It’s been a crazy 3 months since I was on Instagram’s Suggested User List & my feed blew up. It’s funny the things you wish for & then once you get them….
For example, before I was picked up by Instagram, I worked really hard & felt like I fought tooth & nail to get my followers. I courted them, I wooed them, I talked super sweet to them & secretly hoped they’d tell all their friends about me. Sometimes they even did.
Then, suddenly, I didn’t have to do anything. Followers were just flooding onto my feed. Liking, commenting, following. It was overwhelming & wonderful but I knew it wasn’t going to last.
After my two week stint on top, things leveled off & I started losing followers every day. Some day I’d lose hundreds. Hundreds of people clicking ‘unfollow’ every day. It seems silly to say but it hurt my feelings. I didn’t understand why. What was I doing wrong? What could I do better? How could I keep all of these new people from leaving?
So why am I glad I’m losing Followers on Instagram?
There were a couple of lessons to be learned from the whole experience.
First, a lot, A LOT, of the followers were spammers. I couldn’t even begin to count the number of people I’ve blocked from my account. Of course I wasn’t sad to see those spammy accounts go away. Quite the opposite.
The second lesson was more overarching. I needed to shift my mindset. Before, when I was gaining followers the old fashioned way (ya know, networking, strategy, etc) I felt like it was very easy to quantify what was working. I could look at my strategy (yes, I do have a strategy) & see gains & loses. I could record what worked well. What didn’t. When the Suggested User thing happened it was bittersweet. It was a gain I could never recreate. I couldn’t make it work for me as a strategy because it was simply a stroke of luck. A fluke. And that was frustrating. Exciting but frustrating because I’m the type of person who likes to recreate the magic.
The second half of the second lesson (that’s a lot of math, I think) was that now my focus was shifting to not only gaining new followers but keeping the ones I had. I had to work even harder to really connect with those people. Keep them engaged. Work to earn their trust, respect, friendship. It was actually quite harder than when I was doing things the old fashioned way.
Because whether you have 10 or 10K followers doesn’t matter if those people aren’t active, engaged members of your community. You want those people to want to be there. And if people don’t want to be apart of my message, my purpose, my community, it’s ok if they leave.
As long as I’m being true to myself, creating content I’m proud of & staying consistent with my message while providing something of true value to my community then I can’t possibly be sad that people are unfollowing me. It simply means I’m not their taste. And that’s fine. Not everyone likes apple pie. Some people prefer angel food cake. And of course, I’m bringing this back to food.
Naturally, it’s human to want to track all those unfollows but don’t let yourself get discouraged or disappointed if you’re losing people. You can only use that knowledge to help gain more perspective on your feed. Focus on creating excellent content & providing value & voice for your community. That’s where the real win is. And if you’re doing that, if you’re building it, they’ll come.
Remember that as you’re losing followers, you’re actually gaining your true community.