Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5
Subscribe

When Instagram canceled his account and destroyed his business, this entrepreneur took matters into his own hands

Elijah Pitman shares five tough lessons he learned so you don't make the same mistakes.

By
This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
  • Don't grow up exclusively on social media
  • Build a reputation beyond social media
  • Take a cross-platform approach

“I remember waking up one morning in 2019 horrified, when I opened Instagram with an error message: your account was disconnected. One of my most important pages at the time was down for an unknown reason, "recalls Elijiah Pitman, an Australian social media expert and CEO of Clout Media.

dole777 vía Unsplash

Pitman had grown a social media business with more than 100,000 followers on Instagram, but on that tragic day, he disappeared. Thus, all their hard work vanished, without explanation, without concessions and without appeals.

Social media is clearly the most important marketing tool of the last decade, but as many are beginning to discover, it is a double-edged sword and you can cut yourself when you least expect it.

What happened to Pitman is not as strange or distant as one might hope. Many business leaders have experienced a similar fate, losing many followers and business connections overnight. But this unfortunate situation did not end Pitman's dream. On the contrary, he went on to build a larger sum of followers on another of his Instagram pages, gaining more than 500,000 followers in three months and building a thriving business around him.

Since then, Pitman has sought to help other entrepreneurs build their network of followers on social platforms, teaching them how to harness it to build longevity. His is a cautionary tale with a happy ending. But here are some obvious lessons you learned along the way.

Photo: Jakob Owens via Unsplash

1. Don't grow up exclusively on social media

It is very easy to develop 100% of your business on social networks. Take advantage of ads, stories, and all the other creative avenues to get your business out there. But an important lesson that the Pitman tragedy has taught me: don't just build your business on social media or as John Obidi would say, "don't build your house on rented land."

Entrepreneurs must learn to systematically take their business out of social media. Pitman's use of this strategy creates strong backing for your clients in case they ever have a social media tragedy like yours. You need to create various avenues to move your followers to your email marketing list or Telegram / WhatsApp group.

You can do this by offering certain free services, products, or information while using mail baits and other strategies to ensure you support your followers and business contacts.

2. Build a reputation beyond social media

Pitman credits his great reputation before and after the tragedy as the main reason for his success with Clout Media. "You can make connections and increase your reputation," he says. "Since then, it is the positive customer feedback and reputation that has allowed Clout Media to continue to be a force in the industry."

This approach doesn't revolve around your products and services, but rather your personal reputation. If you can create a name that people can trust, you can take it to any other company and platform, social media or not.

That is why Pitman believes that it is absolutely necessary to be a recognizable face behind the business and maintain integrity in your dealings. In this way, not even tragedy can stop you.

3. Take a cross-platform approach

The hard work that goes into building a strong cross-platform approach to business on social media is probably why people tend to avoid doing it. But it's also the reason why Pitman's company has become so relevant.

His insistence on having a strong presence and activity on multiple platforms rather than settling on one is a no-brainer based on his experience. Still, it's a strategy he advocates for companies that need to appeal to a diverse audience.

The various platforms offer you a variety of users and it is almost certain that being recognizable in many of them, this will give you and your business longevity.

4. Become a hyper customer

The core feature of Clout Media is how customer-oriented they are in their operations. This is a spill-over from Pitman's tragic Instagram experience and one of the reasons for his current success. Social media is so tempted to be satisfied with views, likes, comments, and requests that you don't recognize your biggest followers and customers and relate to them reasonably.

Building a highly individualized relationship with your social media followers will protect some relationships beyond likes and comments and certainly beyond any tragedy.

Photo: Prateek Katyal via Unsplash

This helped save Pitman earlier, as the genuine connection was his first reason for joining social media. He says: “I've always been passionate about connecting with people and experiencing different cultures and lifestyles. My pages allowed me to do it, driving and motivating the next three years of business growth, since my goal is to help other companies and personalities to achieve their goals in their entirety.

5. Reinvest in yourself

In the end, you are the business and the business is you. The business can never become more important than you, and every investment should be beneficial in you is ultimately an investment in the business.

Pitman's tragedy on social media showed him the value of all the good books he had read and the investments he had made in himself. The internal structures that these formed within him, helped him to get up with his proverbial boots and carry on stubbornly.

His best advice for entrepreneurs has become a simple statement: "Reinvest most of your resources in yourself."

Nobody owns a social network and with the same ease that you acquire a space in it, you can lose it with the same ease. The only thing that cannot be canceled is you. Pitman's success story reminds us all that tragedy is common in business, but it should not be allowed to define or limit progress.

Chidike Samuelson

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Chidike Samuelson is a serial entrepreneur and professional freelance writer specialized in developing content for businesses and websites. He offers general freelance writing services and business consulting at www.couchmentality.com.