Have you ever felt like you’ve outgrown your Instagram account? This is a common feeling that most influencers, bloggers, content creators, and online entrepreneurs feel. Especially when they’ve been on social media for an extended period of time. My guests on today’s episode of Her Life By Design are Dani Rodriguez and Kelsey Johnson. Between the 3 of us, we know a thing or two about rebranding and pivoting on Instagram. If you’re feeling a shift but you’re unsure about how to navigate this delicate space, this episode is for you. We’re chatting about the telltale signs and knowing when to rebrand and pivot on Instagram.
Knowing When to Rebrand and Pivot on Instagram
Dani, the creator behind dani_the_explorer started her career as a travel influencer. But she has since pivoted and expanded into the realm of online education. As for Kelsey, she worked in influencer marketing before going full-time with her business. Today, she is a content creator, photographer, and model in both the travel and creative lifestyle space. All 3 of us share a similar story, as we have pivoted and rebranded at some point during our entrepreneurial journeys.
We all understand what a challenging, scary, yet exciting shift pivoting and rebranding can be. From fears like “what will my current audience think,” to “will people bother sticking around,” Dani, Kelsey, and I have experienced it all.
So if you need the encouragement to take the leap and follow your instincts, we’re here to make the rebranding process a little less intimidating.
Rebrand and Pivot to Create a Sustainable Business Model
When Dani and Kelsey both started their travel accounts on Instagram, things were wildly different.
For Kelsey, the initial growth stages of her Instagram focused primarily on shooting viral and exciting content. Her content creation strategy involved looking at her analytics and realizing what types of photos were performing well. This led her to create more stunning travel content across picturesque destinations that people responded to.
Looking back, Kelsey wishes she had spent more time focusing on growing an engaged community. Like many of us, she was focusing on growing her follower count. As she reflects, “trying to go to a crazier place after crazier place [to shoot content] isn’t really sustainable in the long run.”
This idea is something Danny agrees with in terms of rebranding as well. And if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that traveling from destination to destination is not a sustainable business model.
Why Social Media is All About Adapting to Change
Although it was much easier to grow on Instagram in 2011, there are many benefits and perks to starting your Instagram account from scratch today. For starters, a smaller following means a more tight-knit community. And these days, brands are recognizing the power that micro-influencers have through their smaller but more engaged following.
What’s more, Reels and TikTok have evened out the playing field, blurring the lines between established influencers and powerful newcomers. “Nowadays, it’s not even a thing to really be posting images,” Danny remarks. “Everybody wants to see TikToks, Reels, short videos, and long-form videos.”
As a result, newcomers are ready and willing to adapt and change to these mediums. Whereas established influencers are learning the ropes, trying their very best to let go of old habits in order to adapt to new trends.
Remember the days where white-bordered photos were all the rage on Instagram? That’s a great example of a trend that’s no longer relevant. Since social media has gone through waves of trends over the years, these white-borders being one of them, it has also eliminated the players who refuse to adapt to changes. The users who couldn’t let go of the white-border trend saw slower growth as a result of their unwillingness to adapt.
“The people that never went past chose not to go past that style. Those accounts didn’t grow and their engagement dropped. We’re in an industry where you need to adapt. And I think that’s what makes it fun. And that’s a good thing.”
Knowing When to Pivot and Rebrand on Instagram
Truth be told, one of the telltale signs that I was due for a rebrand and pivot was that getting the perfect shot became something I dreaded. I no longer felt excited or invigorated by the process, as I found my passions aligning and expanding in a different direction.
This is an experience that Kelsey can somewhat agree with. “I still love killing myself to get a shot. I love climbing up a mountain and freezing my ass off to get one photo that may or may not turn out,” Kelsey shares. But she realized two things that encouraged her to take the leap and pivot her business. “I realized it’s not sustainable. If I want to actually build my business to grow larger, be a businesswoman and entrepreneur, I can’t always be doing that. I don’t have the time to run a business and always be doing that.”
Since pivoting, Kelsey has found new joys and alignment with her business that excites her. “With 2020, I finally have my own apartment and I get to be in one place. Those are things I don’t want to give up. And I want to be able to shoot a brand project and not have to climb a mountain if I don’t have time to do that. It’s just not sustainable as we get older. And honestly, and I have other interests in my life.”
Establishing Personality and Building Community
I’m not going to sugarcoat it–pivoting and rebranding is really tough. Although it’s generally great practice to niche down in the beginning of your online career, it’s important to focus on establishing your personality as well as nurturing relationships with your followers to help you pivot with a little more ease in the future.
Dani shares, “eventually you’re going to grow out of those passions, making it a little bit more difficult to rebrand later.” To which, she advises everyone to find the value in establishing their personality and building community from the get-go. “You need to establish a personality and a relationship with your followers and build a community so that no matter what endeavors you go on, those who truly enjoy you for you are going to follow you on your journey.”
However, this also raises the question–will you lose followers through a rebrand and pivot? And if so, how do you handle that? After all, you’ve spent years building the following you currently have, and the thought of losing followers can stop you from making the pivot all together.
Having pivoted my own business from serving the travel niche to one that discusses social media, entrepreneurship, and business, I know that losing followers is inevitable. But the way I see it, the people who unfollow me aren’t going to engage with my content anymore. On the other side, I’m gaining new people that are discovering me who are actually interested in my content. So yes, you will lose people on this journey, but you’ll gain the right kind of audience as well.
Remembering Your Why
At the end of the day, the decision to rebrand and pivot needs to be rooted in your “why.” There’s no easy way to say this, but you will lose followers when you decide to pivot and rebrand to align with your current passions and desires.
Through our respective rebrands–Dani, Kelsey, and I have experienced a massive dip in engagement on new content that aligns with our updated values. This is why it’s so important to remember and stay rooted in your “why.” ”Now when I post a photo that’s more editorial, more fashion based, and less about a pretty landscape, it’s obviously going to tank,” Kelsey admits. “I’m going to get no likes, I’m going to lose followers, and I know that going into it. That is why I have to remember the ‘why.’ And the ‘why’ is that I’m fulfilled creatively.”
Kelsey emphasizes the importance of creating content that serves for larger reasons beyond likes, comments, and saves. For her, posting these editorial photos are another way for her to diversify her clientele, showcasing her capabilities beyond landscape photography.
And if you need more encouragement to take the leap, Dani reminds listeners “at the end of the day, if you are confident in what you’re doing, you feel fulfilled, you’ve set yourself up for success by having diverse income streams, and you are running a business… getting so hell bent on showing up as this perfect person online that you feel is only half of who you really are for the sake of engagement is doing you such a disservice for the rest of your life.”
The Growing Pains of Running a Business
To pivot or not to pivot? Is going through the painstaking task of rebranding worth it? If these questions constantly plague your mind, this episode is for you. Don’t just take it from me, but listen to two other established entrepreneurs who have been in the same intersection that you’re currently in. Yes, rebranding and pivoting your business and social media presence is uncomfortable and scary. But what’s waiting for you on the other side of this fear is growth and endless opportunities.
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Dani’s website: https://dani-the-explorer.com/
Kelsey’s website: http://kelsey-johnson.com/
Clout Check podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/clout-check/id1509161856