Drum roll…pleaseee!! I’d like to formally announce that I have hit the whopping 10,000 follower mark. And not just 10,000 any old, but 10K. Yes, the little K is what every influencer seems to be after, and it finally happened. If you don’t have an Instagram, you probably think I’m absolutely nuts for wanting to celebrate a number of following, and you’re probably right. It’s just crazy to think that just over 3 years of me having a love/hate relationship with this social media app, Here. I. Am.
First of all, I want to thank everyone for the support, love, and encouragement to get to this point. Really a million thank you’s! I’ve met some great people IRL from this and some virtually! Second of all, I am no expert, nor do I claim to be.
Here’s what I’ve learned throughout my blogging career:
How to Grow Your Instagram
It’s Beyond Frustrating
For everyone, Instagram will be frustrating. It will probably make you rip your hair out and want to throw your phone out the window, and just straight up delete the app. The algorithms are constantly changing, making it harder and harder for people to find your profile/posts organically which makes it that much harder to grow your account. With that being so out of your control, it’s easy to get discouraged.
Remind yourself (I know I did) when your engagement dropped, when your follower count dropped, RIDE IT OUT. It’s a number (ironic I know me saying that as I write a post about me hitting 10k).
Don’t Play the Comparison Game
And yes, I am *guilty* of comparing myself to other influencers. Why did it take me almost 3 years to get to 10k? And others can get there within a year. @____ can get 500 likes on her photo with this amount of followers, what am I doing wrong? If only I was ____. I get it, it doesn’t end. But STOP.
What you (and me) need to realize and keep reminding ourselves is that there is so much going on beneath the surface that you don’t know about. There’s a lot of accounts that are growing at an insane amount and have real/genuine followers and engagement, but there’s also a lot that isn’t. People (and brands) may not know the difference. But, just keep doing your thing, and the rest will come. You will find “comparison is the thief of joy” all over this platform, and it’s very true. After all, it’s only an app.
Post Quality Over Quantity
This is one of the most important things to remember. As much as everyone will hate to admit it, Instagram is a visual platform. If you want people to want to follow you or engage with you, you have to have beautiful pictures. We live in an age of information overload, and we all have shorter and shorter attention spans so if you don’t catch a follower’s attention visually, they aren’t going to stop and read your post, see what you’re about, or let alone follow you. I’ll be the first to admit I am still learning how to edit pictures, and how to capture great lighting, the whole 9 yards. But you better believe I tryyyy.
I also will occasionally use a professional photographer, I am lucky enough that I have a friend who is a photographer because I can complain to her the whole photoshoot (and she will put up with me) and help me create a gallery of high-quality images. Don’t get me wrong, I do still take some pictures with my iPhone.
It’s not all About Numbers
It’s so easy to get sucked into the “game” of Instagram. Where you obsessively are on the app 24/7, watch your follower count very very closely, and count every new follower as the biggest deal, and every lost follower as an even bigger deal. Don’t. Create content because you love doing it and everything will follow. One of the things that I absolutely love about Instagram is creating the perfect picture and caption combo. Yes, it’s a visual platform. But I also love the captions to express myself. To what I’m feeling, to try and be extra witty, to have a moment – really anything! And I like to think my followers like it too. That’s my reason – to create content I love, express myself, and be creative. Don’t forget your “why” as you obsess over followers, otherwise, you’ll lose your mind.
Bring Value to Your Followers
Once you’re creating quality content, remember to bring value to your followers. If you’ve created a gallery of images from an amazing trip you just took, tell your followers everything they need to know about that location, insider tips, or where they need to go while there. If you learned something new, share your knowledge/wisdom. If something funny happened, tell the story and share the giggles. If something hard/terrible has happened, be vulnerable. Let your followers get to you know. Beautiful pictures are important, but there are literally millions of people creating pretty pictures on Instagram and it’s your job to bring value to people’s precious time.
Why should people be following you? What value are they bringing to their lives?
Respond to Comments & Messages
If people took the time to acknowledge you, respect that. Respect them. It’s so easy to respond, this is also how I found my IG tribe, my community. I’ve “met” so many great fellow bloggers online and if I didn’t reach out or respond to them, this would have never happened. After all, it’s called social media for a reason.
Don’t Be Fake
This is simple, but as the Instagram algorithm continues to change I get it it’s frustrating and can be tempting to buy likes or followers, but DON’T DO IT! These days, Instagram is becoming saturated with influencers and companies are evolving/becoming savvy with realizing the authenticity of an account. It’s better to have a smaller account with genuine and engaged followers. It’s so obvious when someone has a ton of followers and no comments/likes on pictures, or if all the comments are emojis, or if their follower demographic is strange, OR (this one is my favorite) if their followers have zero pictures, no followers, and are following thousands of people. It is a dead giveaway.
My followers are the majority in the United States majority in San Diego, CA and Boston, MA ages 25-34 years old with more women than men. This is exactly the demographic I serve and that I identify with. Do yourself a favor, and grow your account authentically, even if it’s slow.
If I can get to 10k followers on Instagram, then so can you!
~ XOXO, the blogger/influencer, Amanda