Marketing without Instagram as an introverted entrepreneur

Have you ever been to a party and immediately realised that you do NOT belong there?

Everyone’s having the best time ever, and you’re hugging the wall waiting for a socially acceptable amount of time to have passed so you can go home.

Yeah, that’s what instagram feels like. At least for this introverted business owner. All that forced extroversion, the pressure to be “on” all the time…it’s exhausting.

Table of Contents

What happened?

I started promoting my business on Instagram purely because

1. It was there &
2. It seemed like my only option.

As a small business owner the pressure to not only be on social media, but to be the ‘face’ of your company is immense.

Nothing I did was ever enough. If I wasn’t posting daily, that would be lazy. If I didn’t post reels I couldn’t grow my account. You can’t just show your face on stories you need to talk, show your personality, give your unique perspective / ‘hot take’. Honestly, so exhausting. 

This thing is though, I did it, and I did it all, and for a long time.

Along the way I burnt out, despised my business, and got addicted to vanity metrics. I have found some amazing clients & opportunities through Instagram, and I am so thankful. But if I’m being transparent I know that the only reason I’ve stuck it out on the platform for as long as I have was because I was scared of what would happen if I didn’t. 

Then something changed.

The Introverted Entrepreneur and the Instagram Struggle

I am an introvert. For the longest time that felt like a dirty word, especially as a self employed person. Getting comfortable with feeling uncomfortable is normal, but to what degree should that be expected?

For me forcing myself into these uncomfortable situations time and time again left me in a never ending cycle of burnout.

Here’s what would happen:

    Fun, right?!

    For a while I thought I just had a content creation problem. Maybe some templates would help? Or I should just repurpose my content. That wasn’t it though, it was so much deeper.

    I had a birthday in March. I woke up on my birthday and the first thing I did was open Instagram and check my insights. ON. MY. BIRTHDAY. I didn’t even open Whatsapp to read the birthday messages from my friends and family. I just went straight to the gram.

    Something had to give, this wasn’t healthy.

    The Wake-up Call and the Search for Alternatives

    So, why was checking my metrics so frantically? Well, because early this year something changed on Instagram. If you go on the explore page right now I guarantee you’ll find half a dozen ‘hot takes’ of people saying variations on:

    ‘It’s not the algorithm, your content just sucks’

    Not the nicest way of wording things I will say, but are they right? I mean that the fact that so many people are saying it means even more people must be complaining about the algorithm. So either everyone’s content went to mush overnight, or something has changed.

    Now look, am I saying we should just blame the platform for everything? No of course not, but I do think it’s disingenuous to say that the platform has zero responsibility and that it’s solely the users fault. Especially when I looked into the metrics of the people posting these things, and could clearly see that their content was also not doing as well as it used to. 

    Either way, be it me or the algorithm, the drop in reach was the wake up call I needed. I’d been using Instagram exclusively for way too long, this change was a great opportunity to explore some alternative options with zero consequences.

    Finding my Ideal non-social media Marketing Channels

    Lesson learned, relying on one platform was a dumb mistake. My new goal is to find alternatives for my marketing that not only feels good for me, but also prioritises sustainability & long term business health.

    Here’s what I’m doing now & next, and I’ll also be listing some alternatives that I may explore in the future. 


    Pinterest is not a social media platform. It’s a lot more like Google in the sense that it’s a search engine. SEO, and time, are the main drivers here. You won’t see instant results like you would on Insta, it’s a long game that takes patience. That’s not something I realised when I tried using the platform previously, but I’m so ready to embrace it this time around. 

    Also, I’d be remiss to not have a cheeky link to my Pinterest!

    Blogging & Mailing List

    Blogging is naturally interesting to me. I’ve had a blog on my website for the longest time but I never used it to its full potential (I’m looking at you ChatGPT written blogs…).

    To be completely honest I didn’t know what to write about, so I didn’t write at all. But I just have a really good feeling about long form content being big this year, and even if it doesn’t I just love to write so why not give it a go!

    Plus I have a TON of resources in my back pocket that I can give to other designers & biz owners, the blog seems like a great place to share them.


    I’ve always been aware of SEO, but never fully embraced it until now. When I tell you I dove deep into learning everything I could about the how and why you should invest time in SEO, honestly it’s my newest obsession, ask me anything!

    SEO is a really long game, but I genuinely think of everything on this list it’ll be the one that’ll have the biggest payoff. 

    I have a mini explainer on SEO here, plus I’ll be blogging more about it in the future! 


    This is the scariest platform for me. I was a recruiter back in the day. I had to use LinkedIn all the time, and I HATED it. I always felt grimy sliding into people’s inbox asking them to either quit their job, or hire someone new. Just thinking about it now makes my skin crawl.

    I know I need to get over this fear, and that I won’t be using it like I did when I was in recruitment. My big goal for April is to optimise my profile, and start slowly refamiliarising myself with the platform. 

    Other options for you, & ones I'm open to exploring next

    Podcasts:  Great for sharing your knowledge and insights with a wider audience, ideal for introverts who prefer in-depth conversations over constant posting.

    In-person events: Connect with your audience face-to-face, network with other professionals, and building stronger relationships (maybe not for someone super introverted, but worth metioning!).

    Guest blogging: Share your expertise on established blogs in your niche, reach a new audience, and build credibility.

    Guest podcasting: Just like guest blogging, but on podcasts! Share your knowledge with a targeted audience and leverage the host’s established platform.

    Paid ads: Targeted promotion to reach your ideal customers  without the algorithm guessing game.

    What’s next & follow along

    I am nowhere near ready to fully ‘quit’ Instagram. I don’t think I will ever leave the platform fully. I do love and value the connections I’ve built over there, especially with other designers. I do need to prioritise my own well being though, & find other options that may be a better fit for me. No more checking insights in the middle of the night, it’s not healthy!

    I wish I could fast forward 6 months and tell you what worked and what didn’t work, but I’m still right at the beginning of a long term journey. What I can promise you though is complete and utter transparency, and radical honesty about the reality of marketing yourself without social media. 

    For the next 6 months minimum will be posting a monthly update blog telling you what worked and what didn’t. I’ll also be updating my newsletter with wins & losses along the way. So, if this post resonates with you and you want to follow along, I would be delighted to have you on-board. 

    For now though thank you so much for reading, I’m glad you’re here.

    Sharing is caring!
    Quitting Instagram for my business