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I think most independent businesses want to love Instagram again. A lot of us fell in love with even the idea of running our own businesses by being exposed to the infectious vibe of the small biz community and wanting to be a part of it. It felt like such an exciting place, where we could step away from the status quo and turn a passion into something more. But over time this creative utopia has become more restrictive. A lot of us now think of Instagram with negativity. And I was the same at the beginning of the year.
Instagram burnt me out creatively
I didn’t just want to stop creating for Instagram, but it made me want to stop creating in general! It was so disheartening to spend time making something only for it to be ignored. I felt more like I was creating just to put something out there, rather than sharing something I wanted to do. And there is so much on the platform. I wanted to experiment with Reels, but where was I supposed to find the time between that and my grid posts? I thought of leaving the platform altogether. But then I decided to try a different approach – a static grid.
What is a static Instagram grid?
For me creating a static grid meant making what is often referred to as an “Instagram gird puzzle.” I mapped out a grid of 21 posts and decided which content would be on each post. I made it a bit like a mini version of my website. There were posts about who I am, what I do, how I was using Instagram, the specifics of my services, a bit about my design ethos, and posts that pointed toward other resources online.
Then I designed the grid around these posts, adding texture, colour and overlapping bits. It felt like a collage which I loved, and I think suits the style of my branding very well. I posted the entire grid at once at the beginning of May. I’m writing this near the end of September and I’d say it has served me well!
How did it affect my account?
I didn’t see much change in terms of engagement or growth. My account wasn’t growing to begin with, so there wasn’t much further down to go. And being able to focus more on Reels, Stories and connecting with people seemed to do the trick. I wouldn’t suggest it as a route to take if you’re actively looking to grow an audience!
But for me, who was burnt out and didn’t want to create – it was perfect. It was so nice to just not care about the grid for a while, but still feel like if someone wanted to reach me they could find what they were looking for and then communicate with me on Stories or DMs.
What’s next for my Instagram account?
I tend to get a creative burst in the autumn, and I feel like creating more content (hello this blog post, for example). So I am going to be reverting from a static grid to a dynamic one for at least the next season of my business while I try to refine my audience and connect with more people in the vintage industries. My plan is mostly around creating more content for this blog, then transferring some of that to Instagram and Pinterest.
Would I do it again?
Absolutely. It was the perfect way for me to put my account into a bit of a hibernation mode, especially during the months of the year when fewer people are spending time online anyway.
It gave me the space to truly ignore what felt like an obligation and to experiment with new ways of creating content.
And it got me back to a place where I’m excited to share again! This time with less pressure on posting certain things at certain times. I’m going to allow myself the space to post what I think will be most valuable when I feel like it.