How I ditched my toxic social media approach and gained 8,000 followers in 4 months
Let’s talk Instagram and your business. Raise your hand if you can relate to any of these struggles …
- You’ve been stuck at the same number of followers for eons.
- The majority of your audience consists of your friends and family.
- You stand-by each time you post, feeling vulnerable and exposed and counting each “like” as they trickle in.
- You cry inside with each “un-follow” and sink into 24 hours of examining every possible reason for why someone, somewhere in the world, hates you.
- No matter how much heartfelt content you put out there, your engagement screeches to a halt around a measly 24 “likes”. And you have that pit in your stomach like no one showed up for your birthday party.
It seems to all boil down to Pure. Brutal. Rejection.
You’re not alone, friend. I’ve been there.
I struggled on Instagram, posting my images, shamefully jealous of others in my industry who were killing it with thousands of followers while I could never break through my ceiling of 390.
I wondered: Am I unloveable? Do I need to buy followers? Am I wasting my time?
The honest truth is I was completely wasting my time, approaching Instagram from the shy perspective of a sensitive soul, treating Instagram like a floundering personal relationship, rather than a business endeavor.
I wish someone would have shook and told me: It’s not Instagram, honey, it’s you.
My biggest mistake? I wasn’t taking the reigns. I was timidly putting myself out there, closing my eyes, crossing my fingers, and waiting for something magical to happen. When I received a pitiful response, I tied the outcome to my self-worth. I felt like a hurt and hopeless failure.
The truth is, my weak, passive approach reached far deeper than social media. It was a perfect reflection of how I showed up in every aspect of my business. My timid mindset and personal attachment to outcome was suffocating my business. I was playing small.
Get Ready for Huge, Holistic Changes
Being an entrepreneur is hard. It takes a lot of sweat, courage and mental shifting. And if we open up, it also offers a powerful force to reflect, move us forward, and strengthen us in ways we never imagined.
Magical things happened when I made the crucial decision to transform my headspace and shift gears into business mode. This meant I had to make a conscious decision to separate my personal fear, feelings and mindset, take risks, and put my business self out there with more confidence.
I got serious. I studied. I completely shifted my mentality. And the results were life-changing. Within 4 months I gained almost 8,000 followers.
The best part? It wasn’t just my Instagram feed, the mental shifts I made seeped into every aspect of my business and my inner “Jean” unleashed the phoenix (X-men nerdage exposed). Within a few months I was featured in interviews for international publications, published by magazines, flown cross-country for custom photography assignments and was even asked to speak at a live international event in front of hundreds of people.
How are you holding yourself back? Which personal fears are you weaving into your business strategy? Where are you playing small in your business?
This is where things get exciting, because when you can identify where your approach is limiting you, and you make the conscious decision to move forward in a new way, things start to change.
It all starts with 3 key mindset shifts. So pull-up your big kid pants and get ready to air-punch; it’s time to invent your new, healthy, professional relationship with Instagram.
Three healthy mental shifts for Instagram Business success ...
1. Let it go
So here’s the question: Is Instagram just a popularity contest? The answer is yes, it probably is if you’re a teenager. But as a business owner, it’s a whole different tamale. Instagram is not personal. It’s a tool and it’s a set of strategies that you must master in order to be successful.
Don’t get hung up on counting your likes or feeling sensitive about unfollows. When you’re using Instagram for business, your focus should be on strategy and overall advancements.
You are amazing, beautiful and wonderful. You don’t need Instagram to validate that, and that’s not what you’re there for.
Chances are, people who unfollow you are using the same set of business strategies that you should be using as well. You’re not there to advertise yourself, you’re there to advertise your business.
Take a deep breath and pump up your chest. It’s time to free yourself and let go of all emotional attachments.
2. It's not about you, it's about them
I revisit the teenager approach to Instagram as an example of how NOT to run your business feed. It’s not an album for cool selfies. It’s not a platform to share all your family photos, or quick snapshots of all your healthy meals.
It’s time to shift your focus off of your daily life and onto how you can inspire and benefit your audience.
It’s okay to weave personal photos that are consistant with your brand into your feed to foster trust and connection. But it’s important to focus your content on providing value to your viewers. Successful feeds focus on engaging, inspiring and educating their audience, not on self promotion.
Before posting each photo, ask yourself: What would my ideal client love to see, learn or know in relation to my business?
3. Stay Focused
Your feed should stay consistent with your branding and all your other marketing materials. Like your website, your Instagram account is a face for your brand and your business. Remember, this might be the first interaction your viewers will have with your brand, and could potentially be their gateway into becoming your clients.
It’s important you represent your business with a strong presence that clearly relays your message and your values.
Instagram is a visual platform, and every photo you post is sending a message about the quality and value of what you offer. With one glance, your viewers will decide whether they want to stay connected with you.
It’s easy to get wrapped up into a personal head space and go on a posting-frenzy, sharing snapshots of every pretty flower, inspirational convention booth, and your Christmas tree. But before you do, STOP. Close your eyes, and ask yourself: Is this photo cohesive with my brand and feed? Does it reflect a quality message? Will it inspire, provide value and strengthen the connection with my ideal audience?
This is not the time or place to reveal multiple personalities or your kitten fetish. Be sure you’re using your branding elements (colors, fonts, etc.), maintaining a professional appearance, relaying what your business is about and posting regularly.
This is what I want for you: a healthy relationship and outrageous success that starts with Instagram and then infiltrates every other aspect of your life and business. I want you to step into your strength and courageously present yourself in your business without attaching the outcome to your self worth. The world is waiting for what you have to share. Go forth with clarity and confidence, make yourself visible and shine your light.
Now I want to hear from you ... what's you're biggest Instagram frustration? Let me know in the comments below!