I have wrestled with God about sharing the following information with you. I always told him that I will do my best to turn around and help others as I grow. But it’s much easier to share my successes than my failures. However, as the host of Real Talk with Rachael, it only seems right to share the good, bad, and ugly with you. I hope this article helps you get over your own Instagram hurdle and the idol holds in our hearts.
If you’re an Instagram user, especially for business or online ministry, you know the magic number to reach is 10K followers.
10K grants you the magic wish of the highly sought after SWIPE UP feature on stories.
If we’re honest, when we see someone has 10K followers we become quite impressed with them. It’s as though they earned our trust immediately simply because of a number (sigh).
I started out on Instagram years ago just for fun. I posted pictures of my kids and my account was set to private.
But when I became a blogger and podcaster, I was told I needed to grow my following.
I did what most do and searched for teachings and courses on this topic of Instagram growth. I began to implement what the experts taught me and I did see a little success.
Things I was taught & tried to implement:
- 3 likes and a comment. This one seemed OK enough because I was engaging with others in hopes they would come to see my profile and want to follow me. However, this began to bother me because I realized it was shallow. I only was engaging in hopes of something in return. No thanks.
- Follow/unfollow method. This is a method that has been taught since the beginning of Instagram time. I had never done it but a coach had recommended this method to me so I assumed it had to be good, right? After a few months of practicing it, it too left me feeling uncomfortable as I took advantage of people by only following them in hopes of a follow back. I quit this method too (I apologize if you were one of the individuals I made feel less than with this method).
- Next, I had a book sent to me for a book launch that was all about Instagram growth. One chapter in the book recommended a company that can help manage your IG account while helping you get more exposure and growth. If a book had recommended it, it had to be great, right? Wrong. I hired this company and had to let them go within the same month when I learned they were using bots on my account. I was mortified, to say the least.
After the horrific experience with that company, I decided to call it quits. I almost deleted my account completely but decided to pray on it instead. It was at that time that I recorded a podcast episode called Real Talk about my Instagram Addiction.
It was true. I had, and still struggle with, an addiction to Instagram. God started by dealing with that idol in my life. I laid it at his feet and told him that he could have it. I would get off the gram if it was going to cost my soul.
But instead of getting off the gram, God gave me a different battle plan. It was with this plan that my account really began to grow, and I passed that beloved 10K marker.
However, when I passed it, I did not shout it from the mountain tops or really even celebrate at all. While it was exciting, it did not change my world or the things in which God has called me to, which is to equip women in their callings and help them find their voice.
God gave me this plan instead:
- Focus on the people who are at your table. He convicted me that I had been focusing so hard on everyone who wasn’t at my table that I was neglecting the ones who were already seated and ready to be served. When I shifted my focus to one of service, I began to connect to the right people.
- Lean into my giftings. I LOVE to do live videos. I have taught entire classes on live video because it’s so much fun. But in all my hustle trying to grow a following, I stopped doing the things I loved. I started to do live videos and focused on IGTV. My IGTV videos connected with more people in one day than my entire other posts would connect in weeks. It was a reminder that when we stay in our zone, we will shine and people will be drawn to our authentic self.
- I aligned myself with others doing similar things as me. You might notice on my Instagram account that I do giveaways from time to time. Yes, my following generally grows when I participate in those, but it’s even more fun to connect with other bloggers & podcasters all while giving some really cool swag to my community.
- Success is obedience. This was a phrase a mentor said to me that has stuck. God reminded me that if he has called me to be on Instagram, then he will enlarge my territory as he sees fit. I always ask him for my territory on Instagram (and everywhere) to be no more than my character can handle and no less than where God wants me to influence.
- Consistency is key. I made a commitment to keep showing up even when things don’t seem to be growing. People are watching to see if we will keep showing up.
Practical tips for IG growth:
- Download this simple guide to make sure you are optimizing your social media accounts to the fullest.
A few final words of wisdom:
- Hitting 10K Instagram followers did not transform my life. I did not have new doors of opportunity open or huge business and ministry success. I’ve learned that there is no magic number that sets us apart. The only thing that will transform our lives is Jesus Christ and the anointing of God on our lives. Period.
- Follow the peace. God gave us the holy spirit as our helper. Listen to that still, small voice as you work on building a platform (whether IG or somewhere else). In hindsight, the holy spirit tried to warn me when I followed the advice of others for strategies that I didn’t feel comfortable with but I silenced him. I have repented to God for this and am using this learning time as a reminder to submit to the holy spirit’s leading in all areas of my life.
I hope this encourages you to keep moving forward. Focus only on what God has called you to and he will put the exact people in your path that need to be there for that season.
I’m always cheering for you,
P.S. If you’re on the gram, I would love to connect with you there. I promise not to do any weird, spammy stuff to you. 😉