FALLING BEHIND IN THE BLOGGING WORLD: THE IMPACT OF NOT BEING PART OF THE CLIQUE
An observation on instagram growth & reasons for my lack thereof
I’m not quite sure where the words for this post came from, I think it’s partly a result of me recently missing a few events I had been super excited to attend (and on reflection would have been great platforms for my blog & instagram), and partly a reflection on what drives blogging or instagram success today, or at least what seems to be the trend.
I’ve always known networking was critical for success. In every aspect of life really. I’ve also always been a really sociable person who’s never consciously thought about networking when meeting people, I’m fortunate in that I’m generally really comfortable talking to anyone and seem to always have something to discuss. I have a strong network of friends and colleagues built authentically over time, and it’s not something in my career I ever really think about. It’s just something that’s formed naturally over the years and something I most definitely haven’t and don’t like the idea of ‘working on’. But when it comes to blogging I’ve always been slightly on the left foot when it comes to my ‘network’.
I have a career and a blog, and I chose 6 years ago to put my career first (and in turn not to make my blog my full time work). I’ve been blogging nearly 8 years and whilst I have met some wonderful people over the course of that time, and have friends I speak to on social media and love to see when I do actually attend events, the number of those people can be counted on one hand near enough.
And here’s the issue (for me that is). Today, blog success but mostly Instagram success (and when I say success, I kind of mean growth in followers and engagement) seems to come down to how ‘popular’ you are. And whilst I for one would love to believe good content gets you success, it doesn’t. Truly it doesn’t.
Growth (which i’m short cutting as success, because ultimately your follower base, engagement rates and ability to ‘influence’ is ultimately what enables you to earn a living from instagram, and in turn have success commercially on the platform) takes so much more than just good content. There was an early wave of ‘growth’ for those that committed to instagram at launch, I stupidly did not give it my all in the early days and definitely kick myself now for that (too dedicated to the blog), but beyond that there are still tons of people growing exponentially on the platform today. I often look at them wishing I knew the magic formula, as comparatively I am a failure on instagram. But truthfully, if i’m really honest, I can see the magic formula in action: engagement with other people, constant use of the platform, and not just aimlessly scrolling – I mean talking to people non stop, leaving comments, DM’ing and building ‘friendships’ with other influencers, tagging brands, hash-tagging, visiting popular locations, featuring ‘popular’ things, regularity in posting, fitting an ‘aesthetic’ (of which there are multiple cliques you could choose to be apart of) and generally gaining ‘exposure’ off the back of the aforementioned.
Growth seems to me at least, to derive from exposure through other people, whether that’s a super kind person sharing your content because they love what you do (such a genuinely wonderful thing for someone to do and always something I and other bloggers truly appreciate), or your blogging friends featuring you and supporting your content and business either consciously when it matters or simply as a result of your friendship and therefore spending time together as pals in real life (e.g. tagging you or mentioning you in their content / stories / blogs) and finally of course, exposure from event networking.
Being seen at events, covering events, meeting people at events, building friendships at events, hanging with your blogging friends at events, and being featured at events is one absolutely huge driver of success (exposure = growth = success). I see groups of bloggers time and time again at events with each other, the more they attend, the more they get invited to, the better friends they become the more i’m sure the invites spread … and of course so does the exposure.
I’ll just pause to say this is absolutely no bad thing, it’s also in many and most instances, not contrived. It’s authentic friendships, just like yours and my work friends. But i’m sharing it today as it’s an observation I’ve made lately and one I’ve come to identify as my major barrier to Instagram success (or lack thereof).
I’m simply not part of the / a clique, and to truly flourish I think you need to be ….
I don’t think I’m the only one to feel this way either. I’ve read two posts in the last year from fantastic bloggers who have both mentioned a separation from the blogging community / event attendance, one driven by location and the second just a simple lack of interest in being part of that clique. What I would say is both are really successful and fantastic at what they do, so ‘not being part of the gang’ so to speak hasn’t impacted them in the same way I would argue it’s impacted me, but both are full time and therefore probably have slightly more time to engage and understand the platform (perhaps?).
Anyway, I suppose the point isn’t about others, it’s just an observation about my own journey. I often feel ‘left behind’ and slightly on my own in this space, part of it’s my own fault. Having a career means I often don’t have the time and / or the energy to make the events or trips I am invited on, and in turn, I now often don’t get some of those invites that I see others taking advantage of. The implication is then of course that lack of exposure that could be linked to ‘growth’ – through building friendships, being at those events, and generally being featured in more than simply my own feed. I mean I for one constantly discover new instagammers or bloggers to follow through them being linked on other peoples accounts (either through them being featured on their blogging friends stories / feeds or through events or trips they are on) or brands featuring influencers they may be working with, in reality how else are you meant to discover new people to follow (or really the crux of this, be discovered yourself), because one things for sure the instagram algorithm and ‘discover’ feed certainly isn’t geared up to help most of us these days. Least, it’s not ever helped me (but perhaps i’m not ‘active’ enough to warrant support … I guess that debate is a whole other conversation).
There’s no conclusion per c’est to this post, this is simply a musing, an observation, a stream of consciousness, just my thoughts. But as always I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts. As an influencer, whether you relate or if not whether you have at least observed the same thing? Or as simply a reader or lover of the platform, how you discover new instagram accounts or blogs to follow? Which ones you love, even how you found them.
Regardless, i’d just love to know what you think on the topic?