Photo by User2740265 on Freepik

So you’re an Instagram addict who loves to post pictures of your food, your clothes, your room, your parties, and basically pretty much your every little thing. You’ve been displaying the phases of your love life and now your picture-perfect family on social media for years, and you’ve been able to successfully build up a huge fan following on your personal Instagram account.

You are happy, satisfied and feel good about yourself. You feel like a celebrity, even though you’re not really one. But who cares? You’ve got so many fans! So many people are praising your luck, your beauty, your possessions, and overall your lifestyle every single day. You breathe into the ‘likes’ and ‘loves’ you receive as push notifications on your phone every hour. Whether you’re eating, dressing up, sleeping, studying, working, sneezing or merely staring at a wall, the comments coming in from your ‘friends’ and ‘fans’ every moment make you feel at the top of the world.

I want to take a pause here and mention that there’s nothing wrong in being the way described above. There’s no problem with that, in and of itself, and that’s not the point I’m trying to make here. Criticising anybody on being an Instagram fan is not the point or the problem here. The problem is something else.

The problem is when you start assuming that your fan following is 100% in love with and overly sincere with you, and will be willing to go an extra mile to support you in whatever you do in life. The problem is when you are unable to understand why exactly all those people are following you, and start making assumptions that they’ll continue to follow you, even if you try to take them into a totally different direction. The problem is when you assume that if you start a business, you’ll be able to instantly convert your fans into your customers.

You see, you gathered all those fans by posting photos of yourself and the beauty of your personal life. Now whether that ‘beauty’ is real or fake is a topic for another day. What we’re getting at now is, these people may just ‘like’ you at the surface (ouch), and some of them might even be jealous of you for having such a ‘perfect’ life.

No no, these people are not wicked or evil. They’re just normal people. That’s just how a human brain works. We are all tuned to find faults, make criticism and ridicule stuff that’s put out there for us to see whenever we are in the entertainment mode, and that’s when we scroll through our social media in the first place. We are looking for stuff that we can joyfully comment on, photos in which we seek deviation from perfection, and Instagram ‘stories’ that give us a chance to peak into people’s personal lives, just so we can gossip about them in our free time. In return, we give those people ‘loves’, ‘likes’ and ‘shares’. It’s kinda like a social service, and it works both ways.

It would’ve been different though if you had gathered those fans by sharing your wisdom and inspiration on social media. Then those people could’ve been admiring your business acumen, and willing to try out any product or service that you start selling later on.

But if your fan following is based purely on photos that exhibit the beauty, love and riches in your life, then you’ll be setting yourself up for a major heartbreak (plus of course, financial loss) if you start a business venture, and expect your fans to buy from you or even follow you on your official business page.

This would particularly not work if your Instagram content and photos were completely irrelevant to the business you start. There are people who have a fan following of 100k+ on their love life photos; and they go about investing hefty amounts in tech startups or foreign exchange platforms, thinking they have the leverage of a ready-made customer base, as if their Instagram fans would be lining up to buy their service as soon as it is launched.

Dude, that’s not how it works!

A business needs a targeted niche to be reached out to in the right context, to be able to make sales and build up a customer base. Generating a sustainable stream of income for your business is not the same as snapping your meal, uploading it on Instagram, and having people tell you that the food looks delicious. Well yeah, if you’ve been cooking your meals yourself, and people keep telling you that your food is delicious, and then you open up a restaurant or start a catering business, then yes, your fans might buy from you right away! But that’s a different story — in this case, your fans are your niche. Get what I mean?

So, be careful!

The purpose of writing this piece was not to ridicule or hurt the feelings of anyone, but rather to save you from making the mistake of investing huge amounts based on a false assumption that many young people are falling for today.