Have you ever looked at those little numbers on your social media profiles and felt like a failure? Have you based your success on some arbitrary number? I know I have once determined my worth in the ugly comparison game. Most people all want to be the most popular, or one of the popular ones, in our niches. When I launched my Instagram and Facebook for SamiM Adventures, I had 0. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. A year later, my growth has not been significant despite me working my butt off trying to crack the algorithms. I am hovering at 200+ Facebook likes and 700+ Instagram followers. Want to know the biggest social media mistake bloggers make? It’s looking at that number and feeling like a failure. I am shouting it from the rooftops right now – those numbers do not mean a single thing in terms of happiness or with you having a successful business and brand.
Please don’t be misled by this post. Having a large following definitely has benefits for sure. You are more than likely to have more comments and likes, it’s easier to secure brands when they see a large number next to your name, and many believe you have more authority in your field. But take it from me, the small numbers still produce results! With my measly number of followers, I have already secured two comped stays so far (one in the Netherlands and two nights in Switzerland) this year because I am determined to make this year MY year.
Let’s delve into the nitty gritty on why it is hard to get a foot into social media, look at the facts, and how you can implement some hustle into your own accounts!
Why is gaining a larger audience so hard?
Social media platforms are a business too – and are like, really popular. There are a gazillion profiles on each social media platform. I myself have at least 4 different accounts. With the insanely large number of social media accounts out there, Facebook and Instagram have started to create tailored news feeds and content so that their users are not overwhelmed with a mass amount of information and posts. That means, the most engaged posts win. If you are not engaging very much with a certain brand on one of their platforms, you are less likely going to see their posts. The more you visit their pages, like, and comment on their content, the more likely that their new stuff will pop up in your feed in the future.
But let’s be real – Facebook and Instagram are businesses that are wanting to make a profit and they see a great opportunity to capitalize on their marketing potential for all the businesses that use their platform. Which I TOTALLY understand. My reach on my photography business account has gone down significantly since I launched it in 2011. No longer are my images and posts going to all of my “likes” or followers. I now have to spend money running “sponsored” posts in order to make sure my content has gotten “out” there to those who do not engage with my posts.
Quality over quantity!
Did you know that people can buy followers easily on the internet? Blew my mind that you can spend your cold hard money on trying to give yourself more clout. (I definitely don’t recommend this, btw!) But I digress…
How many times have I heard my moma say it is not the number of friends you have, but the quality? Millions probably. But moma’s wisdom transcends even over to the internet. This idea is vital for social media. I definitely do not want to buy fake followers or foster these false “relationships” on social media where people are blindly following my brand but are never interacting with me? These are known as lurker profiles in my mind. I will admit, I am a lurker with some of the accounts I follow and I just want to apologize to those people (who probably don’t even know I exist).
Take the time to define your audience and actually engage.
I recommend that instead of focusing on getting more and more friends/likes/followers, try to build relationships with your current ones. Here are a few ideas that you can easily do to increase engagement with your followers and truly become a resource!
- Once you have determined who you are actually posting for – challenge yourself to actively seek out their pages/accounts and leave a comment. Let them know that you are thinking of them and be sure to be genuine. I heard one Insta-famous travel blogger recommend spending 10 minutes of each hour engaging and leaving genuine comments on others. I know it’s repetitive that I keep saying genuine but I want to implore you to not take the copout comment and say “beautiful” or “keep up the good work” because speaking from personal experience, it’s more annoying and very spammy looking. Respond to their pictures or captions!
- On that note, when posting, use creative (witty, narrative, behind the scenes, etc) captions that are honest and relatable. Ask questions to encourage engagement. Share aspects of your life that makes you seem like a person and not a robotic marketing business owner.
- A rule of thumb I personally have is that when someone takes the time out of their day to post a genuine comment on your post, it’s always nice to reply to them and return the favor and go leave a genuine comment on their feed.
This is no end all solution. It takes work and you must be committed. I know it hard not to get lost in the marketing potential of social media and it’s really, really easy to get sucked into the popularity contest of who has the most followers/likes/friends. As long as you are genuine and create an awesome experience, all the followers in the world will not matter.
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