You upload an image, apply some hashtags you’ve spent a solid 20 minutes researching and you watch the likes, follows and comments roll in. Or not. You don’t understand why your reach is a mere 10% of your following, and how or why your following fluctuates by 30 daily. All you do is comment and engage with others and the results don’t seem to improve. You just want to give up all together.
Welcome to my world when it comes to Instagram.
Or a world I used to live in when being a blogger on the social media platform you are eager to be successful on. A channel that is based on follower count, engagement rates and the posts you share daily. Not forgetting stories that really should update and show your every move hourly!
It wasn’t until I hit a real low with the site, that I decided it was far tooo silly to be dictated by a social media channel.
I am a lover of social media. I use it personally and professionally and do believe it holds great positivity within our community. It’s a place to meet new, like minded people. We can converse, seek guidance and support and share our stories. Basically it’s ruddy fantastic. Although, as mentioned above, it’s also rather toxic. It’s easy to succumb to the numbers. And judge success based on those entirely.
I had become far more confident in myself. I was prepared to take pictures in public that were staged. I was comfortable discussing openly the fact I was a blogger and I often created chatty stories. For the person who used to hate being in the camera and chatting for radio shows at uni this was huge.
Despite clearing those personal hurdles, I was feeling deflated and a complete under achiever. Why? Because I hadn’t grown, I hadn’t gained traction on my numbers and I wasn’t what I believed success was.
But what is success? How do we judge and monitor it? What do we class as success in social media?
Over 5k, 10k or even 15k followers? Every other upload a brand collaboration? A stream of initiatives, blog posts, podcasts, newsletters? It’s hard to really establish what I truly believe is ‘success’ all I know is that judging and monitoring social media success is not how to thrive online.
Over the last week or so, I have really started to disconnect myself mentally from the app. I have been limiting the time I spend scrolling and ultimately, disconnected from the numerical value I seemed to have associated with Instagram in particular.
I’ve basically applied a filter in my mind to where it blocks the numbers, and it’s working swimmingly. I no longer feel the pressure. The desperate need to post something every day. The worry as to why my follower count has dropped despite posting similar content to all the rest.
There’s a real sense of relief. Empowerment. And I just bloody enjoy using the app like everyone else seems to. I comment where I please, unfollow those that don’t really resonate with me, and overall I’m not judging myself against others. My creation is mine. I’m not copying, mimicking or shadowing ‘successful’ others.
Wanna feel the same? Want to enjoy the creative app for what it is rather than feeling an overwhelming amount of pressure to conform to success?
Here’s some of my new mantras.
Keep plugging, in my own way. I won’t get where I want if I follow the crowd. I have to be me, do what I want and create the things that inspire and spur me on.
Take the audience out of the equation. I’m no longer creating content that got me likes, only if I bloody want to. Having a social media full of content I dislike, or find a chore isn’t going to create a success.
Ignore the numbers. Because it really means diddly squit. Having loads of followers doesn’t mean an engaging audience nor does having a low follower amount mean a small audience.
I’m so excited to banish the cape of social media conformity and just do what the heck I want. Whilst I can’t control the amount of reach my posts achieve, how many likes they gain, or how rapidly I grow ( or not grow ), I’m excited to get working with my social media on a more literal, healthy level.
Will you be changing how you view and use Instagram? What’s you opinion on social media, and in particular Instagram? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.