I quit Instagram for my business. With only 457 followers, I decided to throw in the towel and say goodbye to the influencer-heavy, image-rich platform.
So you may be wondering, why with only 457 followers, should I be reading an article about why you decided to quit Instagram?
After over a year on the platform, Limit Breaker amassed 457 followers (most of which didn’t see its posts) and on average 5-10 website visitors per week.
In contrast, for these 5-10 visitors per week, I was putting in about 10 hours per week on the platform. Sometimes much, much more. If we round those visitors up, I was spending about an hour per visitor – that makes absolutely no logical sense.
I know you agree.
Why I quit Instagram
This article isn’t just about me though, it’s also about you. So, I’m going to go through some of the main reasons why I decided to quit Instagram for my business and why you might want to as well.
In each section, I’ll ask a few questions which you can use to start thinking about your own activity on Instagram.
Before that though, I want to start by saying this was my own decision and is one that doesn’t at all reflect on anyone else.
Over the year that I was on Instagram for Limit Breaker, I met and developed great relationships with some wonderful people. Those connections didn’t stop just because I quit Instagram. In fact, they became deeper as we collaborated and connected in different ways.
Instagram can be a great place for expanding the reach of your audience, delivering your message and making genuine connections. It can also be a place of social media comparison, lack of transparency and distraction.
Are you on Instagram because you’ve been told you need to be?
If you’re getting online marketing advice from people on Instagram who are telling you that you have to be on Instagram. Chances are, these people are telling you this because they’ve had success on Instagram.
Oh, also, they probably has success on Instagram back when it was just starting out, or the algorithm was different. Either that or they just so happened to be in the right place at the right time.
The same can be applied to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogging, content creation in general, or even print. These people may have had success, but that doesn’t mean you will. Even if you apply their special formulas and five-step processes. That simply doesn’t mean you’ll generate the same growth as they do.
Basically, even if you recreated almost every aspect of their formula to the letter, you wouldn’t be doing it in the same time or place as they did. Your business is different, you’re different.
In fact, what you’re actually doing is applying a cookie-cutter formula which worked for one person. One person with a unique business which is likely not the same as yours.
- Are you on Instagram because a guru, influencer or coach told you to be there?
- How much advice, tips and tricks or formulas have you implemented and seen results for?
- How much time and effort did the above take to implement and did you keep it up?
Is your time on Instagram worth it for your business?
Instagram is a beast, one that needs feeding, attention and a lot of your time. If it’s your platform of choice, then you need to fully immerse yourself in it.
Let’s not beat around the bush, Instagram doesn’t want users to leave its platform. That’s why it doesn’t let you add links in descriptions, makes you create videos using its in-built software and makes the desktop version of the platform impossible to use so you’re forced to scroll addictively on your phone.
With all this in mind, your use of the platform for your business has to take this into consideration. To get people to click the link in your bio, it takes some serious work on your part.
Calculate the time you spend on Instagram
One of the reasons I quit Instagram was because the time I was putting into the platform wasn’t giving me enough in return.
I mentioned earlier that for 10+ hours of work each week, I was getting 5-10 website visitors. That simply doesn’t add up. I seriously had to question whether the time I was spending creating images, doing photoshoots, writing ‘engaging’ captions, posting stories, commenting, liking, following, was honestly worth it.
You may be thinking that if I implemented the right strategy, spent more time on the ‘right’ activities, wrote more engaging descriptions, took better photos, or simply stuck with it, those followers would increase and so would my website visitors.
Of course, with this logic, you’d probably be right. But with anything that takes this amount of time, you have to ask yourself if it’s honestly truly worth it to spend a massive chunk of time on something which may, one day, just maybe start to give you something back?
My answer to that, was no.
- How many hours per week are you honestly spending on Instagram?
- How many website visitors, clients, customers, sales are you making from Instagram?
- Compare the two, now is your time on Instagram honestly worth it?
Could your time be better spent on a different platform?
When I first started thinking about quitting Instagram, I took a good look at my Google Analytics.
I’m not the most data-centred person, but as a business owner, keeping an eye on stats is important for me. Looking at my website visitors from various social media platforms, I found that Instagram came dead last.
So not only was I spending 10+ hours a week on it, but it was also proving to be the worst traffic driver. In contrast, I was spending 1-2 hours a week on Pinterest and gaining 20-30x the visitors of Instagram. Now that makes a lot more sense.
I just want to quickly address something here. The goal of Limit Breaker (at the time of writing) is to get website visitors to read our articles and then join my email list.
The goals for your business might differ, so when looking at the analytics for your site, make sure to bear in mind what pages people are visiting, how long they’re there and if they’re converting how you want them to. Then you can truly see which platform is working the best for you.
After significantly reducing my time on Instagram and increasing it on Pinterest, I saw a dramatic rise in website traffic.
- Does my personal data tell me I should still be on Instagram?
- Are my website visitors actually converting? (signups, sales, contact etc)
- Are there other platforms which should be getting more of my attention?
Could your time be better spent elsewhere?
When immersed in the online world, it’s easy to forget that we don’t have to be constantly updating our status to appear relevant. One of the most refreshing and weirdly comforting things I realised when deciding to quit Instagram, was that people don’t actually care.
People, although well-meaning, are generally selfish. We spent the majority of our time thinking about ourselves, our own wellbeing, businesses, improvement and safety. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s human nature to think about the self. So when you update your stories, post on your feed or release your latest whatever, most people don’t really care.
It’s comforting because it means that you simply don’t need to spend so much time trying to make the world like you. Think about it this way, you may follow a few big influencers with millions of followers, but do you really care when they write their latest blog post or give you a life update?
The majority of the time you don’t, unless you’re their friend, or unless you’re getting something in return.
So here’s your permission to stop updating – if you don’t want to – and start spending your time elsewhere.
The time I gained from quitting Instagram allowed me to step away from Instagram’s influence and delve deep into what I wanted for my minimalist business. It also allowed me to create meaningful posts for my readers. I spent more time on activities which gave me something in return, or that I loved and more time outside of my business, connecting and recharging.
- Could your time on Instagram be spent creating, producing or working on something else?
- Could your time on Instagram be spent outside of business, with friends, family or on your hobbies?
- Do you need to be everywhere at once?
Do you enjoy being on Instagram?
This is perhaps the most important question I had to ask myself before I made the decision to quit Instagram.
Whenever talking with business friends about the platform I’d always say ‘I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram’. Quite frankly, that was a lie. I didn’t have a love-hate relationship with Instagram, I had a hate relationship with Instagram.
Any conversation about the platform was filled with complaining. Frustrated talk about its algorithm, failed attempts at growth and even conversation comparing ourselves to other accounts.
What’s so ridiculous is that every time I’d check my feed, I’d immediately feel inadequate. My likes on X post were lower than usual, my followers keep dropping, I’m just getting bot comments, X person is doing so much better than me.
It only took a few days being away from Instagram when I removed all social media from my phone, that I truly started to realise how much I disliked it. Instagram not only took away my time, but it also took my self-esteem.
- Do you say ‘I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram’?
- Is the ‘love’ part of this statement true?
- How do you truly feel when you’re on Instagram?
- Do you compare yourself to others on Instagram?
- Do you wish you didn’t?
I quit Instagram and why you can too
This article explores some of my thoughts before I made the decision to quit Instagram, but it also offers up some questions to help you explore this idea too.
The questions in this article could work for any social media platform you’re on. It’s important to apply this critical thinking to any tool you use because after all, that’s what social media is, a tool.
Here’s the thing, if you hate being on Instagram. If it gives you anxiety, absorbs your time, isn’t giving you anything in return or you truly hate it. Then, you simply shouldn’t be on it and that’s okay.
Not every platform out there has to be used by you. You must find the ones that you enjoy, that you appreciate, get value from and that give back to your business in some way. Or, you might find that there are other activities you could be doing to benefit your business.
If you need it, here’s me saying that you don’t have to be on Instagram for your business if you secretly don’t want to.
Featured image by Laura Chouette
Have you, or are you thinking about quitting Instagram? Leave us a comment below.
MJ | Barbed Wire & Lace Blog1st July 2019 at 7:18 PM
Gina, this spoke to me on so so so many levels.
Like you said, Instagram is a beast that needs feeding and attention NON-STOP.
I had Instagram ‘Gurus’ tell me that I had to reply to every comment WITHIN AN HOUR for best exposure. Like, comment and follow other people for 20-30 minutes before posting my own content. Reaching out to other similar accounts like mine DAILY…
SO much time that I could have been dumping into improving my blog…. which was the entire POINT of the Instagram anyways. I get even less viewers on my blog from Instagram than you do…. and your breakdown really got me thinking about the time invested vs the return…
Keep it up with these business tips and ideas. I need them so desperately because I swear, I got so overwhelmed when I started my blog… everyone said you have to be EVERYWHERE at once… so I tried.. and it really dug me into an emotional hole… and became a true time waster. Thank you for this! I needed someone to say ‘it’s okay to take something off your plate!’
Gina Lucia2nd July 2019 at 8:40 AM
Yes I’ve heard that too. Or that you have to stay active on Instagram for at least an hour after you post – depending on how often you post, that’s possibly 7 hours a week right there.
Yes, it’s important for us to remember why we’re doing this in the first place – which is to write content that engages with people. Not feed some other social platform
I’m so glad you found value in the post. It’s definitely okay to take something off your plate!
Rebecca3rd July 2019 at 1:48 AM
and the harder you try the worse it gets on Insta…. Great Article – spot on
Gina Lucia3rd July 2019 at 7:06 AM
Oh yes, you’re right about that!
Cheryl7th July 2019 at 12:29 AM
I love this and every single point you make in this article! I’ve recently found I have a hate relationship with Instagram for my business as well and have been considering really taking a step back. I think your thought provoking questions will really help me to make that decision, so thank you!
Gina Lucia7th July 2019 at 9:15 AM
You’re absolutely welcome. The goal of this article is to simply get you thinking so you can make the right decision for you. So glad you found it useful ?
Anna10th July 2019 at 12:11 PM
Wow, some deep thinking is now going on in my head. I do have a love/hate relationship with Instagram. I do honestly love it and some days I really hate it. The big thing for me is social comparison, and one I need to work on.
Gina Lucia10th July 2019 at 12:40 PM
I totally get that, social comparison is a big thing on Instagram because everybody puts their best foot forward. A little like influencers on YouTube. Plus it’s always hard to see where people started from.
Ivana23rd October 2019 at 4:13 PM
Such a good post! It resonated with me so much. I also gave up on Instagram because I would get just a few website visits from it, whereas from Pinterest I get hundreds of thousands of visits monthly.
I post a story here and there and that’s it. It’s much better to focus on platforms that bring us results than on platforms that someone says everyone ”should” use.
Gina Lucia23rd October 2019 at 5:25 PM
Absolutely agree Ivana, Pinterest is my weapon of choice too!
Amanda Stanhope14th November 2019 at 12:35 AM
Thank you for the candid comments and great read! I was debating whether or not to get into the Instagram world, but you confirmed all of my fears for me. Now I don’t have to learn the hard way 🙂
Gina Lucia14th November 2019 at 12:54 PM
Ah that’s great! I hope you find a way to market your business that suits you better.
Kendal8th July 2020 at 3:43 PM
I found your article on Pinterest. I’m a sustainable travel blogger and have put way too much time into Instagram. It has me feeling burnt out that I’ve considered quitting. My fear has been, how will I reach my audience now? Most of them say they stay informed about when creators post new content from Instagram…but I only get a few clicks to my website from Instagram per day! Finally, I’ve decided to go all-in and test what travel blogging will be like without Instagram for the next three months. I’m going to push people to join my email list and follow my Facebook page (I have much more self-control on Facebook) and see how it goes! Loved your article as it helped me feel confident that my business won’t go up in flames without Insta. You’re right…we post to feel relevant but most people don’t care.
Gina Lucia9th July 2020 at 9:27 AM
That sounds like a great idea. It’s so important to experiment to see what works. Honestly, Pinterest is my top traffic driver right now so worth investing in that if you have the time. Especially because you’re a blogger.
Melissa Kane19th July 2020 at 9:41 PM
This is a year late, but it hasn’t changed. I quit IG for my blog, but use it to stay connected as myself since I don’t put a lot of personal stuff into my blog.
Taking the time to really reflect on how much time and what I want out of it was so helpful.
Gina Lucia20th July 2020 at 9:40 AM
I’m exactly the same, Melissa. Although even using it as a private account sometimes takes its toll on me so I have regular breaks. The platform doesn’t agree with me.
Celia17th August 2020 at 8:31 AM
All of these reasons are spot on! I have taken regular long breaks from IG over the years. Just recently took a 6 week break, and during that time I have never felt so intentional and focused in my business. My creativity and follow through completely skyrocketed. My health improved. My photography was on fire, I had so much more bandwidth for my savoring my real camera when I was not putting out multiple IG stories. The best thing is that I started to do things that truly made me happy and not wasting time generating content the benefit Mark Z while thinking in the back of my head “is this IG worthy?”.
I got back on two weeks ago and within a day knew I need to plan my exit again.
The thing I love is the community. So I asked a few of my favorite IG friends to meet over a video call, which they agreed to.
The other thing that draws me to IG is that I have so much content that I am pleased with on my blog that I would love to share, why not curate it in my feed and reach people that way? But the ROI is very low for me.
And I do not enjoy it. I kept thinking I didn’t enjoy it because I wasn’t doing it right. But as Seth Godin says, Social Media is designed to make you feel not good enough and that if you just tried a little harder at it, you’d eventually achieve success.
Most of my website visits come from Pinterest, too. My IG audience is mostly peers or like minded people, not people who would become a customer. That has always been a struggle for me.
Gina Lucia17th August 2020 at 12:12 PM
Absolutely Celia, glad you’ve come to the same conclusion and hope you’re now spending your time on more beneficial things!
Menellia3rd September 2020 at 1:23 PM
Such a great article. I have been spending WAYYYYYYY less time on the platform. Not only is it time consuming but I agree, you yst constantly be active for A TRICKLE of a result. Love this.
Gina Lucia3rd September 2020 at 3:40 PM
Yes exactly, it just doesn’t deliver, does it?
Liz Witter7th April 2021 at 1:38 AM
Thank you for this post. IG makes me feel awful all the time. My comparison monster gets totally out of control and I struggle to stop the spinning bad self talk that it helps to generate. After two years, I have about 750 followers….and it makes me feel inadequate that I can’t get to 1000 and I compare myself to others who have. I don’t like spending time on it and I am aware of how addicting it is and how good it feels to not be on it for several days. Overall, I’ve gotten much better at keeping boundaries with days & times but IG rewards you for spending hours on it as well, which I don’t want to do! Thank you for speaking out about this! I’m very interested in your page just from this post :)!
Gina Lucia7th April 2021 at 10:38 AM
Hey Liz, if it makes you feel this terrible (and I can absolutely relate to how you’re feeling), you don’t need to be on the platform! I took a look at your website and if you’re not already, you could consider trying Pinterest as your way of marketing. It’s much more ‘removed’ and I think, beneficial especially for online stores. But above all else, don’t let a platform like Instagram take hold of you. It’s not worth the stress.
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