Jamie R Cox with a reality check:

“If you only exist in the minds of your consumers as an Instagram handle, you haven’t built a brand. You’ve built an account.”

When I had an Instagram, I may have followed a lot of runners, but once I deleted my account, those runners were gone.

Same with the bands, artists, designers, and photographers I followed.

Hardly anyone pushed me off the app and into their own world – their own website, email list, nothing.

One runner I’ve followed for years – they recently ran the Western States 100 mile ultramarathon. Since I wasn’t on Instagram, I went to their website, which was just a bunch of products for sale. A lot of static bits and pieces.

But oh – they had an email list sign up! I entered my info, and got an email a few seconds later, telling me I was already on the list.

Ooops – I had been on their list for well over a year, and didn’t even remember. I definitely didn’t get anything regarding this big upcoming race, but when I clicked over to the web-version of their Instagram account – woo! There were like a thousand new photos and videos and long captions and stories and reels…

All of which could easily ported to their own website.

I get it – you can’t be everywhere, but… once a fan leaves one of those platforms, what are they left with?

The web is ubiquitous, and so is email. Every smartphone ships with a web browser and an email app.

But if all you have is an Instagram account – I mean, nevermind the weirdos like me who aren’t on social media anymore. There’s people who don’t use Instagram, but will spend hours on TikTok, you know? Or Threads, or Facebook(?!).

It’s time to stop letting our websites be the most boring, out of date corner of your online world. Post photos, stories, rants, memes… stop giving your best material away to platforms that limit your reach, and keep you locked into their universe.