Let’s Get Real: How I Want to Grow on Social Media

Hi readers! It’s been awhile. Apologies for my absence from posting on this blog. Life has been busy. I’m also finding it hard to focus on one thing as there is so much going on. And I wanted to take some time to reflect on my social media presence and what I want to do with it.

For the past several months, I’ve been seeing posts on Instagram and videos on TikTok (yes, I’m on TikTok now @secondcitymom) on how to grow your following and/or views or go “viral”. To be honest, it gave me a bit of anxiety and stress because I started to feel like I wasn’t trying hard enough to “grow” my accounts on social media or that I wasn’t creating content that was good enough as my following was not growing as fast as these other creators.

Of course it’s great that people were sharing their strategies and techniques on how to grow their following. I respect that they are not trying to be gatekeepers on this information. The overall theme got from these types of posts was that people started taking their Instagram/TikTok/Pinterest accounts seriously. They understood the trends, knew what times to post, how many posts to share, used effective hashtags, did loop giveways or constantly doing giveaways for new followers, etc. What I also got was that these people wanted to create on social media full-time (e.g. make a living off of their social media posts) or be influencers. My sense was that if your social media account grew, there would be more opportunities for paid sponsorships/partnerships thereby making a living on it.

Although I can see the rationale that big numbers on social media could lead to bigger opportunities, I realized that that is not the reason why I’m on social media. I’m not going to lie, doing paid partnerships on Instagram has it rewards and it always an honor when a brand or company you like reaches to you….but that has not been the sole reason I started my blog and Instagram account. You see, I have a full-time corporate job. Posting on social media has been a fun, creative outlet for me. And I want to keep it that way. I want to normalize that you can be a content creator and have a full-time corporate job. I’m not trying to disrespect people who are full-time content creators or influencers because I know it takes a lot of work and consumes so much time but that’s not what I want to do or be.

The social media landscape, specifically Instagram, has changed tremendously over the past 10 years. The term “influencer” is now the norm for someone who influences people on social media and often comes with a negative connotation (there are some really amazing influencers out creating really good content). Nowadays people want to go “viral” on social media. They post to social media in the hopes of going viral or gaining new followers. I’ve been posting on social media for almost 10 years now. My Instagram account has grown and changed over the years. I still love taking pictures and sharing them to my page to the community that I have attracted and maintained. But I do get a bit uncomfortable when people refer to me as an influencer because of the pressures it brings. The pressure to perform. The pressure to drive results. The pressure to get people to do something or sell them something (the pressure is even worse when I work on sponsored content for brands I really like). And mostly, the pressure to constantly keep growing your account. Which leads me to why I wanted to share this post..

During the past year I felt like I was in this rat race to grow my account, make sure my engagement was high, and turn out content as much as possible to stay afloat and relevant on social media. I got caught up in that “influencer” culture and was feeling burnt out. I lost sight of the real reason why I started my social media accounts which was a space to share my what I see, my creativity and mostly, a place where I can do something different from my corporate job.

I want to use social media as a way to share the evolution of my content, the growth in me as a creative, a mother, an explorer, and a story-teller.

Growth through photography

I think Instagram has made everyone a “photographer.” I’m not a professional photographer by any means, but I believe being on the photo-sharing app has helped me learn about photography and appreciate it more. And in doing so,, I’ve been inspired to take pictures and learn about lighting and composition. I’ve mentioned on this blog several times that I want to improve my photography. I am still learning to take pictures by shooting different angles, lighting, and subjects. I think I’ve come a long way since I started this blog with the types of pictures I’ve shared but I also think I still have a long way to go in terms on growth with my photography skills. I love seeing the progression in the types of photos I’ve taken from then til now. It shows changes and growth.

Growth through videos

As with Instagram, I think TikTok has now made a lot people a “videographer.” I mentioned earlier that I’m on TikTok. I joined during the start of the pandemic like everyone else. I’ve learned so much about video creation and editing by being on the app. I want to share my growth as a storyteller via videos. I want to be able see the difference between the first videos I posted and the ones later to show the growth in learning that new skill – video editing.

Staying True to Myself

It’s really hard not to compare yourself when on social media. Some people’s posts can get a lot of likes and views or they have a certain style to their posts. It’s easy to try to emulate what’s working for others. But it’s a lot easier to just be yourself. What can work for others may not work for me. I think it’s fine to take inspiration from others but I try to make what I share my own. As I mentioned earlier, I got caught up in the “influencer” world last year. At times, I felt I was sharing content that was not representative of me as a creative because it was what people wanted to see or what was popular or what brands wanted me to do. I made a promise to myself not to compromise my work or voice this year and to share content that is true to me. To stop focusing on the numbers (which can be hard because I’m an accountant) but focus on my growth and share about my personal growth on social media.

I personally enjoy following accounts and creators who share their journey and growth. Someone who has a story to tell and something I can relate to. Someone who shares things I’ve never seen or known or take me on a visual journey with them. I hope to see more of those types of accounts come up on my feed – the ones that share their personal growth and milestones instead of content that about how to obtain audience growth and celebrate follower count milestones.

Let’s focus on the followers and community we have instead of chasing after the ones we don’t have. Let’s get back to sharing fun, creative content for us because we want to and not measure what we post by likes count but by how much joy they bring us – the creators.

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