Last week, we hit a pretty cool milestone – 50,000 Instagram followers. If you're new around here, “we” is me + my dog Mochi. She's obviously way more popular than I am.
This post not about how we grew from 0 – 50,000 followers but more about a few of the things I've learned along the way. Although you can read this post + this post!
There will always be someone ahead of you and someone behind you
This is probably the most general life + business lesson of the bunch, but I've found the need to repeat it to myself lately. I often struggle with feeling “good enough” to do things – as a recovering perfectionist, I feel this annoying need to be REALLY good at anything I do (or not do it at all) which is a really terrible thing for my mindset when it comes to basically everything I've done / tried to do for the past 2 years. I had the idea for Celebripet Boot Camp last year but it took several months for me to actually launch and make it happen (in part) because I was worried no one would want to take an Instagram course from someone with “only” 15,000 followers (when there were so many people with thousands more). And even now just a few months later with over 50,000 followers, I still occasionally feel like a small fish in a big pond in comparison to accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers.
This is silly. This is insane actually. To say that I still sometimes feel irrelevant with over 50,000 Instagram followers (which is more than four times the number of people in the city my parents live in, FYI) – kind of makes me want to slap myself into reality. You only need to know more than the person you're teaching to provide value. And just because someone else may know “more” or be further along, that doesn't mean you're not good enough. Period.
The most specific your niche is, the easier it is to find your people
I've mentioned before, niching down was something that took a few years to figure out, but once I did, magical things happened. This is something that many of my clients and students have struggled with as well – and to be honest I do think it takes some time to figure out, but when you do, it's easier to find “your people” and easier to create content that appeals to them. This post has several tips on finding your niche including 4 questions you can ask yourself to get more specific.
With that said, I don't think that you have to limit yourself to the same niche forever or even to one niche at a time!
[click_to_tweet tweet=”One of the keys to growth + success is acknowledging when something isn't working and knowing when to pivot. If you aren't seeing the results you want, change something.” quote=”One of the keys to growth + success is acknowledging when something isn't working and knowing when to pivot. If you aren't seeing the results you want, change something.”]
Creating “valuable” content is really all about your audience
Here's the thing – valuable content does not necessarily mean having professional photography or swoon-worthy design or 2,000 word blog posts. It really depends on your audience and what is “valuable” to them – so whether you are educating or inspiring or entertaining your audience, to keep them engaged you need to be creating content that actually makes them give a sh*t. You can create a 12 page download with tons of great information but your audience might find more value in a simple, 1 page checklist.
I've tried A LOT of different things (checklists, ebooks, free workshops, giveaways, etc.) when it comes to converting Mochi's Instagram followers into subscribers and you know what the #1 lead magnet has been? A digital Valentine. Seriously, she offered to email a Valentine to her followers and got hundreds of subscribers in a couple of hours. Sometimes the best things are the simplest.
Analyze, tweak, repeat
I'm a total data nerd (in another life, I worked in finance), but the truth is, sometimes the data doesn't tell you what you want to hear. One of the keys to growth + success is acknowledging when something isn't working and knowing when to pivot. If you aren't seeing the results you want, change something. Sometimes that means improving what you have and sometimes that means creating something totally new. And once you've figured that out, it will probably be time to analyze again and make new adjustments.
On Instagram in particular, I learned that some of the things that worked when we had 10,000-15,000 followers are not the same things that work now that we have 50,000+ but that's ok. In business, sometimes the things that work when you're first starting out aren't the things that work a year or two down the line. Your audience might change, your services might change, your entire business might change . Honestly EVERYTHING in my life has changed over the past 3 years (except my husband, thankfully he's still sticking around!) – but with each season of change comes new opportunities.
Sharing your knowledge positions you as an expert
I mean duh. But for some reason, this is was somewhat of an unexpected realization for me. When I launched Celebripet Boot Camp and started actively teaching Instagram strategy through the course, but also through webinars and live workshops, more people (including people who weren't dog people) started asking me about Instagram. Almost all of my consulting clients over the past few months have hired me specifically to talk about Instagram strategy, and I've gotten a random assortment of other exciting opportunities lately because of Instagram as well. Basically my life revolves around Instagram (and my dog) at this point – and I don't hate it!
Instagram has changed my life in so many ways over the past year, so I'm pretty passionate about the platform and sharing what I've learned along the way. Click below to download my Instagram Resource Guide which includes everything you need to plan, create, and schedule your Instagram content!