A mum who struggled to keep her business alive during Melbourne‘s brutal Covid lockdowns is on the edge of collapsing again after Instagram decided to delete her account just two days out from Black Friday.
Natalie Jarvis and her husband’s company Electric Confetti – which designs custom LED light displays and ‘shimmer walls’ – has spent the past seven years painstakingly building up a large following since having the business idea in 2015.
But after a tough few years, including surviving Melbourne being the most locked down city in the world during the coronavirus pandemic, Ms Jarvis is facing another battle.
‘Like many businesses, ours barely survived the pandemic lockdowns, and since then we have slowly been crawling our way back from potential bankruptcy,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Given pre-Christmas is our busiest time of the year, over the past months, we have heavily invested in an upcoming Black Friday marketing campaign.
‘We have built up and have heavily relied on this social media tool for sales and communication, painstakingly working on our content and bright neon posts to build up a sizable customer base and followers to 86.7k.’
Natalie Jarvis and her family (pictured) poured everything into the years biggest sale day day for business Electric Confetti only to have their main way to connect with customers vanish
Ms Jarvis said she had ‘poured everything’ into the marketing campaign for the mammoth sale day of Black Friday on November 25 – only to see the Electric Confetti page, the main place of interaction for her customers, disappear six days ago.
‘In panic mode, I tried to make contact with Instagram to enquire how we could have possibly infringed on their community guidelines as we only post photos of our neon signs created in-house, with none of them offensive in any way,’ she said.
‘What I have discovered is that Instagram is an echo chamber with no customer service or response past automated messages that give us no recourse and no guarantee of having this rectified before 30 days, well past our Black Friday deadline.’
Ms Jarvis said she was desperate to get help from the company and hopes Instagram will pay attention before Friday.
‘Our brand is reflected on Instagram, marketing material directs people there, the page we’ve built up over seven years has vanished with no reason given whatsoever,’ Ms Jarvis told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.
The couple spent seven years building a brand on Instagram but the account was randomly suspended days ago (pictured)
The couple have desperately sent multiple emails a day to Instagram to have the issue resolved only to receive what appear to be standard template responses in broken English.
‘The team has reviewed and informed that the advertiser itself need to report this issue with the team. Rest if you think your account was disable by mistake,’ the response from Instagram reads.
The customer service representative said the account was ‘disabled due to not following Instagram’s Community Standards’ but did not explain what the issue was or any solution to the problem.
The email then informed Ms Jarvis she might receive a standard feedback survey ‘to help us improve’ and to ‘have a good day’.
Ms Jarvis then replied and asked what the sentence of ‘the advertiser needs to report this issue with the team’ meant.
‘This is everything to us, we will need to close our business if this is not resolved,’ Ms Jarvis said.
The business is at risk of collapsing unless the issue is fixed but there has been no solid response from Instagram or Meta
The couple have received a series of infuriating messages from Instagram support
Another representative then replied and said it meant the couple needed to ‘fill the form from your side and can send the submit request’ but no link to a form or further explanation was given.
Yet another representative told the couple ‘rather than giving you any information, I will ensure that we are thorough about it’.
One of the last messages the couple received said they would get an update within 48 hours but they are ‘still completely in the dark about why it’s down and when or if it will be fixed’.
Ms Jarvis said she spent days crying after their page went blank and fears she will lose the business if it is not fixed within the next few days.
‘We didn’t believe we were at risk as we never breached any of Instagram’s policies and our business isn’t political or controversial,’ she said.
‘Sadly, we were mistaken – Instagram can and do get it wrong.’
Ms Jarvis is desperate to get the account back before Black Friday on November 25
The couple from Sandringham in Melbourne have run the small family business since 2015
Ms Jarvis is warning other business to showcase their work on their own website as much as any social media platform.
‘We had so much great feedback that was beneficially used as recommendations of our products and service on our Instagram. We will now keep these recommendations on file for future reference,’ she said.
‘If your Instagram or social media is deleted, there is literally no way to retrieve or maintain any contact with your audience, fans of your work or customers.
‘(I) warn other small businesses to have a backup plan other than relying on social media giants who hold so much power to destroy their business.
‘Newsletters will now be a go-to source of communication for us.’
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Instagram for comment.