I got inspired to write this post after reading the great article of Samantha, the founder of “There she goes again” about the reality of Instagram and her take-on how she got thousand of followers on her Instagram profile during a short period of time.
We are both members of the same Facebook community for female travellers and one big struggle many of the members have is how to grow your
goddamn Instagram profile. Samantha had some very interesting observations like
- Is the pictures taken in a popular location like e.g. Paris?
- Are you a white, thin and an attractive female?
- Do you have a cute style?
Then its – sorry to say – a bit easier to grow your Instagram. People like that shit! My own observation is that people as well like bright photos like a white sanded beach and turquoise blue water. Oh well.. and some bare skin on the pictures.. (and I am not talking about showing only your beautiful bare feet). Anyways, I will get back to these observations later on.
My husband has an IG profile sharing photos with his passion for wildlife and nature and he doesn’t get this show-some-skin thing:
“This girl has 50k followers and her pictures are ugly as fuck! She just show her damn boobies on a selfie, gets 4.000 likes and I have been hunting this bird for months to get the perfect shot and I get 50 likes! What is wrong with this world??!!”.
Anyways, this is my take-on why I still dont have 50K followers 😀 (please read the post with a bit of humor).
Disclaimer: A few people felt offended by my post so I felt the need to point out that I am very self deprecating in this article! Furthermore I am not calling out big IG travel accounts. I know why big travel IG accounts have many followers – because they have stunning pictures and often do a hell lot of work to maintain their profile, editing the photos etc. to inspire people like me to travel.
ENGAGEMENT, IG PODS AND FOLLOW/UNFOLLOW
I know you dont just get 50K followers. So I have been following some different advices on how to grow your I account and get more engagement. Luckily a lot of people are willing to share their experiences to help one another.
I think I have tried out most advices now:
- Being very interactive with people like writing meaningful comments and spreading some love in the shape of LIKES.
- I am a member of Instagram pods
- I have tried this horrible game of follow/unfollow
- Being consistent with uploading photos daily
- Testing different travel-related hashtags
It has been some months now and I feel sometimes that for every 3 follower I get I lose 2. In two days I lost 25 followers even though I get the notification about approx. 5 new followers per day.
The cruelty of the follow-unfollow game
In the FB community for female travellers we help each other to grow each others IG by sharing our IG and following each other. Well, most people do that. I also experience that the people who were supposed to help you because you are helping them – they unfollow you after some time (I have the app “Followers” to track who is unfollowing me – you cannot escape the eye of Sauron!!).
Furthermore you will experience that some big profiles play the same follow/unfollow game. In the beginning I was like “why does this beautiful profile with 70K followers wanna follow my small ugly-as-fuck account?”. Well, they didn’t. They just wanted you to notice their account and make you follow them and then unfollow you afterwards. Yes, it´s like being the ugly girl in school and finally the pretty boy notices you. He makes you write his homework and then he dumps you. This game is cruel *touching my broken heart*!
I DONT HAVE THE RIGHT IG PROFILE FOR POPULARITY
Ok, that was about what I did to grow my IG. But I think my problem is how my Instagram looks picture-vice. And yes… we have some stuff for improvement. But let me point of why my IG feed is not growth-worthy:
Lets starts with There she goes again´s observations.
I live in Patagonia, Chile right now and therefore most of my pictures are from there and is going to be until June 2017. Its indeed a stunning place, but not that known as e.g. Paris or New York. I didn’t even know it was an area, I just though it was a clothing brand, haha! Patagonia, Chile is
still not a popular location when it comes to hashtags. #Paris has more than 57 million publications. #Patagonia has 1.5 million and #Patagoniachilena has around 68 thousand.
White, thin and attractive female;
I am sure my mom will say YES to all these characteristics! Well, I am white and I am female. I am 163cm / 5 ft
small tall and a size medium. Being attractive is subjective – I know I am not an ugly person,but I am also aware about that I am not a beauty queen. I am average and I think I have a pretty face but nothing special.
I am not very photogenic and I feel awkward smiling to the camera. I started 1 year ago asking people to take pictures of me facing away from the camera. At that time I didn’t know it was a IG-thing. So its actually not to make the photo IG friendly – I just dont like my face on pictures. I dont look cute. I just look uncomfortable.
Of course you dont need to fulfil these 4 characteristic to have a popular account! The hope is yet not to be lost! We are just talking about some tendencies. Relax. No need to panic and go all “white Chicks”;-)
Guys… I am living in an outdoor mekka where GORE-TEX shoes, GORE-TEX jackets and trekking pants are highest fashion! If you want to make a fashion twist you can add a colourful Buff scarf around your head. The Gucci bag is replaced by an Osprey backpacker. I have seen pretty outdoor pictures of women with all kind of fancy clothes, but seriously – nobody who hikes for days in the mountains with tent, sleeping bag, mattress, stove, gas, food, trekking clothes in a 65 liter backpacker carries around “IG photo worthy clothes for each day”. No. We are trying to carry as less as possible to not DIE in the mountains from exhaustion!
MY PHOTOS ARE NOT PRETTY ENOUGH
The Patagonian weather is windy, cloudy, rainy, cold and sometimes sunny. It changes a lot. The nature is extreme and wild and you dont find beautiful white beaches with turquoise blue water. Most of my pictures I take with my cellphone are somehow dark because of the weather and the environment. My husband has a good camera and takes great pictures, but it doesn’t change how the circumstances are here in Patagonia. I am not saying you cannot take pretty pictures here. You can take brilliant pictures! But my iPhone is not the best tool with a dark sky and I often need to borrow pictures from my husband or make him take them. But 90% of my pictures are somehow cloudy!
I HAD LACK OF CONSISTENT STYLE AND A NICHE
It took me some while to get it but I haven’t had any consistent style on my IG. When I got a new editing app I went all crazy about trying different styles and filters to make my cloudy pictures look more bright and colorful. You can see my app filter experiments when looking further down my IG profile. I am like an indecisive child when it comes to style! I dont like to say A because what if I one day like B… or C? Today I try only to add a bit of saturation but avoiding filters (even though I really want to put all my pictures on the filter-rollercoaster simply because I think its funny).
Furthermore it took me some time to figure out my niche. Its like with the filter – I wanted to put up all kind of photos! Sometimes I even have the urge to put up ugly photos! I decided to put up the ugly and random photos on my private Danish IG account to separate things and satisfy my need for showing ugly photos.
I focus on posting only outdoor adventures and experiences and that is my niche of dreamsbynana. That is my passion. I love to explore the outdoor world with my husband and we both have a passion for wild animals, beautiful lookouts, hiking in the mountains and living a simple life with love for the simple things. That is what I want my Instagram to reflect.
I STOPPED OVER-THINKING MY IG GROWTH
Bottom line is that I
still dont have the criteria for having a 50K IG profile. The photos are what they are so far. I still need to work with making prettier pictures.But I won’t cry about my less-pretty pictures. When I am exploring I want to be present and not think about things like “oh Jesus, I need to take a picture here for my IG profile to satisfy my 1.7K IG followers” (few days ago I wrote 1.9K, thats how fast people are escaping from me, haha). I take a picture now and then as a memory of the place, but I dont use too much time thinking about the angle, the light and my pose. As long as nobody pays me I need to keep my IG as a fun hobby and not a (unpaid) job.
Instead I am trying to make good content and tell a story to make up for my less pretty pictures. Since my focus is outdoor experiences and I currently live in Patagonia I like to tell about life here; what you can do, travel tips and inspire people to come and experience it. I also want to “educate” people and create awareness about the nature and environmental issues we have. Sadly you see the effects of global warming here (yes, its real).
So now you are pretty curios to see how my profile looks like right? I know its not that bad as I make it sound like. But I recognise what the 50K travel profiles have something that my IG doesn’t have. And recognition is the first step right? 😉 Wish me luck – one day I am going to make an awesome post about “How I got 50K IG followers”.
Did you like the article? Do you have some friends who need to face some realities regarding their Instagram and lack of followers? Please share 🙂