Updated: Jan 6, 2021
If you are a person who is single-handedly trying to make it big in social media, there is a possibility that you feel anxious about posting content. Keep reading if this holds true for you.
I have had an Instagram account since 2014, but the account connected to my current business was started only in 2019. Today I want to talk about some crucial effects that social media had on me and how I finally figured out my dynamic with it.
Back in 2014, I started an account just to showcase my artworks and I kept doing that without any expectation of fame or money out of it. I wasn't posting everyday but I was consistent. Not for the likes, not for the audience but to improve the art I was practising. Sure, the validation from the audience felt good but I was unfamiliar to the idea of monetising it. I was noticing a steady increase in audience. At one point I even got 255 likes for a post that I made. Yeah, you jerk! 255 WAS a big number back then for artworks that only your mom appreciated.
That was probably my golden period on Instagram. I couldn't draw once I started with my job and my page soon became one one of those basic personal accounts with pictures of me eating out, posing bad and getting married. Now that I'm starting a legitimate business, I didn't want my personal account and my business under same roof. Mostly because my personal account did not cater to design fanatics anymore (only personal fanatics).
So the new account started in November 2019. Instagram was no longer a cute polaroid app where pictures of you looking like a meme got a 1000 likes. It became a people eating monster. Business accounts meant you're legit and if you are a creative professional, your page better look like a fucking vogue magazine!
I had not even made one post and I was already seeing so many people with their whole content surrounding how to succeed on Instagram. There were carousels after carousels! How to post? How to hashtag? How to get away with murder?
Of course I started following it all. I wanted to make it big and reach my golden period again! 256 likes baby! Thats what I wanted!
But guess what happened. The formulas of perfection stopped me from actually doing anything. I couldn't post anything other than portfolio work and even that felt like I was screaming at people asking them to see my work. Kinda like this:
These were dark times, I had to do something...perhaps provide value? Oh yeah, you guessed it. I decided to join the dark forces. I was creating...*deep breathes*...CAROUSELS!
I know, it was tough. Especially when I had no idea what I was talking about. I am a designer who is trying to specialize in visual identity and differenciation part of branding. I should have shared my learnings on that front. Instead I ended up talking about the most over-used design trope 'The niche'. As if my audience needed advice on that from me when people like Tom Ross existed.
This lead to a new stage of anxiety. I deleted all my (2) carousel posts. I wasn't getting any audience there anyway. Instagram was scaring me to the point that anything I would do anymore would be out of desperation. I needed to step back. Twitter was also a part of my journey during the same time but it had the opposite effect on me. I wasn't famous there either, oh no. I was using that platform solely to ask business related questions to the design coaches and the gracious people that they are...answered all the time. I wasn't posting my own tweets for a long time, but I was always tweeting to other people.
I started to make some really good connections, understood what kind of things interest people. What questions they ask in that platform? Do they get answers? What kind of posts are most valuable to me on twitter? Do I have content like that to speak about? My brain was on fire, in a good way.
I slowly started posting my own tweets, most of them valuable, some teasing conversations. There was always at least one person finding them useful and if I was able to help that person, my day was made.
Twitter still hasn't made me a star, but it never made me anxious either because I went in with zero expectations. I wasn't OVER-THINKING my posts. I wasn't overthinking before asking questions to my design heroes. I just told myself that its okay if this doesn't lead to any result, at least I got my message across. I just went on to interact with people and post about stuff completely based on instincts. That is what I needed to do with Instagram and even with this blog. I needed to stop editing what I do before actually doing it. So I did.
Last Saturday, I went on to post stories about stuff that I like in designs, podcasts I heard, a feed post on brand differentiation, all with no thoughts on repercussions or results. Turns out, the profile visits and interactions with people on Saturday was substantially higher than I ever had.
Also, one of the stories I posted was about Biz buds podcast which got the attention of Mike friggin Janda and he actually spoke to me. Do you know how big a deal he is? Look him up! He spoke. To. Me. Yeah!
So what does this long drag of a narrative tell you?
Think less about making it big on social media. No formula can help you do that overnight. Go there only to connect with people. Get to know people of different interests. Voice your thoughts, knowledge and learnings openly. You would realise that you are lot more satisfied with a bunch of people that you connected with than a number of likes from anonymous people.
Coz let me tell you a secret, all those who made it big were not relying on social media to do that for them.