Have you ever thought of taking a break from Instagram?
Or maybe it just happened by accident…
You know what I’m talking about…and it’s worse than a Ross + Rachel break.
That feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realized you took a long (sometimes unintentional) break over on Instagram.
At first, it was just a day…
Then it was two…
Suddenly over a week’s gone by and you’re starting to sweat.
Is your account as good as dead? Did the algorithm swallow it whole?
Pshhh. Don’t worry!
I’ve taken more accidental (and intentional) breaks than I should admit as an “Instagram marketer”, but hey, it happens.
And the good news? Since I’ve done it, I know it’s possible to recover and get your Instagram engagement back up.
How to Bounce Back after Taking a Break from Instagram
Woof. This one makes most of us really nervous. I see some accounts SUPER hesitant to even take a weekend off from posting.
Thoughts of “will everyone leave me?!” or “will the algorithm turn against me?” come faster + more furious than the ninthhhh sequel will in 2020 (seriously, I just looked that up. absolutely insane)
Since I am not one to shy away from an Instagram break up (or two, or three), here’s how I get my account back in shape and increase Instagram engagement after a break!
1. I don’t acknowledge it.
Because most of the time people say they just assumed the algorithm swallowed me up. I’d rather come back with something IMPACTFUL. Something for my audience, something that you need to hear or could be helpful for you.
Telling you “I’ve haven’t posted in awhile because *insert: all my excuses here*” isn’t that uplifting or motivating.
At any given time, Instagram is full of people posting “I’m sorry I’ve been MIA around here….”
Remember that your customers/followers are always secretly (unknowingly even to them at times) asking “what’s in it for me?”
So, what do they need to hear today?
Unless I’m coming at it from a helpful place (like sharing why I took a break, how it’s okay and we all struggle with the Instagram pressure, or how to bounce back like I’m doing now), I don’t find it very exciting when accounts come back and apologize.
You don’t have to apologize for making decisions in your business.
I was busy / it wasn’t a priority last month / I was stressed out at work = shit we all feel as business owners.
But your average customer (the people paying money for your stuff) doesn’t think of Instagram like that. She just wants to hop on and find some new inspiration, a funny photo or story to laugh over, or a place where she feels she belongs.
And I also wouldn’t want your customers to feel that you think of your business as a stressor or something that doesn’t bring you joy. I’m not saying you can’t ever be real – but remember to keep in mind what she’s going through.
When you come back, come back hard FOR HER.
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2. I get my booty on Stories.
Video, video get dowwwn. J.Tim was really onto something.
While stories seem a little affected by the algorithm (I always see certain folks I watch more often at the beginning), it’s still a place where if you show up consistently, you’ll be up in that little feed we all watch on a big loop.
Seriously, I’ll often find myself at work “checking out stories” and realize I’ve been watching for 25 minutes. #sorrynotsorry?
So when I come back, I come back with Stories – ones that serve a purpose.
My favorite new way to do stories (which I don’t always do or isn’t always necessary), is to tell at least a 3-part “series” every time. So if I’m posting about a new tip – I try to share 3 stories that surround it. For example,
- an intro text story about what I’m sharing
- the actual tip – maybe in video or as a screenshot
- a follow up “text overlay” that gives more direction (where to go next, asks a question, etc)
I love the fun one-off stories too (like when I get a super pretty cocktail out and it needs to be shared because #adultingishard), but otherwise I’ve really been liking that format for going a little deeper with each topic, instead of hitting a bunch of random things during the day.
Extra Credit: Go LIVE! Instagram loves loves loves live video and it will likely propel you to the front of the stories roll to help remind your followers you exist!
Extra Extra Credit: Show up on Stories in a way different from everyone else. What can you do to stand out? Is there a new video trend (like stop motion, creating gifs, etc) you could use to provide a unique experience for your audience?
I learned a TON from Alex Beadon’s GramSlam videos and they gave me so many ideas for what to share on Instagram Stories.
3. I engage my booty.
Booty booty booty booty rockin’ everywherrre. (I told you not to apologize for your business, so I won’t do that… but… I KNOW IT’S BAD that I’m quoting the Ying Yang Twins. I’m not proud people… not proud.)
You can’t just hop back on after a break and think it’s okay to take a backseat. Those first few days back, I spend a lot of time engaging:
- with those I follow in my feed
- with those who left comments on old posts (I click over to their profile and see what they’ve been up to)
- with my followers (click on your ‘followers’ and see what they’re up to!)
- in hashtag feeds my audience hangs out in
What’s the longest time you took a break from Instagram? Did you have all those anxious feelings or was it a planned break from social media?
For me, it usually starts as a short break when I need to focus on other things, but then it grows! Because I’m still always on the app chatting with others and checking out my feed, I often don’t even realize I myself haven’t posted in forever. Which is bad and something I’m working on.
But lucky for you, it’s meant I’ve brought my account back from the dead more times than it should go through. So if you haven taken a break and you’re scared to get back out there or you want to purposefully take some time away, I hope these tips give you the confidence to do it and come back strong.
This was perfect me! I took an intentional break from Instagram in January of this year, and I’m almost ready to get back on there after I get an editorial calendar going on. I loved every tips you gave and will definitely be using this in my comeback. It’s the Return of the Mack on Instagram 😂!
hahah yessss. I love it!!! I hope you have a great comeback girl! How did you find the break? I’m always surprised how much my stress goes down when I focus less on it… I want to make it a bigger priority for myself this year too, but sometimes when I feel that daily stress melt away I’m less sure lol
This was super helpful, so relatable & authentic. I’m so happy I found this article! Please keep helping people like myself you’re so appreciated!
This was a great piece. I have taken a huge break and i honestly felt so bad. The anxiety of coming back to insta is so real, especially that my business is UK Wedding stationery (A lot of fun during a global pandemic). The tips you have given a great! Thank you.
Deff me, I took an unexpected break from my BIZ Ig in April of this year, talk about months!! Its great to take a break, planning my comeback now. Thanks for this read!