Why it isn't cool to ignore your social media fans (when they've paid for your product).
Recently, I've noticed that certain Instagram (and I'm sticking with that particular social media platform for the purposes of this feature) 'celebrities' choose to ignore interaction with their fans. Whether it's a wannabe style icon with 1,800 followers, or a celebrity in the millions, I get that they have their reasons, or excuses, for not replying to every 'ew, that's/you're gross' and 'OMG, that's so pretty' that litters their comments feed. I get it. However, when cash is changing hands, as in, you're paying that insta celeb for an ebook, fitness plan, whatEVER (unless they're in the 30million+ category, obvs) then it's nice to get a little response when you might have a question about that product. Now I'm not even talking a response to an Insta comment, I'm talking about an email, to said insta celeb. It happened to me recently, so I started watching a few of these faces/brands, to see who talked, and who stayed silent.
My first interaction with an insta celeb happened with fitness expert Lita Lewis, AKA @followthelita. She's always been pretty steady with talking to her fans, on both her personal and business Instagram accounts. No, she doesn't have time to chat all day, but if she posts images accompanied by questions that she's asking of her followers, she's going to take some time to reply to some of those comments. Because of her cool-ness, and her ridiculous body (check her out, she is THE epitome of #fitthick), I decided to invest in her Leg & Booty Blaster plan, a PDF that I downloaded to my iBooks - I remember that it wasn't cheap, maybe around the £30 mark (my current frugal self just shivered at that amount), but hey, she has some amazing legs and booty, ok? I remember having a couple of questions about the plan, and she answered them. No biggy right? But when you sometimes feel stranded, without the right information, it can be a Godsend when the author/owner of something you paid for, gets in touch. Now, imagine I'd asked her the same question three times, with no response, or, worse still, imagine I had been contacting her via email, asking her why my download had recently disappeared from my iBooks?
Then imagine that she just ignores the emails, ignores the Instagram comments/pleads of 'please can you check your email when you find a little bit of time to deal with it, thank you' but yet happily keeps posting new Instagram pix. Kind of annoying, right?
Well, this never happened with Lita, but it did happen with Loni Jane (@lonijane). While I was on holiday in Jamaica I stumbled across her Instagram and just LOVED her approach to healthy eating. She eats a plant-based diet but her Insta isn't really about preaching; instead she shows you the true abundance of the fruit and veg that is all around us and shares a ton of recipes for skin clearing juices and healthy dinners. As my Jamaican diet hadn't been too healthy throughout my hols, I decided to download her Feel the Lean ebook at midnight one night, and, even though I was knackered from the day's excursions, I sat up and read EVERY SINGLE PAGE. Even though it has its fair share of typos (that's the editor in me) the book is a bright, colourful, informative read, and I was instantly enthused to up our juice game and felt confident that I could definitely stick to eating vegan at least 5-6 days a week.
Fast forward a couple of months and one fatal iPhone 6 screen smash, and I'm waiting for my repaired phone to arrive from the Apple gang. Thankfully (and surprisingly, for me) I had backed up everything to The Cloud, and so within minutes I had all my fave apps and content back. Except for my Feel the Lean ebook. Let me tell you, I was mortified. What the hell was I going to do? And then I reminded myself that the book cost the equivalent of £15 (Loni is based in Australia), and since my recent efforts to live a more frugal life (blog on THAT coming soon), it was not an option for me to either buy it again, or just leave it altogether. I also reminded myself that as I had paid for it, and all that she - or her team, if she had one - had to do was send a new download link. I told myself that, as Loni is most likely a human being she would hopefully just re-send a link. I sent a super nice email, plus a screen grab to prove the purchase, and sat back in the warm glow that someone as cool as Loni would surely get back to me within about 48 hours.
But nope, I was dead wrong. I waited a few days before forwarding the email back to her again - after checking again that I'd sent it to the correct address (I had) - and again, hoped for a response.
But there was none, so I thought I'd head to her Instagram. Without wanting to come across as a complete stalker, I commented on two, maybe three of her recent posts, basically asking if she could find the time to respond to my email. She never responded to my comments or the email, but in the meantime I actually managed to get my download BACK! It came back once I checked for software updates, so while I was a little surprised at her crappy after sales, I didn't really care, as I had what I needed.
I continued (and continue) to follow Loni on Instagram, and as Insta is one of the social media platforms that I work on for a few of my clients, I'm on it a lot. While Loni was still posting regularly, I couldn't help but notice other pleading messages from other followers (she has 347k followers, so I respect the fact that these are a mere handful amongst them). Some were asking about why their cards had been charged, despite the fact that they hadn't received their download link, and this was after they'd already tried emailing. Now, this isn't a 'bash Loni Jane' blog - these are my thoughts based on what I have seen occur over a number of weeks, and no, I don't have time to go through every single one of her posts to monitor her interactions before and after this period. And why should I? To me, ignoring a paying customer is basically like sticking your fingers up at them while you're sipping your coconut water by your infinity pool, somewhere exotic. If you, the Instagram account holder, can't reply, then get someone in to help you. Or send an auto response saying you'll reply within seven days - just do something to make them feel heard.
For those that already follow Loni, you'll know that she's just announced she's pregnant with her second child, and she cites that as a reason for her being 'a little off Instagram for the past 3 months'. But to me, seriously, that's BS. If you find the time to crop an image and create a caption, you have time to do a couple of replies telling people that you will indeed get your head out of your perfectly stocked fridge and send them an email.
And Loni isn't the only one - just as Lita isn't the only fitness professional that's good at engaging with her followers. They're humans, just like us! For every Insta celeb who embraces interaction and even shares her fans' posts - like Kayla Itsines for instance, who has almost 4million followers - there's always going to be someone who likes promoting their brand and making serious money from it but prefers to avoid talking to the people who pay that money. When someone gets out their credit card to pay you for an ebook, i.e. something that does not exist in the 'real' world, it's because they believe in you 100 percent - and I think they deserve more than silence.
What do you think? Am I being naive? Or have you experienced something similar? Let me know in the comments below - you don't have to name names if you don't want to!