If you follow instagrammer Hannah @gypsyon__ then last weekend you might have noticed a distinct gypsyon shaped whole in the Instagram sphere. Because at the weekend, her account mysteriously disappeared. Whether it was a hacking on Instagram, or perhaps someone reporting her as being inappropriate (because heaven forbid we STILL can’t handle the female form), the fact is her account disappeared and the app on her phone was blocked.
You might remember this happened to other accounts last year, at the same time that many of us were unceremoniously shadow banned. Instagram have remained eerily quiet around this entire topic, much like they do about these algorithms they keep introducing to fuck up our engagement. And we all know that companies who stay quiet about these types of things don’t usually have their clients’ best interests at heart, to me, it screams the word ‘shady’.
Hannah may now have her account and all is well with the world but it does bring in the question of how much control we as influencers have over this app that makes some of us a great deal of money. We are relying on getting our income from an app that we have no control over, we don’t even know what Instagram want because they are notoriously silent, and yet so many people make their money solely from this app. I’m not one of those people and I genuinely consider it a wise move on my part, maybe, had life been different and my following and engagement had gone to crazy heights instead of simmering around the 50-60k mark it would be different, but for all that’s come of it I’m glad that I don’t rely on this app for my main source of income. I don’t think I’d like to be constantly in fear or having the social media rug pulled out from under my feet, often with little feedback from the app who did the pulling, and I can’t say it’s a wise business move on anyone else’s part.
What can we do instead? Well, as bloggers, the name kind of says it all. We blog. We try to build up our subscriber list, and slowly and subtly try to transfer some of the income so it’s coming in via our blog, which is something we own (providing you own your domain name) and can control. As well as this we can also spread our reach out into other social media sources, like YouTube for example. It’s a similar premise, but YouTube has been around for a lot longer, and there IS safety in numbers (of social media platforms) providing you have the energy and the time to put your weight behind more than one medium.
The other is to create your own online business that you can drive customers through your Instagram. This is something I am looking into as I have some ideas up my sleeve that I think will be useful.
Like many bloggers it is totally possible to create a name for yourself beyond just your Instagram, look at Zanna Van Dijk for example, probably one or the most recognised London Fitness bloggers, who would no doubt still get work if something did happen to one of her accounts, because she is a name in her own right. I think the main takeaway is that you shouldn’t rely solely on your Instagram, if you are I’m being blunt here and telling you that you’re being naive. Start to build up an email list, get working on a blog, start a YouTube channel, maybe even do a podcast, something that isn’t just an Instagram income, because if, like Hannah from Gypsyon, your account does get deleted for whatever reason, you don’t want to be in a situation where you have no income and no way of getting that account back.
I am in no way saying that making money through Instagram isn’t a legitimate thing and that you shouldn’t do it, but I do think it’s naive and unwise to put all of your eggs and that ever changing, unpredictable, algoritmed basket, and it will help you in the future to invest time in at least one other platform as well as your own blog. What do you think? I’d love to know so please do leave a comment!