Why Did I Post
As you already know, I, like many others, spent a considerable amount of time on TikTok during the great quarantine of 2020. During those months, I saw a video by a creator named Chelsea Culbertson, who you can find on TikTok and Instagram at @choosingchelsea. In one particular video, she addressed the following question: How to do you get paid to work with brands on Instagram? Her first answers to the question were the following: “Posted authentic & real content” and “Posted daily FOR free for 4 years before seeing a dollar”. She then mentions answering DM’s and comments religiously, building a community and working her butt off.
Chelsea has 3,600 followers on TikTok and 204,000 on Instagram and is a Fabletics ambassador, so I figured she knew what she was talking about and I have heard similar advice from other big creators that I follow on social media. I have also heard that you should use specific hashtags that fit your brand and follow and interact with other people from your community. The biggest suggestions, however, are always to practice consistency and authenticity when it comes to creating a brand and large following on social media.
Chelsea’s video intrigued me because I want to grow my following on social media and on my blog and, to be honest, it would be a dream come true to make those two things my career. Being an influencer that promotes body positivity, low-waste and eco-friendly living, equality and thrifting is something that I would love to do for the rest of my life.
All of that gushy stuff paired with genuine boredom that we all experienced during quarantine and I decided to start posting more on social media. Specifically, I decided to post on Instagram for a month straight. I would later decide to keep going and I ended up posting a photo or IGTV video on my Instagram, @itsqueenween, for 61 days straight.
My goals were to gain more followers on Instagram, understand what it takes to gain more followers on Instagram and test the theory that posting every day on Instagram would grow my following.
What Did I Post
I started this experiment on June 1, 2020 and ended my streak on August 1, 2020; I shared 57 posts and four IGTVs. It should also be mentioned that I was active in my stories.
During this time, I mostly posted outfit photos, but there were some throwback vacation photos, dog photos and nature moments. You will also find some posts from this time relating to racial injustice and the protests following the murder of George Floyd. My IGTV videos were stream-of-consciousness-type videos about race and white privilege and then two thrift hauls.
I tried to write insightful and meaningful captions that were also humorous. I shared every photo in my stories and I added hashtags in the first comment of every post. I also tagged the brands that I was wearing in the photos.
What Were The Results Of My Experiment
Over the 61 days, I gained 27 followers on Instagram, 23 in June and 4 in July. That’s pretty good by my standards. I can’t speak to why I gained so many more followers in June than I did in July because it could be any manner of reasons that I have mentioned or that I may not be aware of.
Not to sound dramatic, but what was more valuable than the followers I gained was what I learned over those two months.
Here are a few things that I learned in June and July 2020 during my Instagram experiment:
- When it comes to posting on Instagram, quality is better than quantity. Posting something that doesn’t provoke thought or laughter, teach your followers anything or have a real meaning is not effective. I find posting “good” content is more beneficial for me. Posting just for the sake of posting is not effective for me, at least.
- Inserting yourself into communities that you want to be a part of or want to help build is a good way to grow your following and grow as a person and influencer. Follow the people in these communities. Interact with these people. Promote these people.
- Shitty brands will reach out to you when you start gaining a following. They will try to get you to work for free or promote their products that you bought with your hard-earned cash. Many of them pose as eco-friendly, sustainable brands, but will dodge your questions about fair wages. And others will just be a bot that gives you automated answers. It’s a no for me, dawg.
- Men will offer up themselves as sugar daddies the more often you post your body on social media. Thanks, but, no thanks.
- Posting every day is hard and tedious when you wear your pajamas all day and don’t have much to say. #quarantineproblems
- Authenticity is key. Being vulnerable is attractive and community building.
- I get more likes when I post photos with my husband. Not sure why, but people like to see us. The below post was my post that received the most likes in June and July. (Photo credit to Captured by Casey Photography.)
- Keeping your morals and ethics in tact is also a challenge. It would be easy to accept every offer of free products from an unethical company that only has white, size 2 models on their site. It is harder to attract good companies that want to work with you and have their morals in check. (P.S. I will always take the high road, I just wanted to share this observation.)
How Do I Plan On Moving Forward
As I stated in the last section, posting every day is not effective for me if the content is not authentic and meaningful, so for the last few months and as I move forward, I will not be posting on my Instagram every day.
I will put more effort to crafting quality posts and videos that my audience and myself can gain something from. That does not mean I will not post something with little to no caption if I feel like it. I will just not expect to grow consistently if I do that all of the time.
I think that as a I grow my audience on my blog and Instagram I will probably be put into the Instagram algorithm more and I will be bumped in search engines, which will put me in front of more people and increase my engagement and following. I hope that leads to me continuing to get to know other people in my community and eventually opens up opportunities for collaborations with other creators and brands. I would LOVE to host outfit and style challenges with other thrifty and plus babes!
Lastly, I am interested to see how my following grows as I continue to better my content and work with professional photographers.
Thanks so much for following along on this little experiment and for supporting my blog and my social media accounts. If you haven’t already, please follow me here on my blog and on my Instagram.
Your feedback is always important to me, so feel free to comment below or privately message me. I look forward to going on this journey with you and living, fighting and learning together!