Why the Number’s Aren’t Everything on Instagram

Often times, us bloggers get SO obsessed over our following counts, to the point we forget about the things that really matter on instagram. We might even delete a photo if it’s not doing well enough (I have been guilty of this – I will admit). Or, we might even go as far to think that we can’t be successful if we don’t have X amount of followers. So. not. true. So, here’s why the numbers aren’t everything on instagram.

Over the past few months, I have totally switched my mindset to not obsess over the numbers and let me tell you, it’s made me so much happier and is definitely one of my biggest instagram accomplishments to date. Better yet, I have totally found my unique voice, story and purpose, along the way because of this change in mindset.

Having a follower-growth only mindset will literally take over your life, putting you in a never ending spiral of comparison, defeat, and limiting beliefs. Often times, this growth can be out of your control, & we put too much of our time and energy into this when it could be spent doing way more effective things.

Now, I am not saying to completely forget about the numbers. They definitely are a factor and you can create strategies to continue to get authentic growth. But, obsessing over them is NOT helpful and you can be 100% successful with a “smaller” & slower-growing following.

Instead, focus on creating a higher engagement with the followers who are showing up to your page everyday!

And hey, having 5,000 followers is not “small”, can you picture that many people in a room listening to what you have to say? Wow!

Here are some typical “limiting beliefs” about having a “smaller” following and my responses as to why the number’s aren’t everything on instagram:


Limiting belief #1:
“I should change up my content to be like hers because she is growing so quickly, so it must work”.

Response:
You have to be true to yourself. Period.

why the number's aren't everything on instagram

First things first, copying someone else’s content strategy is a quick spiral down to failure. I mean, a lot of us have probably tried this out when either desperation or inspiration blocks hit. But, you can never do what someone else is doing better than they are. You will also be left feeling super unfulfilled because it didn’t come from your own creativity & your followers will most likely see through it.

Find your own unique spin on things, this is what helps you cut through the clutter of all the other bloggers out there because no one can be YOU. Emphasize the parts of you that make you, you. It’s an unbeatable plan!

Limiting belief #2:
“I probably could never work with that brand because I don’t have enough followers” or “If I don’t have X amount of followers, I won’t be able to be successful & make it a job”.

why the number's aren't everything on instagram
Working with McDonald’s Canada this past January! (Dream come true if you know my love for McD’s lol)

Response:
Times have changed and micro-influencers are killing it right now!

A lot of times, you might be looking to some of the biggest influencers in the game and think to yourself “how the hell am I going to get there?”. You have to remember, a lot of the largest bloggers in the world started when instagram wasn’t even a thing and people didn’t even know what a blog was. What worked for them back in the day, is not necessarily what your journey is going to look like, and that’s totally okay!

Because, guess what? Micro-influencers are a hot commodity these days!

A lot of the biggest brands actually strategize to only work with micro-influencers because they tend to have such strong engagement rates & their communities are that much more into whatever you ave to say!

why the number's aren't everything on instagram


So, how can you start really putting this mindset into place…

 

1. Focus on creating content that has a PURPOSE.
What a lot of bloggers tend to miss (and something I was guilty of missing for a while too) is having a defined purpose to your brand. What problem are you solving for your followers? Maybe your goal is to inspire young women to find affordable style items and outfits under $100. So, you make it your mission to provide your followers with this value (make sure your bio represents this, your stories are providing this, and your captions tell a story around this purpose).

Let me tell you, having a purpose with your content, will totally lessen the pressure of trying to be “the best” or competing with anyone else because hey, you have a purpose and you are helping your followers in a unique way!

2. Focus on building a super engaged following, who follow you, for you.
Even if it is a slow build, building an engaged following who really do buy-in to what you have to say is WAY more meaningful than having hundreds of thousands of followers who couldn’t give two shits what you have to say. Also, brands are a lot smarter these days and definitely respect the bloggers with real, engaged communities.

3. Stop comparing (I know easier said than done), but really, just stop.
The comparison game is DEATHLY. A lot of bloggers scroll mindlessly on their feeds for hours in a day, constantly comparing themselves to the next girl because they “need to find inspiration”. But, I challenge you to:
1. Start finding inspiration ELSEWHERE. Go out for a walk in your city, read a book, listen to music, find inspiration in other ways & your content is going to come out that much more unique.
2. Only pick up your phone with purpose! Do you need to message someone? Do you need to post? Do you need to engage with your lovely followers? Stop the random scrolling!!


Did you guy’s like this post? Let me know if you want more instagram based posts in the comments!

HOW TO CREATE AN INSTAGRAM THEME & AESTHETIC

When deciding how to create an instagram theme, it doesn’t always come easy and sometimes takes a lot of trial and error before finding a look that feels the most you. Whether you like to post your photos just for fun or are looking to expand your instagram into a business, developing an aesthetic will be the basis of your overall branding & attracting your community!

Here are some of my best tips & tricks for how to create an instagram theme and aesthetic:

1. Pick a filter (or a few) & stick to it!
One of my biggest tips is definitely to pick out a certain filter to keep consistent throughout your whole feed. This really does keep every photo looking consistent & sets the tone for your brand identity. Whether you want a warm look, vibrant look, or cool toned look, VSCO has a ton of amazing filters to choose from. Personally, I use the filter “J5” from VSCO on every photo!

Hack: head over to Pinterest and search “VSCO themes”. They have a ton of boards which layout different theme “looks” and exactly the filter and edits to achieve that theme. These can be a great way to have a base for what kind of look you want to create on your feed:
how to make your instagram feed look good

Before moving forward, it is important to note to never try to exactly copy someone else’s theme/aesthetic. Yes, it’s totally cool to get inspo from other people, but at the end of the day you want your look to be unique to you!

2. Consistent background imagery.
Another one of my best tips for how to create an instagram theme/aesthetic is to stick to consistent background imagery. For my personal brand, I love to promote the downtown city feel and atmosphere. So, in the majority of my photos, I highlight things like: graffiti, red brick walls, city streets, tall buildings, all within my backgrounds. This keeps my feed looking consistent, while also establishing an overall brand and identity of being a girl in the downtown city:

Maybe you want to go for more of a “pretty, soft & classy” look, so you might want to consider taking photos with a majority of floral backdrops and beautiful, intricate architecture. Whatever it may be, this really does set the “tone” of your brand and what kind of message you are establishing to your community in a visual way.

3. Pick certain colour’s to focus on within the photo.
Now, this one can get super tough at times, especially if you want to switch up the colour’s of your outfits, or, you are travelling and all of a sudden there is blue water from the beach in your background (more on this below). But, where you can, stick to certain colour schemes to keep your feed looking consistent. Maybe you have pops of red with monochrome backgrounds, or you stick to tones of blue and brown’s, for more of a beachy look. Figure out what colour’s you want to focus on and it will help you set the tone of your feed to create a theme/aesthetic.

Implementing new colour’s on your feed:
When implementing a new colour into your feed, it is important to then post that same colour at least 2-3 more times after it within your feed. This will help integrate the colour into your feed and it won’t look like the one random photo with the pop of pink in the middle of your feed. This is great for travelling, especially if you are typically more monochrome but want to add some colourful backdrops from your recent vacay in Hawaii. All you have to do is implement a few more photos with that colour and you are good to go!


(e.g.) Implementing the colour yellow in the bottom row and the colour blue in all three rows (starting from the sky in that bottom left photo).

4. Alternate the depth of your photos on the grid.
Alright, we are about to get real technical here! One of my next tips for creating a more “appealing” looking feed is to alternate the depth of your photos. As you can see in my feed in the photo above, I alternate posting a photo which is more close up to a full body shot. Alternating the depth in this way keeps the eye moving inwards and outwards and creates a more interesting look to your feed overall. Another way to do this is to take a photo up against a wall and then alternating it by having the full depth of a street behind you. Keeping this in mind when planning out your IG feed will be super helpful to creating a more interesting, but consistent look!

Was this helpful? Did it answer your questions about how to create an instagram theme? Let me know in the comments!

For more content: here is a video for how I edit my instagram photos when I used the A9 filter, check it out!

HOW I EDIT MY INSTAGRAM PHOTOS

This week I am answering a question that is asked a TON and am super excited to share all of my “secrets” for how I edit my instagram photos in 3 MINUTES! A lot of you ask mainly how I get my photos to look so grey and how my feed looks so consistent. Well, I am here to spill all of the juicy details.

Now that I have started up my youtube channel again, I created an easy to follow video, where you guys can follow along with me while I edit one of my photos.

In the video, I show three apps, including: Facetune ($2.99), VSCO (free, but I purchased the ‘A’ series filters for $2.99) and UNUM (free). Below, I will have detailed each of the steps for you guys to reference, but for now, take a quick watch of the video on how I edit my instagram photos:

STEPS:

1. Open up the Facetune app to use the “whiten” tool.
This app is a legit life-saver (I promise you it is worth the $2.99)! Anyone I know who uses this app says the same thing. There are so many different tools that a lot of other editing apps don’t have. The main one is the “whiten” tool, which I use on every single photo and is the bread to my butter for how I edit my instagram photos. All you do is rub the areas that you want to make “whiter” and viola! This is how you achieve the “grey” look that many of you guys ask me about!

2. Use the “erase” tool to be more precise with your “whiten” edit.
Sometimes when using the whiten tool, you tend to go over areas that you don’t mean to make whiter. Zoom into the photo to really see the fine details and use the eraser to erase the areas you didn’t mean to go over! Click ‘Share’ in the top right corner to save!

3. Move over to VSCO (oh, the infamous VSCO)!
I am not sure why people say that VSCO is so “basic”!? I know a lot of bloggers/content creators who still use it because it allows for you to find a filter that works and be able to stick to it! I use one of their paid-for presets called, “The Minimalist Collection”, and use the ‘A9’ filter. My first step is to click on this filter and take it down to about half of the intensity. I don’t like to keep the filter at 100% because this tends to make the photos look really unnatural. But, this is your chance to play with whatever look you want to go for!

4. Turn the exposure down a bit on VSCO.
I like my photos to look a little bit darker or almost like it is in a bit of a shadow. The only other tool I use on VSCO is the exposure, which I turn down to about -1. When you turn it really high up, exposure makes things super bright, and in the opposite direction makes the photo extremely dark. So, I only make a subtle change here at -1.

5. After saving from VSCO, take your photo over to UNUM.
UNUM is a really cool app that allows you to plan out your feed and schedule your posts. But, it actually also has some amazing editing tools. The first thing I do is use the “shadows” tool. I turn this tool down to about -30-40. This really is an important step as it is what brings out all of the black tones in the photo. it is really what makes the photo POP.

6. Next, I use the saturation tool!
This is subtle step that I take but makes a big difference in my overall feed. I like to turn down the saturation to about -30. I like my photos to have an overall monochrome/neutral look, so turning the saturation down a bit takes away any super bright colours from the photo.

7. The last step…the sharpness!
This step really just puts the finishing touch on the photo. Since a lot of the time I use my phone to take my photos, I like to increase the sharpness to about +30 to really make the finer details stand out a bit more and make the photo look more crisp.

Okay, so seriously, how easy was that!? Hope you guys enjoyed this post on how I edit my instagram photos! Talk soon xo.