If you’re a blogger, you can probably relate to at least one of these pleasant scenarios.
— You post a fabulous photo to Instagram that you’ve carefully taken and crafted to perfection, and you get 17 likes in an hour for your efforts.
— You thoughtfully and intentionally plan out your Instagram feed, with precise attention to detail and color. You gain 3 followers the following week and lose 7 and a half. HOW 7 AND A HALF? Because algorithm.
— You decide to follow a lot of accounts that you admire within your niche. Suddenly, you’re spammed with bot comments like “Love your style, girlfriend! Let’s connect!”
What a lot of people fail to realize is that being active on social media as a blogger takes up a lot of time and attention. It takes meticulous planning. And most of all, it takes consistency.
But consistency is difficult when you feel that your efforts aren’t being met with the results you expect. It’s no secret that the latest changes to Instagram’s algorithm have had many in a tizzy. With good reason. It’s disheartening when you were once able to connect with others in an easy way and build friendships on a platform that was easy-going and fun.
It’s discouraging when that same platform ignores some of its most active and dedicated users in deference to, ultimately, greed and popularity.
Instagram is like that one friend you have who constantly does something shady.
As a fellow blogger just out here trying to find the right formula of filter + sappy caption, Instagram has been a thorn in my side for many months. I was growing frustrated by a quick succession of changes to the app that made it increasingly difficult to get my posts seen by some of my favorite people.
So, I decided to do a little experiment. You know, for science.
I posted every other day on Instagram for 4 months. Here’s what happened.
I had read on other blogs that it seems the ideal posting strategy for Insta is at least once a day. But this girl doesn’t have the time or resources to do that. My sanity won’t let me post that often. I just can’t. So, I opted for a more doable solution for myself that wouldn’t have me glued to my phone or my DSLR and decided to post once every other day.
I did this for 4 months without missing one day.
I didn’t care about what time of the day I posted and actually purposefully mixed it up to see what time of the day got the best results with my audience. And I was very strict with myself. I posted every other day religiously. Even if I forgot and didn’t put something up on Instagram until 8 o’clock at night, I still posted.
Here’s a few things I learned.
1 | I changed up my strategy and started noticing things.
When you’re posting that often, you start noticing things. Like I already mentioned before in this post, I’m a hardcore noticer.
Anyway, when you’re constantly on the app, posting with regularity, you start to take note of the little things that can ultimately make a difference in your success.
A few things you may start to notice:
- the time of day you’re posting
- how long your captions are
- how many emojis you use
- whether or not you use a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of your caption
- if you use all 30 hashtags
- if you tag people in your posts
- how warm or cool toned your photo is
- if your photo includes objects or your face
- if you engage with other accounts before posting your own photos
…and the list goes on and on. The main point is: be a noticer. And when you see something that seems to be working, don’t be afraid to change things up and go with that thing or idea. Do the stuff that works for you.
In the game of Instagram, don't be afraid to do what works for YOU. Click To Tweet
2 | I got better at repurposing content.
When I first began researching blogging about 3 years ago and following a lot of popular bloggers, I was amazed at their productivity. I was impressed with how much content they were putting out on a regular basis.
And I was completely and utterly overwhelmed at the thought of doing that myself for my own blog.
I had no idea how they were able to churn out so much stuff…while apparently never burning out. (Now, of course, I know that’s not true. Everyone faces burnout at some point.) Then I stumbled upon the idea of “repurposing content.” And I was still extremely overwhelmed because it just seemed difficult. And like it required a lot of time and effort and brain power.
Well, posting on Instagram every other day cured me of my belief that I didn’t (and couldn’t) repurpose content effectively. I realized over the course of the last 4 months that it’s actually incredibly easy and freeing to be able to use the same content over and over again. It’s a blogger’s dream. It’s like, level 47 of blogging. That’s when you unlock the “Repurpose” skill. 😉
Repurposing frees up time and gray matter in your brain. Actually, that last part’s a lie—I just made it up because it sounded good.
If you’re still trying to figure out how to reuse the same piece of content multiple times, let me give you a few ideas for starters:
Use one photo over and over again with different edits.
Post it on Instagram. Then, crop the photo, rotate it, or crop a portion of the photo out and use that piece in a blog post, as a blog Pinterest graphic, in your newsletter, or as part of a tweet. I’ve posted the same exact photo to Instagram before but rotated or cropped in a different way, and it looks completely different. The possibilities are endless. Get creative.
Chop up the best parts of your blog and use the content on various social media platforms.
Use a click-to-tweet plugin to repurpose (and share!) your blog posts on Twitter. Create quote graphics for Pinterest out of these click-to-tweet phrases. Share them in an InstaStory. Share a paragraph of helpful content as your caption on Instagram. Expand upon a blog post and send it to your email list (this is helpful because most of it will be already written). You could even use a blog post as a “script” for a YouTube video. Use the bullet points or subheadings of your blog post as your video description.
Got a freebie you’re really proud of? Tease parts of it to create interest.
If you share 10 self care ideas in your free download, share 5 of them in a mini Instagram series. Or, create Twitter graphics with those same 5 and make a miniseries for Twitter. Create a Pinterest graphic with all 10 listed—these seem to quickly go viral very easily—and link to your opt-in form or landing page. Share that same graphic on your Instastory. Use Snapchat to show how you use your 10 self care ideas in your daily routine. Expand upon the 10 in a blog post and give more in-depth help and resources to your readers.
Honestly, once you get started repurposing stuff, it’s sort of…addictive. Each time you make something new, like write a new blog post, you immediately start thinking of different ways to use the same material over and over again.
What makes this even better is if you’re also creating “evergreen” content.
What is evergreen content?
Exactly what it sounds like. You know how an evergreen tree has its leaves and stays green all year? That’s how evergreen content is; it never gets stale. It’s always timely and relevant. It’s helpful no matter when someone finds it, and it’s not centered around a certain event that expires or ends, such as the holidays, a webinar, or a giveaway. If you’re creating evergreen content, then any additional repurposing you’ve done for that content will be evergreen, too. What does that mean for you? You can use it whenever, wherever. That’s less work for you in the long run. Evergreen content that doesn’t become dated also helps you get found by search engines.
Repurpose evergreen content to keep your blog relevant. Click To Tweet
3 | I (sort of) relinquished my death grip on perfectionism.
In this post, I talked about how to kick comparison and perfectionism in the booty, but it’s a life-long struggle that I deal with. I’m trying, guys, I really am.
I also try to be honest with myself, and the honest truth is that I’m a perfectionist at heart. But posting on social media super often can wear you down. I know we’ve all been there. And eventually, you slowly start to realize that done is better than perfect.
To my fellow bloggers: done is better than perfect. Click To Tweet
If your filters aren’t all alike, who the hell cares? No one except you.
If you meant to post in the morning, but HELLO life happened, and you didn’t post until 10 at night, that’s okay.
If you aren’t growing at the rate of someone else, stop comparing yourself and understand that you’re doing the best you can and that’s enough.
I couldn’t do it all and do everything well. No one can. Except Oprah. But she’s been killing the game for a long time, so she’s had a lot of practice.
I can’t do everything perfect, so I just started doing my best and accepting that as enough. And my blood pressure returned to normal, and everything was fine.
Related post: How to Give Yourself Grace as a Twenty-Something Woman
4 | I realized it’s about relationships—not numbers.
How many times have you heard this one? Probably a lot, because I’ve heard it the same amount of times. But hearing something and believing something and acting on it are two totally different things. It’s like someone saying to you that you deserve love, but you have to believe that for yourself before you can expect any life changes to happen.
For the longest time, my sole focus was numbers, numbers, numbers. I was obsessed. How many followers did I gain today? How many did I lose? Why did this photo get this many likes but this one didn’t? How many comments did I receive yesterday? Why is this person gaining more followers than me but she doesn’t post as often?
These were daily thoughts, and it was ridiculous, and they gave me a headache on more than one occasion. I don’t mind admitting this.
Look, social media is great. I’m a huge fan. But it also tends to bring out the worst in us, like that nasty comparison thing I mentioned above. And jealousy. And depression. And a whole host of other bad nouns. Ew.
So it’s good to take a step back every so often and reassess and refocus our priorities.
Social media is about relationships—NOT numbers. Click To Tweet
Why was I posting on Instagram? I wanted to grow my my blog’s audience and connect and make friendships with like-minded people.
What did I want out of the platform? I wanted genuine connections with my readers and other bloggers. I wanted a place to explore my hobby of photography and experiment with social media marketing. But I wanted these things to be fun and uplifting, not discouraging.
How did I want it to make me feel? I wanted to feel understood and heard and like I had a caring and nurturing community to turn to whenever I did feel discouraged.
How did I want to help others? How did I want my posts and comments to make them feel? I wanted to share my thoughts from blog posts to help people who might be going through the same things I am. I wanted them to feel understood and like they had a listening ear.
Do yourself a HUGE favor and ask yourself these questions as well. Once you’ve got your answers, ask yourself: is what I’m doing right now in line with what I want? If it’s not, refer to #1 and change up your strategy.
When I started focusing more on the people I was meeting, things started to change.
5 | I learned to pause and rethink instead of giving up completely.
I get it. Instagram often sucks. Social media sucks in general sometimes. It’s frustrating when you’re trying to grow and market something, and you’re not seeing any gains and returns. That’s annoying for anyone. I definitely experienced this in the 4 months I was posting to Instagram every other day. I went through several algorithm changes in that short time span, and each one seemed to have an even greater negative impact on my account than the last one.
It was enough to make me eat my feelings on more than one occasion, let me tell you. French fries were there for me during this dark time.
I thought about deleting my account on Instagram and giving up on this little “experiment.” But I had put so much work into it that I realized I just needed to rethink and evaluate where I stood.
I didn’t stop posting on my schedule, but I did take into account what was working and what wasn’t. Then I thought about what it would take to make Instagram fun again. What did I like most about the platform? What could I shake up in my strategy to give me a boost and make things interesting again?
- Taking photos is always fun for me, so I honed in on my particular aesthetic and experimented with new angles, flatlay styles, and props.
- I researched new hashtags to use and created new lists of 30 hashtags each to see if there were any new ones that could help my engagement.
- I deleted apps on my phone for photos and feed planning and downloaded new ones to try out.
- I deleted photos in my feed that I just didn’t connect with anymore to refresh things.
- I unauthorized certain websites and apps from my Instagram account to try to counteract a perceived shadow ban. (I’m still not sure if I was ever shadowbanned, but dang, did my engagement take a huge dip there for awhile. Instagram, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.)
- I unfollowed accounts I never liked to begin with and started following new ones for more inspiration.
After doing all that stuff, I felt a renewed sense of focus and Instagram felt more fun again.
Related post: How to Unplug from Social Media as an Introvert
6 | I realized it’s okay to change my mind and do something totally different.
Remember when you were a little kid in grade school, and the popular kids all had that one pair of sneakers that was trendy, so you obviously had to have that one pair, too? Have you noticed that we sometimes don’t outgrow this way of thinking? We still want to rock what the popular kids have.
AND I STILL WANT THOSE LIGHT-UP WHEELIES.
I’ve noticed blogging can be a lot like that. A lot of blogs look very similar. Same type of logos, same type of themes or colors. The same type of content and way of writing or tone of voice. Same style of graphics that are popular. It happens. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. It’s hard when you’re a blogger especially, because you inevitably follow a lot of other bloggers online, and you’re inundated with the same type of stuff day after day after day. What are you supposed to do?! How on earth is anyone supposed to be original anymore?
But then there’s also this thing where we may feel pressured to do something a certain way because “that’s just how it’s done.” You’re not a real blogger or social media influencer if you don’t do this. You’re not a real photographer if you don’t do that.
You can’t help other people with the same problem if you haven’t accomplished this. There’s a certain order that you must do things, and you have to follow it. No questions asked.
You know what? It’s okay if you want to leave the whole world absolutely shook by doing whatever you want. It’s perfectly awesome if you want to try things YOUR way, a way that no one has done that one thing before, because you have the freedom to do that without having to explain yourself.
You can start doing one thing, change your mind, and want to do something completely different. Even if other people don’t understand. Especially if others don’t understand. That’s okay. It’s actually good when they don’t.
Say what now?
It gives you the chance to do whatever you want without comparing yourself to anyone else and worrying about what they’re doing. It also gives you the upper hand to create something groundbreaking + unique because you’re not caught up watching someone else’s journey on the sidelines.
I believe that’s where all really cool success starts.
All cool success starts with deciding to do something different. Click To Tweet
7 | I saw that consistency works.
It really works.
It doesn’t always work fast…that’s not what consistency is about. It’s about committing yourself to a process or an end goal and running with it, despite naysayers, despite setbacks, despite lackluster results.
You’ve committed to seeing something through, and ain’t nothing gonna stop you.
I tried this with Insta, and I believe that’s where a lot of my growth came from. No, I didn’t finish this experiment with thousands of new followers. That’s not what this was about. I wanted growth, yes, but I wanted to learn what measures would get me that growth, not how much I could gain in the process.
Consistency is what breeds those 100k+ accounts, yeah. But consistency is so much more than becoming a mega-influencer on social media.
Consistency also breeds self-discipline. And when you accomplish something through consistency, it also breeds self-confidence and boosts your self-esteem. Consistency shows you that you can go after something, tackle it head-on, conquer it, and be proud of yourself. That’s important for anyone. It’s necessary that you feel proud of yourself because that leads to you feeling confident enough to demand more of yourself and pursue something you’re passionate about.
Consistency breeds self-discipline. Click To Tweet
Consistency + confidence gives you a healthy dose of self worth and helps you recognize what you deserve and what you won’t settle for.
What did I want out of all this? Why did I start my posting strategy in the first place?
Well, I had never been super consistent on Instagram before, and I wanted to see what would happen if I were.
I wanted to grow my following, and that’s okay. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re being inauthentic if your goal is growth. That’s stupid. It’s okay to want growth; just don’t make that your only goal and focus or you’ll drive yourself bananas.
I wanted to challenge myself to better my photography skills and become more comfortable with my DSLR.
I wanted to grow my community and hopefully extend my social reach to find new readers.
And I achieved all this to some extent. But ultimately, these goals ceased to matter as much to me the longer I kept on. What ended up meaning the most were all these lessons I learned instead. What I’ve said within this blog post doesn’t just apply to Instagram, but you’ve likely already come to that conclusion yourself.
No, these lessons apply to whatever you go after in life. Whatever you work toward:
1 | Don’t be afraid to change up your strategy.
2 | Don’t be wasteful in your efforts.
3 | Let go of perfectionism.
4 | People matter. Focus on them first.
5 | Take a pause when necessary, but don’t give up.
6 | Change your mind. Do something different that works for you.
7 | And whatever you do, practice consistency.
Instagram isn’t important. It’s not. It’s just another social media platform. It could very well be gone in the next 5 years, and society will have latched on to some new craze. That’s how things work. We’re all super fickle humans when it comes right down to it.
Social media isn't important—what matters is how we see ourselves. Click To Tweet Do we let little squares define our self worth? How much do the comments and likes of others affect us? Do we become discouraged and give up too fast when we’re not met with instant gratification? Are we consistent or flaky when we’re chasing our dreams?
The way we use social media can highlight a lot of not-so-great things about ourselves when we’re faced with and forced to answer these questions. But it’s an opportunity for discussion. It’s an opportunity to recognize these not-so-ideal facets of ourselves and work toward a positive change.
You use social media. Don’t let it be the other way around.
You use social media. Don't let it be the other way around. Click To Tweet
More posts on social media:
- How to Make Your Pins Go Viral on Pinterest
- How I Design My Blog Post Graphics Using Canva
- The Blogging Tool I Used to Double My Subscribers
- How I Tripled My Blog Traffic in Two Weeks
Have you been in an Instagram slump lately? I hope these 7 things I learned from the platform help you, too. Leave a comment below and share some of your major lessons you’ve learned from using social media.
In the meantime, let’s get to know each other better.