Andrea: "Hey, I've just been looking at our Instagram and I have an idea."
Josh: "Oooook? What?"
Andrea: "I want to see if we can get to 500 followers by May!"
Josh: "But...we only have like 120 right now!"
Andrea: "Yep....I know!"
This conversation happened in January of 2020, and at that point, our interest in social media was scarce, at best. We were just starting our second year of photography and were still trying to understand what it meant to run a business. But after a year of feeling like we really had "no control" over our online presence and after Andrea came up with the idea to almost triple our following in just four months, we began a journey that wouldn't stop at 500, but instead continued on to the quadruple digits! So today, we're look back over our journey to 1,000 followers and what we have learned along the way!
One Follower = One Life
As soon as we decided that we wanted to grow our follower base, we quickly turned to the internet to learn about all of the different methods for growing your following, specifically on Instagram. However, after about an hour of research, we quickly realized that our vision was so much more than just "adding more followers." One of the ways we describe ourselves to people is "Fans of People," but as we researched Instagram growth, we quickly realized that many "methods" of gaining followers has nothing to do with the people who are attached to those accounts. The content creator would be responsible for gaining the follower, and that's where the "relationship" would end. There would be no communication, no investment, and no connection, apart from an occasional "like" on a photo. That's the LAST thing we wanted. We truly love meeting and interacting with people, so we quickly decided that EVERY single follower was going to get a personal message from us in their DMs when they decided to follow along! This is something we STILL keep up even now, and it has helped remind us that one follower equals someone's life. In an age where people are becoming more and more hostile towards each other online, remembering that there are actual people on the other side of your screen might help bring back to "social" to social media!
100 = 1000
You've all heard it, we've all seen it, but we hope that one more voice will just give more credence to the truth: reaching 1000 followers "felt" about the same as when we reached 100 followers. And in a way, it's so relieving to know that! Think about it, every time you hit a milestone, you can feel that same excitement from the last milestone! Whether you are looking for your first 100, 1000, or even if you are going for five digits of followers, you can know that your hard work will be paid off. You'll get the see that number finally rise to your goal, and then...it's back to work! The "grind" towards more followers will always be that: a grind. So please, take this to heart; you will never get more satisfaction or more joy out of a higher follower count, but you can enjoy and celebrate the excitement you get when you reach your goals!
IG ≠ Life
Are we any happier because of more followers? Nope. Does the sun shine a little brighter on us as we walk outside? No again. And as we set our sights on 2,000 (because yes, we are definitely not stopping now!), we can confidently say that having more Instagram followers will never bring anyone true joy and happiness. We see Instagram just like we see the rest of our gear: as a tool. Tools are great things to have; they make certain jobs easier and more efficient, but only if they are used correctly. Driving nails with a screwdriver or using a hammer to fix an electrical outlet normally doesn't end well, and in the same way, if you are looking to your Instagram followers to give you joy, happiness, or even meaning to your life, you've sadly missed the point of the tool. Use Instagram for what it was originally designed for: a simple tool to help you share photos and experiences with your friends and family.
We can't think of a better way to end this than how we begin every message we write our new followers: "We are firm believers in putting the 'social' back into social media!" Let's make that a goal for everyone, Instagram would be a much better place.
All photos property of Josh and Andrea Photography LLC.