is this a sign? Should I not go back? Is this the beginning of that whole thing again? But no, I'm committed to this. I want to figure out how one can have a brand presence on Instagram and not make it consume you, but offer you things. So I'm going to end with this.

Speaker 1:

I hope you are inspired to become the puppeteer and not the puppet. Please reach out to me and ask me anything about this. I love to talk about it. I'm working on a workshop so that people can learn more about this, and I have obviously a list that you can sign up for if you're interested. So if you want to learn more about all of this, you can find everything you need on my website or on Instagram at javel underscore pattern shift and sign up for my mail wherever you are, because that's what I really want everybody to do, so we can kind of stay in touch a little bit more connected. I also really encourage you to reply to my emails, because that's where the conversation happens. It's fun. I'm here, I'm not too busy to talk to you. I would love that and kind of share about me and what I do with everybody, you know. So the more sharing, the more caring and the easier it is to have a minimal approach to marketing, which is much healthier for us all, especially for me. I'm just kidding, okay, bye.

Returning to Instagram After a Hiatus
Minimalist Marketing on Instagram
Creating an Effective Instagram Strategy
Instagram for Brand Presence and Marketing