Despite the title of this blog post, I’m not here to list off the marketing tools to master for Instagram or the new techniques to know for the algorithm. The reality is that I reached 10K followers within 7 months – and the truth is that I can’t tell you how. There were no paid ads, no random DM’s to large accounts in hopes for a feature, and no follow-to-unfollow method.
When I originally created this account, I was at a place in my life where I had no idea what I wanted and had nothing to lose because of it. My moments of boredom during my first full-time job translated to my sessions of writing poems on post-it notes during the hours in between. While you can easily assume I posted my work on Instagram to share my words, the actual reason was because I wanted a place to keep track of my thoughts – and Instagram happened to be the free platform I chose.
A huge purpose of social media is to share your life with others, yet there I was creating content in hopes to simply figure out my own.
During the first few months, I wrote about how I wanted more, about how the ocean moved me, about how heartbreak strengthened me, and about how my loved ones deserved everything. By the time I quit my job to pursue an editorial career, I wrote about the magic of chasing dreams, about the fear of settling, and about the power of self-love.
As I continued on my journey of trying to break into the editorial world, I realized everything in my life was changing – yet the meaning behind my poetry account remained the same. It stopped becoming a place to put my thoughts and began to be a reminder of what I was fighting for. The radio silence from my applied editorial jobs was met with heartfelt messages from followers telling me how my words touched them. And the doubt from my decision to take a chance on myself was comforted by the work I witnessed from the talented writers who I now call friends.
What you create is not the art, you are.
While I realize it sounds amateur to say I didn’t consider a way to grow my account when I began it, I believe this overlook was the reason it grew in the first place. My account wasn’t a chance for me to become “Instagram famous” or seek validation – instead, it was an outlet for my experiences, life epiphanies, and beliefs masked with metaphors and condensed into one-liners.
Through the past year of managing this account, I’ve landed an editorial job and moved across the country to a new city. Although I know there are other factors that played into this moment for me, I can’t help but credit the existence of my poetry account for the way it fueled my determination and encouraged my potential. It wasn’t the amount of followers that pushed me, it was the fact that these readers related to my writing enough to want to follow me.
In a world where the lives of others are accessed behind a screen and approved by a double tap, it’s hard to not focus on the numbers. Really – I get it. However, if you’re posting content to simply post in order to gain comments and exposure, that’s probably why you’re struggling to begin with.
The number of followers you have isn’t a determination of your value – so it shouldn’t be used as a measurement of your talent.
Sure, I can’t give you a step-by-step guide on how to grow your account, but what I do know is that people appreciate transparency. At one point, my account was growing +1K followers/month – not because I was posting 5 poems/day, but because it was during one of the hardest points of my self-discovery (thus far) and the material I wrote from it was real, raw, and heartfelt.
People can always recognize authenticity, because it’s the only content they can relate to.
Don’t underestimate your audience – they know when posts are curated with care and when they’re posted just for the likes. Seriously. To be completely honest, anyone can use hashtags and incorporate social media marketing tactics into their account – maybe some of this will gain you visibility amongst a crowd, but posting meaningful content will help you stand out in one. So the next time you feel pressured by the numbers, remember to hone in on your niche and believe in the idea that the people who can appreciate your content are also the same people who will follow and support your growth.
What methods have you used to grow your own account?