By Hannah Miet
The halcyon days of Instagram were an especially ripe time for female and minority business owners to find their audience in an environment that was less skewed toward white cis men than, well, the rest of the world.
Then came the acquisition by king-of-the-slimy-nerds Zuckerberg, and along with it, the rise of paid posts and an algorithm that favors advertising over its users.
More recently, erratic outages, the rise of robots rather than humans taking down “inappropriate content” (that isn’t inappropriate at all) and the removal of features that directly support business owners have left many people who rely primarily on Instagram for their income scrambling to diversify away from the platform.
“I’ve been on social media since 1999, so I’ve had a healthy amount of exposure and experience,” Alquincia Selolwane, founder of the black virtual mall, said in a phone interview. “Given my experience and exposure, it has always been in the back of mind to never get too dependent. [Today], they are taking away download sticker…badges are gone and IGTV monetization is gone.”
Lucky for you, you get to learn from Selolwane’s experience. Here is what you need to do to have a thriving business that is not dependent on Instagram.
1. Follow Selolwane’s steps to get all of your Instagram content downloaded before it is lost forever.
You can watch her quick guide video here.
“The comments section — those are your testimonials.” Selolwane says. “Save them immediately — they are priceless.”
2.Use the IFTTT app to funnel native posts to all platforms. This way. you are less impacted if one gets taken down, and it’s not just a link to one platform that you are then reliant on.
“That app will allow you to link your social media…you can tell it when to post the same thing to IG, then post to Tumblr, instagram, Twitter, etc.,” Selolwane said. “You want to create as much omnipresence as possible.”
3.Generate an email list, so you can go off platform.
Selolwane even has her own app to send push notifications to people she knows are interested because they opted-in. And she created a platform that allows you to make your own, no coding required.
4.Put yourself in as many marketplaces as possible, then funnel them all into your own app.
“Get on Etsy, and research which paid platforms are best for your business,” Selolwane said.
That way, you can segment your marketing to the right audience, use helpful tools like geofencing and store your content in a place where it can’t get removed by robot.