I finally hit the very coveted 10K in my Instagram journey a week ago. It did not come easy. Most content creators reach this milestone in about a year or less on average, and for some it might stretch to two.
You know how long it took me? Exactly 4 long grueling years! There were many things that I probably didn’t execute well, and along this very long journey there were many lessons learned.
It is fair to say, that I doubt anyone wants to know what I did to get here. I mean it did take 4 years, so obviously I wasn’t doing something right! So I figured, let me share what ‘not’ to do on Instagram.
So here it is, in no particular order, things you should not do if you are wanting to hit your first milestone on Instagram.
Don’t Be Inconsistent. Not posting regularly, does affect your journey. Sometimes I would post once a week, and other times, 3 weeks would pass before I had a post out. This is not to say, just post for the sake of posting. Of course, content has to be meaningful, but being inconsistent can hurt you too.
Don’t Be An Introvert. Ok I know this will sound odd coming from me. But I think putting yourself out there, making social connections, coming on screen makes a difference. I was initially content staying in my little bubble, posting content when I wanted, and had a handful of acquaintances. I can’t change who I am inherently, but making some meaningful friends and building relationships helped immensely – and not just for the gram!
Don’t do story hops for numbers. I know story hops and collaborations between bloggers is often seen as a first and foremost way to increase followers. You are eager to get to 10K! But at the heart of it, is making connections. That should be the focus that will pay off in the long run. Story hops are over and done with in just a single day and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. But if you’ve fostered a relationship with these collaborators then it will help you in the long run. With that in mind, focus on collaborators in your niche.
Don’t force connections. Short story. In an effort to foster connections I would spend a great amount of time commenting and engaging on this one particular bloggers’ posts and stories. Yes, some of the posts resonated with me, but I tried very hard to ‘win’ some kind of approval or develop some sort of relationship. We both followed each other and so I made a conscious effort to comment and engage, yet I didn’t have a single like in return from her. Perhaps my efforts would have been better served elsewhere. Not everything you do is reciprocated. Learn to let go.
Don’t expect support from family and friends you know personally. This is not to say, these people don’t support you. I mean to say, don’t expect it from them. If you are waiting for them to engage, promote your content and share your content to help you reach the 10K mark, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Not everyone understands that this is ‘work’ for you and at times not everyone wants to see you to succeed. Spend more time fostering relationships with others on your existing platform.
Don’t take low resolution pictures. I know often you hear everyone say ‘content is king’ on Instagram. But the first thing a follower is likely to notice, are the visuals. Think about it, when you are on the ‘explorer’ page, and are scrolling through visuals, don’t you stop at something that catches your eye. Or if someone has shared your post on their stories, the image is what shows up first! Better composed and greater quality pictures are worth it!
Don’t just post pictures for the sake of it. Though followers take in visuals, you cannot just post a picture with a quote you’re feeling in the moment and expect the post to gain attention. Followers on the platform want some value when they are in your space. They are looking for content that will add information or entertainment in their otherwise mundane day. It could be a recipe, workout routine, something that made them laugh or a home organization hack they can implement as well.
Don’t put all your energy on one platform. At the forefront, I know it may seem best to constantly try and boost your posts on Instagram. But perhaps another alternative would be to boost your other social media channels if you have those as well. This could be your blog, YouTube channel, Facebook, Twitter etc and then drive traffic from there to your Instagram account.
Don’t focus primarily on numbers. This may seem cliché as everyone chants the same slogan (and these bloggers are the ones with over 10-20K followers) and you are left thinking, well you’ve already reached 10K, its ok for you to not focus on numbers. But perhaps a better way of explaining it, would be to focus on other elements that come with the platform. For example, increasing engagement, pursuing brand sponsorships, writing meaningful content, getting noticed by publications. There has to be a goal other than just getting to a coveted number. Even if it is as simple as connecting with your readers and sliding into DM’s to nurture a friendship.
Don’t get disheartened. I think it’s only natural to see things not go your way and you eventually lose motivation to keep moving forward. Keeping your mind focused on creating content is difficult in these circumstances, but is the best thing to do. My biggest struggle has been low engagement, and I am struggling to bring that up. That has made me question why I am still trying to make my Instagram space work, but I bounce back and get my head back in the game.
I have now incorporated some changes on how I approach Instagram now and am constantly striving to make this a better space for myself and my followers. But like anything, it is a work in progress. I am hoping it doesn’t take me another 4 years to get to 20K!
How has your Instagram journey been? Do you have any must do’s or don’t to share?