I'm currently living in the Caribbean on the island of st. Martin with my husband as he goes to medical school. Since moving, I’ve had to adjust to slower internet speeds as I run my online business.
The internet is not as strong here, so it's challenging. Especially when it comes to interacting with my community on social media. I’m at the mercy of the internet speed at that time. It can vary from day to day and hour to hours.
Even so, I’ve adjusted and have made the best of the resources I have.
I’ve also adjusted to not having the same social media features as many of my community members.
For example, when Twitter rolled out “Fleets “ (twitter’s version of stories) and voice tweets, I felt like I was the last in the world to get them!
When Instagram rolled out Reels I didn’t get them and I felt like the odd man out!
I quickly became ok with not having Instagram reels because I felt it just wasn’t the marketing tactic for me. Until Someone on Twitter suggested a 15-day Instagram Reels challenge.
I needed to build up my engagement and increase my reach on Instagram, so I thought this would be the perfect way to do it.
There was only one problem: I didn’t have Reels in St. Maarten.
Luckily, I went home to the states for a month. While I was there, I not only got Reels but a host of new features Instagram rolled out at the time.
I received the new shopping feature, that allowed me to shop with businesses right in the app.
I also received the Guides feature that allowed me to create carousel-like posts in a dedicated area of the app.
I was in Instagram heaven!
I loved the new features that were available to me. They meant new ways to connect with my community, reach new people, and build my audience.
The suggestion for the 15-day Reels challenge came just before I left the States to go back to the Caribbean.
And when I got back and got settled...all my new Instagram features were gone!
I was so sad! I thought that I’d finally be able to use the same features as everyone else and start to build my audience back up after a short hiatus.
But Instagram had other plans for me. This drastic change most likely came due to my location change. I had the new features while in the States, but those same features hadn’t been available in my area yet.
A few valuable lessons were reinforced for me.
It is important to be active on social media and be willing to try new features, especially when they’re free to use. Although I wasn’t able to complete the Reels challenge, I was able to try it. I saw an increase in reach and engagement on those posts.
It’s also important to diversify your marketing streams. I wasn’t able to use Instagram at its fullest capacity because I didn’t have access to all its features at the time. I couldn’t use Reels on Instagram, but I could start a Tik Tok account (which I did). I learned to be flexible.
The most important lesson that was reinforced, was to build a platform that I OWN. Better known as my email list.
I understand the restrictions I experienced on Instagram were due to location. But I don’t own my Instagram account. I’m renting it. . If at any point they decide to further restrict my account or shut it down permanently, they have the right to do so!
This lets me know that I have to build a community that I own, control, and gives me direct access to members.
Email marketing does that for me.
Through email marketing, I have direct access to people with similar interests. I can easily share resources, encourage them, and speak to them in a personal way.
It’s the best way for me to build a community around my brand values and promote my business at the same time.
So, while this was a personal story of why I choose to focus on my email list, I hope it encourages you to do the same!
Owning your assets is the lifeblood of your business!
When you own your community, content, and data, you won’t have to depend on another company to grow your business.
You have the freedom to build a thriving business because everything you create is truly yours.
If you can't tell, email list building is important to me. And I’m making it my business to help as many Black Women Business Owners build theirs too. If you fall into this category and you want to start building a community you own, grab my ebook on how to build your email list with ease.
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