Instagram shutting down for a day was the best and worst thing that’s happened for my sanity. If you’ve been living under a rock yesterday (March 13th) Facebook and it’s family apps (WhatsApp and Instagram) shut down. A large percentage of users were affected by this meaning that most US brands, advertisers, influencers, social media managers, and digital marketing consultants had their version of a government shutdown.

I frantically sent emails to my clients saying “hey, Instagram and Facebook are still not working right. It’ll be running soon. Sorry for the inconvenience”. Around 10:30/11pm, things were up and running again on the platform which means millions of posts got uploaded hours after their initial post time. At least engagement the next day will increase, right?

If you think of social media as a way just to engage with your friends and post memes, open your eyes. It’s 2019 and Instagram and Facebook are paving a road for a growing industry: digital marketing. By now we have seen forms of it even if we didn’t know what it is.

If you don’t know what digital marketing is it’s basically a way for brands and people to sell their products and services, digitally on social media. Follow me on Instagram (@techytk) to learn more about what exactly it is or check out my other posts related to this topic but what I really wanted to talk about is the things that I learned and opened myself up to during the hours that I wasn’t able to thumb through my social media feed.

Relying on 1 platform to grow your business is dangerous.

I would say that 80% of my brand lives on Instagram and 20% comes from my blog. I have a lot more engagement on Instagram than I do on my website. When I first launched I used my Instagram as a way to gain traffic to my blog which is how a lot of influencers start off.

As my audience on Instagram began to grow and as the platform became more of a marketplace, I realized that I can use my Instagram as a way to create an authentic experience with my followers. So I did. But overtime and I think that a lot of young influencers and brands make the mistake, Instagram became the only way for people to view my content. RED FLAG, RED FLAG.

I know its been a day and people are dying but when this is literally your job, it matters and to be honest, influencer or not you should pay attention to this. This is where our world is going. It’s going completely digital.

As a brand ask yourself: Where else is your audience living in the digital space? How else can you engage with them? How did people market in the past? Beyond Twitter and LinkedIn, where are the people that are listening?

Cold calls, emails/texts, paper marketing. Going way back to the basics. I spent sometime today learning about other ways to interact with potential clients and my audience.

You create content for an audience to gain value from it and maybe engage with it. Engagement is gold. Follower count is bronze. You can have 1,000 followers and have 400 likes and 30 likes on a photo or have 50,000 followers and only get 1,000 likes on a photo and maybe 50 likes. Which sounds better? The first one.

Digital marketing is a young industry. Not many people do it and if they are, they’re pioneers of it. Right now it’s extremely saturated with influencers but a year or two ago, it wasn’t like that at all. In some industries like technology and business, influencer marketing is still “unconventional”. But in more product focused ecosystems like beauty and fitness, it’s a lot more popular because you’re selling a service or a product. People who make a living off of posting pictures or creating content lost money. Brands who spend a lot of money on Ads on Facebook and Instagram lost thousands of dollars because of a single issue. That speaks volumes to me.

Having all your eggs into 2 giant baskets, isn’t the best approach to content or marketing. Your audience may not live on Instagram or Facebook but again, figure out where they live or who they interact with and connect with them that way. Host an event to engage a local audience, call people or businesses. Digital marketing offers you an expanded network of opportunity for new clients, however, you have to learn how to implement strategies to create a community that isn’t solely dependent on these platforms to work. We clearly can’t assume that they’ll work all the time. When they don’t work, what do we do? How do we adapt?

Social media can not be the only way you make money, the only way you stay engaged with people, or even the only way you connect with your friends. You have to reach bigger, broader, and even more deeply with people. It’s hard and a lot of work but if this is your job, you have to do it. Listen to what your audience really wants.

I had a moment of “Now what do I do?” throughout the day. Even as a user I realized how addicted I was to social media. I mean I’m aware that I spend a lot of time on it but when I kept checking my phone every 30 seconds to see if it was live, I had a huge wake up call. Beyond work, I spend a lot of time mindlessly scrolling through my phone. We all do it. Don’t lie to yourself.

Look into the screentime feature on your phone. How many hours a day do you spend on social media? I spent 3.5 hours on social media across Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

I felt really inspired to create other content.

Since my content couldn’t go live on Instagram and Facebook I was like “Okay, how can we make Twitter content look different?” “What would my client like to see on their LinkedIn?” “What about a graphic for my new email list?”

By the way, I started a new email list a few days ago to engage with you all on a weekly basis. If you’re interested on being on the list, send me an email at iamtarlonkhoubyari@gmail.com…thanks!

I felt motivated to learn more and to create things beyond the dimensions of a square or an Instagram Story. I was able to be creative and not distracted. I also reached out so some brands to do partnerships with because I was so scared to do them before. I just said “F*ck, it. Just send it”. For some reason this shut down gave me a boost of confidence in myself. So we will see what happens, I really want to work with different brands on my blog or even on my Instagram to create valuable content for you guys. I have a ton of ideas, I just need an opportunity.

This is the stuff that really excites me. I love learning, expanding, and growing in an industry that is viewed as unconventional. I like that not a lot of people “get it” because the one’s that do are jumping on the opportunity that’s literally at our fingertips. I hope that you gained something from this and I hope that you understand a little more about why the Instagram shut down was a big deal for a lot of people.

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