When I first started being serious about building my platform on Instagram in 2016, I wrote down my intentions + my WHY behind doing it. Doing so helped me figure out what I wanted to say, what my purpose would be for building an audience/who my audience is, and what kind of community I wanted to surround myself with. I wanted the takeaways from my content to be valuable, relatable, and most importantly – make others feel encouraged and understood.
Fast forward to last year — I experienced a few months of behind-the-scenes of how many bloggers and influencers “grow” on Instagram. And the method actually surprised me, maybe it was out of naivety thinking everyone grows organically and genuinely, but a lot more people than I realized actually “grow” their numbers via engagement pods that focus on likes-for-likes / follow-for-follow.
After being in engagement pods for a short period last year, it’s like I had the wool removed from my eyes about the glam and quick growth of a blogger’s world. Though I met some amazing new friends this way, it left me feeling like I wasn’t aligned with my original WHY for being on Instagram, and that I was not approaching growth in a real, genuine way.
During that time though, I learned a lot about creating sincere content, what building a community of real people who actually care about your content looks like, and who to listen to when it comes to realizing my worth and value as an influencer on Instagram. It was an awakening for sure, and really reminded me that true value is not found within the numbers on our feed.
All that to say, I’ve come up with four easy ways to revamp your approach to Instagram this year, whether you’re a seasoned blogger or just starting out. It will require a hard heart check and some pruning until your most authentic self/purpose for your passion is left. Because, that version of yourself is the most real, most genuine, and most valuable thing you can use to make an impact on your social media community!
So let’s dive in head first and rewrite the road map to IG success. Here’s how to do it 🙂
FOUR Easy Ways You Can Make A huge Impact
by revamping your Instagram game
👉🏻Don’t get caught up in the desire for ‘more.’ Whether that be more followers, more likes, more money, or more influence. Tell yourself: I am enough as I am, and numbers do not define my value, voice, and worth.
👉🏻Do it for that O N E person. If I can impact, encourage, or be a positive influence on just one person by being my real self here on my blog and on Instagram, then it’s totally worth it to me. No amount of follows or likes will ever make me feel more accomplished than when I’ve received a handwritten note in the mail from a sweet friend I met through IG about how much my words encouraged them through their year by following me on Instagram.
👉🏻Don’t feel like you need high numbers in order to be worth something. Repeat after me: “my worth is not based on a number or analytics.” Our worth and value is already declared over us by our Maker! We were wonderfully made and are already equipped with what we need to make an impact in the world. And here’s the kicker: we are more than enough in the eyes of those who know us + love us for US. Find rest in knowing you are *already* e n o u g h just as you are! And please don’t fall into the social media myth that high numbers is where your worth and value comes from.
👉🏻There will be others who will brush you off or kick you to the curb because you’re not “big.” Just keep doing you, and surround yourself with those who truly care about your content — because that’s all that matters! Real-life example: Last fall, I was told by a photographer that ‘she no longer wanted to/had time to work with me because I wasn’t landing big brand collaborations that provided myself (and her) with monetary compensation.’ It hurt, and it stung. And yes, I cried. It made me feel like what I was already posting about was not considered “of value” or “worth anything.”
But I will let you all in on a secret: I actually choose not to have brand collaborations or monetizing my blog be my primary focus with my account. Because, I don’t want to be a walking advertisement. I know that my own voice without any extra fluff is of more value than me trying to sell you on the latest curl wand, clothing item, or teeth whitening serum.
Now, do I get offered to collaborate with brands in general? Yes. Quite a few! But what you don’t see is how many I turn down. I only work with 1-2 out of 10 that reach out in a given month. I just don’t want my Instagram feed and my content to be full of “buy this, and buy that, and look what this brand sent me, and here’s another giveaway you should enter, and here’s an unboxing, and here’s 5 ads for products you ‘totally need’ because this brand is compensating me to tell you that you need it.” I wanted something deeper as my purpose for being on this platform.
So what is my WHY? I want to create content with true value, with my heart on my sleeve, with vulnerability and authenticity, and to be someone you can relate to as a friend IRL. That will always be my primary (and really, only) focus. And luckily since changing my engagement efforts, I have found some truly amazing women who are in the same boat as me! We support each other’s blogs, we build each other up when we feel like growth is “slow,” we encourage each other on our big dreams and ideas, and we cheer each other on. That is the type of community I want to be surrounded by on Instagram. And that is the type of community I want you to see and experience when you hangout on my feed.
If you’re also feeling like you’re ‘not enough of something’ on your social media platform, or that what you’re posting isn’t going anywhere because of ‘slow growth’ just know this: The best thing you can do for yourself if you’re creating a presence online is to be genuine and intentional about your WHY. Really think about what it is you want to accomplish while on Instagram or through your blog. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Are you using an organic and genuine approach to growth? (Ex: not through engagement pods or like-for-like telegram groups, or bots)
- Are you “building your tribe” with the intention of building a community, or building your numbers?
- If you suddenly lost your account/or it got deleted and you had to start from scratch, what would your reaction be to losing that content and your “following?”
- What type of feeds are you most drawn to and why? (take the time to list them out by their handle so you can reference them for inspiration)
- Are you impressed more by the amount of other’s followers, or by their content?
- What is your niche (your primary topic to focus your posts on) and why did you choose it?
- What part of being an “influencer/blogger” is most appealing to you and why?
- Do you actually love what you write content about, or does it seem more like a chore/part of your to-do list?
- Are you trying to monetize your blog? Why/how are you doing this?
- LASTLY: Go through your list of who is following you and delete/remove any irrelevant accounts that are not adding to your engagement. Ex: random real estate agents, spammy accounts, male instagrammers who obv are not gaining anything from your content (if your focus is on women), etc. The purpose of purging like this is to keep and reach the accounts who can actually benefit from your content, and who actually engage/connect with you. Anyone else is taking up space and hindering you from reaching your ideal target audience. If you’re more concerned about “losing followers” by doing this, then it’s time to reevaluate your priorities/reasons of being on Instagram.
Think about these things hard, and write down your answers. That way you can keep yourself accountable to your WHY throughout the year, and circle back to it when you start to put your focus on appearances or numbers or growth rather than your original WHY for starting your account. It’s about your quality > the quantity.
So whew! You made it to the end 🙂 I hope you can look at your presence on your platform now with fresh eyes and see your true value, rather than try to be someone or something you’re not comfortable being for the sake of growing your numbers. If you continue to be authentically Y O U, and continue to share your heart genuinely, growth will come. You will impact someone greatly. So keep going, and keep creating! You never know who is watching and showing up every day just to see what you put out there.
By doing these four things, you will encourage others who are watching ‘you do you’ to take that leap of faith and be their most genuine selves, too.