Social media is pretty addicting nowadays, right?! Our phones are permanently attached to us and we’re always checking Instagram for the latest updates on fashion trends and delicious recipes. Here to lend us a few of her masterful tips on navigating the world of business and social media is Catherine Saunders of Green Fingerprint. We know her insight is sure to put some of those worries to rest!
“A couple months ago, I noticed something funny happening on my Instagram. I was gaining new followers every week, which was so exciting. But I was also losing followers. That had never happened before! I’d open Instagram, see the “6 new followers” icon and then click on my profile and only see the number tick up by five. What happened to that other follower? Well, someone had unfollowed me. My heart sank. I was bummed. And then it happened again and again as my following started to grow. What’s up with that?
Today I’m sharing some of my thoughts on the fickle and fun world of social media. It can be an incredible tool for networking and gaining exposure, but it can also be demoralizing. When I first noticed I’d lost a couple of followers, it felt horrible! I second-guessed myself, got shy about posting, and anxious about watching my follower counts. But I realized that as a professional designer running a business and building a brand, I couldn’t take it personally. These “unfollowers” weren’t saying “you’re terrible” or “I can’t stand you.” They were simply saying “this isn’t for me.” And that’s a good thing.
PICK YOUR BATTLES
Let’s back up a little bit. If you’re operating online in any capacity, be it a blog, an Etsy shop or a service you provide (calligraphy, design, styling, etc.), you likely have a social media presence. I think it’s important to consider where you want to spend your time. If you’re a one-woman show, your time is limited and precious, so it’s nearly impossible to be actively engaged everywhere at all times. Determine where your ideal readers and buyers hang out and meet them there.
WHY YOU’RE GAINING AND LOSING FOLLOWERS
The paradox is that as you increase your engagement on social media, you’ll both gain followers and lose followers. This is because as you produce content (a photo or a post), there will inevitably be both people who like it and who don’t like it.
For example, on the days I don’t post a photo on Instagram, I almost never lose followers. On the days I post a couple of times, I inevitably lose a couple of followers but I almost always gain more than I lose. Why? Because when you put yourself out there, boldly and authentically, you’re going to both attract people and repel people. And that’s exactly what you want to do online.
Obviously, you want to attract more people than you repel, and I believe you will. The people who choose to follow you did so for a reason. Figure out what that reason is, and then stick to it if you want to continue increasing your following and holding onto the followers you have. Just make sure you’re putting out content that is true to you, your brand, and your product (or the brand and product you hope to have someday).
If you want to be a fashion stylist, but you only post pictures of yourself at the gym, you’re probably not attracting future customers. If, on the other hand, you’re posting photos, articles or tips related to fashion (and your style in particular), you’ll start attracting people who want to read or see more of your content.
You’ll also start to repel people who aren’t interested – and that’s a good thing! It’s ultimately better for you to have a smaller following of active, engaged readers and followers who will ultimately click through to your blog or shop than a huge following of people who scroll right past your photo or post without giving it the time of day.
I have two main thoughts on the issue of losing followers.
one / be true to yourself, always.
My number one rule when it comes to social media is to do your best to be genuine, even if it means you’ll lose some followers. I’m a graphic designer, so I post mostly styled shots of stationery and paper products on Instagram. But even though I’m not a “mommy blogger,” I’m still a mom to two sweet little boys. Every time I post a pic of the kids, I lose followers, but I’m okay with that. If someone can’t follow me because I occasionally post a kid pic, that’s fine. They’re curating their feed, as they should, and I’m posting a photo of my boys because I want to inject a bit of my real life into my online life. I’m being true to myself, which means I’m losing a few followers, but hanging onto the ones who care about my life outside of pretty pictures of paper. It’s a win-win.
two / try not to take it personally.
Our tastes in social media are always changing, and so are the needs and desires of our followers. If someone decides to unfollow you, it could be for any number of reasons. If you’re being genuine and putting out content that reflects your brand or voice, you can’t take it personally. They might be cleaning up their Instagram, or taking a step back from Facebook. Maybe they’re in the same line of work as you and they don’t want to follow other similar bloggers. They’re curating their social media feeds to suit their taste, style, needs and preferences, as they should. It’s not about you, it’s about them. And that’s totally fine.
IT’S ALL GOOD
Ultimately, I’ve come to realize that as I lose followers, it means I’m doing something right. It’s better for me in the long run, even though it might sting in the moment. It means I’m actively engaged, I’m putting my work and my voice out there (which isn’t easy!), and I’m producing content that will eventually attract the people who want to see more of it.
Those are all good things, so be kind to yourself. If you’re repelling people, that also means you’re attracting people. Even though seeing those numbers dip and rise can sting, it means you’re doing something right. Keep it up – it’s so much better for you in the long run.
Have you experienced the sting of someone unfollowing you? I’d love to hear your thoughts! And please let me know in the comments if this post helped in any way. Good luck, and I’ll see you on social media!”
Photography for Best Friends for Frosting by: Connerton Photography