Have you ever taken a break from Instagram? Maybe it was an intentional “taking a break, see y’all in a week” or maybe it was a day that turned into two and then the next thing you know 6 days have passed and you panic for 6 more. Sound about right?
You wince with fear because your account is officially DOA and the algorithm has finally had its way with you and your ghosting ways.
Psshhh… stop worrying. Everything will be FINE!
I have taken my fair share of social media silences, intentional and not, and I should be embarrassed to admit that I am an affiliate marketer… I should NEVER… but hey, it happens!
And the bright side is that here I am, earning more revenue from affiliate posts than ever before, and living to tell the tale – hiatuses and all!
How to come back after a [probably well needed and well deserved] break from social media
After you take a few extra days to process your unintended break, you sweat at the very thought of your “comeback post.”
Has the algorithm already canceled me? Have my followers given up on me and now take me for the fraud that I actually think I am most days? Are they refreshing my feed repeatedly shaking their heads in shame? Are they embarrassed for me?!
The answer to all of these questions is NO. None of these things are happening. So let’s just bask in knowing that for a quick sec.
And for those of you biting your nails down to the quick because it’s been two weeks since you showed up online, I want to share with you a few tips on how to make an impactful and classy return.
1. Don’t apologize.
Actually, do one better and don’t even acknowledge it. The first thing that people seem to want to do after a social media break is drop a drawn-out apology and air a bunch of dirty laundry about how busy, or how warranted or how stressed or *insert all the excuses* they’ve been of late. While all of these reasons for an extended silence are likely true – and yes it is often best to be authentic online – these types of apologetic statements usually do not serve your audience.
At any given time there is at least one “I’ve been MIA…” post in my scroll, and I think, “Oh, so you were!” Meaning, I actually didn’t even notice until you mentioned it.
And here’s the thing, whether your viewers acknowledge it or not, they are scrolling their feed in search of value. They are constantly measuring “What is in this post for ME?” So it is your job to ask yourself, what do they need to hear from me, right now? So unless you have something helpful to offer within your apology like how to bounce back or how to deal with Instagram pressure (ahem, like this post), the apology really only serves the one posting it. Read that again.
There is no need for you to apologize for the decisions you make in your business. Your average viewer (including people who will pay you money for stuff) isn’t looking for you to fulfill any posting quotas. What she’s really looking for is to be entertained, informed, enlightened, inspired and motivated. Furthermore, she definitely DOESN’T want to be reminded by you that showing up online causes you to stress, feel overwhelmed, like a failure, or a hot mess of sorts. They don’t ever want to feel like hanging out with you on Instagram is something that you don’t like to the point of “needing a break” from it. See where I am going here? No need to insert these thoughts into the heads of your viewers.
So when you stop biting your nails long enough to come back, come back for HER by considering what she needs and wants to hear from you, instead of coming back for yourself with that wonderfully written list of reasons why you were silent (we all have that list, btw).
2. Find a way to ease in.
Stories are a great way to slip back into the groove. Stories by their nature are a more informal, less polished method of showing up online. On top of this, nowadays stories are significantly more viewed than static feeds. This is also a place where if you are showing up consistently, you’ll be looped in that upper bar of your most loyal followers. But remember, per tip #1, you’re coming back to deliver one thing: VALUE to your viewers.
What meaningful thing can you offer to your audience? What have they been asking for? What posts have gotten you the most traction in the recent (pre-hiatus) past? And remember, entertainment is a form of value as well. How do your followers like to be entertained? Humour? Education? A little peek behind the scenes in our life or in your business?
And here’s a little added tip – stories should be just that – a story. Stories have a clear beginning, middle, and end. If you’re still feeling stuck here, there are lots of ideas for Instagram stories on the interwebs that you can get your hands on with a quick Google Search.
3. Engagement is key.
I am a firm believer that in the world of social media – provided you are not a Kardashian or whatever – that you can expect to get as much OUT of social media as you put INTO it. That is to say, if you drop in and post something and never engage with your followers, well, don’t expect them to engage back with you. Think of it as a giant digital networking party. If you’re showing up, buying one drink and standing in the corner of the room the whole time, you’re not likely going to leave much of an impact.
Give your comeback some legs by responding to comments left on your most recent posts, check in with your followers to see what they’ve been up to lately. Settle in for some good ol’ stories viewing and drop into the DMs of your valued viewers. These types of activities will find their way back to you and your account.
So tell me, what is the longest time you’ve gone silent on social media? What goes through your mind? Was it intentional or unintentional?
For me, it usually starts with a shift in focus, and before I know it, two weeks have slid past and I need to get out the social media defibrillator to bring my account back from the dead. And I have done it many times, enough to know that you have absolutely nothing to worry about and certainly nothing to apologize for. Everyone is too busy worrying about themselves to care that your account went quiet for a few days.
I hope that these tips help get you out of that rut, give you a good clear (re)starting point and allow you to be a little more forgiveness toward yourself.