It's been a long road to 10k. I started growing my Instagram at the end of 2015 and started my blog in 2016. I know 10k isn't a big following at all, and many people have surpassed this number in a shorter amount of time. However, 10k was still a goal I was working towards, and I wanted to acknowledge it. And the fact that I hit 10k just a few days before my birthday made it even better! I wrote a little post with 10 things I learned about myself, social media and any creative endeavor on the way to this milestone.
stay true to your own style:
It can be tempting to alter your style just to conform with what's popular at the moment, whether that's the clothes you wear, the way you edit your photos, how you pose, or the language you use in your captions. During the last few years on Instagram, there's been several big trends I've noticed. First it was the white/minimalist look, then it was the super colorful trend, now it's the "Tezza look" (photos inspired by, or sometimes flat out copied from @tezza) as I like to call it: overly grainy photos with an orange colored filter and editorial style poses. However, all trends are fleeting, so it's best to just stay true to who you are because no trend, no matter how popular, is permanent. If you're jumping on a trend that's not true to who you really are, it will be really difficult to evolve with it.
seek inspiration elsewhere:
Instagram has become so formulaic, especially when it comes to influencers. Everyone's photos, language and style has started to blend together because we're all in this bubble. It's so easy to be influenced by what we see on Instagram (even if it's subconscious) when we spend so much time on it every day. I try to get outside of the bubble and seek inspiration elsewhere. Whether that's Pinterest or Tumblr, movies or music, or visiting a museum.
stay in your own lane:
It's so easy to look at what others are doing and feel like you need to do the exact same things to be successful, especially when what everyone is doing is on display for all to see on social media. I've been tempted to do things like participate in loop giveaways or start monetizing my blog through affiliate sales because it seemed like that's what I was SUPPOSED to be doing to be a successful blogger. But everyone has their own path for success, especially when it comes to blogs and social media.
slow and steady wins the race:
I've definitely felt envious of girls whose follower counts grow in leaps and bounds. However, most of the tactics they use are not beneficial in the long run. It can be tempting to participate in a loop giveaway to see your follower count grow by thousands overnight, but that's not a good solution because these people don't engage with your posts, which throws off your numbers and looks fishy to brands. Trust yourself and the process and know that hard work pays off in the end and if it's too good to be true, it probably is.
create your own opportunities:
As with anything else in life, there are always going to be people who seemingly have things handed to them. But that doesn't mean that they're the only ones who can be successful. I got a "late" start to the influencer game. The girls who have been doing it longer than me of course have an easier time getting collaborations and get approached by brands more frequently or have managers to secure deals for them because they have a bigger following. But that doesn't mean there's not room for me too, it just means I have to work a little harder to get noticed. I pitch myself to brands all the time. Sometimes they say no or don't respond, but sometimes they say yes too! Which brings me to my next point...
don't be afraid to hear the word no:
Don't be afraid to initiate contact between a brand or person. The worst that someone can say is no or not respond. And just because someone says no or doesn't respond, doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you. It could be something as simple as your email getting overlooked or the brand not having a budget at the moment. Don't take it personally!
don't be afraid to say the word no:
When you're first getting started it can be tempting to agree to every brand collaboration or RSVP yes to every event. But it's important to be selective with these offers so your personal brand doesn't get diluted and to not burn yourself out. There will always be more events or more collaborations coming your way. When approached by a brand and given a campaign brief, if I can't think of a good idea for content after I sleep on it that night, I usually pass on the opportunity. If you have to think about it too much, it's probably not a good fit.
numbers aren't everything:
I often hear other influencers or bloggers say they're afraid to reach out to brands and companies because of their follower count or engagement rate. But numbers aren't everything. Brands will want to work with you if you create amazing content or are professional and pleasant to work with. Just like the film industry, you could be the most popular actress, but if you're difficult to work with, have a bad reputation in the industry, or don't deliver results, they won't want to work with you. Being extra creative and having good communication skills can make up for a lack of followers or engagement.
experiment with things:
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Social media is constantly evolving, so something that worked for you in the past may not work for you now. If something's not working anymore, try something completely different because you have nothing to loose. Social media, like many creative endeavors, is basically throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks.
don't worry about everything being perfect:
I can be a perfectionist, so a lot of times I'm not completely satisfied with my work, but I still force myself to post it and move on. My boss always references this Maya Angelou quote, and I think it can be applied to anyone who has a side hustle.The quote goes, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” We're always growing and evolving and if you wait until everything is perfect, you'll never get anywhere.
Photos by Madeleine
Dress: c/o Unique Vintage
Tights: H&M; Bracelet: Kate Spade; Shoes: Steve Madden; Beret: Beau xoxo
Location: Washington Square Park (West Village, Manhattan)