I’d like to think that the majority of people with an Instagram account know about the Followers App. And if you’re hearing about it for the first time, in a nutshell, what the Followers App does is track your new followers; people you follow that follow you back or don’t follow you back; people who unfollowed you; and accounts that have blocked you (for an additional fee) including other services.
Originally, I thought it’d be fun to use the application to track my engagement and mostly to keep tabs on accounts who like to follow to then unfollow later, and fake accounts. That way it’d be easier to keep my following + follower number clean and authentic. And it helped with that, for sure. However, I started to become a little too attached to wanting to know who unfollowed every time I’d notice a decrease in followers. When someone would unfollow me, the most ridiculous thoughts and questions would cross my mind as if I’ve just been assigned a case on Law & Order:
Is it someone I know? If yes, why did they unfollow?
Did I post something that upset them? Was my caption too cheesy/immature/too real/too mature/too long/boooring?
Do I follow them? If yes, do I want to continue to follow them? Am I following them because their work/feed inspires me? Is it also time to let go?
Oh, I don’t follow them, is that the reason why they unfollowed? Darn, I totally forgot to follow them back. I should have let them know I dig their feed sooner. But really… Did I post something that upset them? Was my caption too cheesy/immature/too real/too mature/too long/boooring? Like what… what is it?
Are you mentally exhausted just from reading this? Imagine opening the app a few times a day and having the same passing thoughts over and over and over. Or maybe you can relate because it’s happening to you too.
I hadn’t realized this whole “wanting to know all the things about my engagement” subtly became about me questioning the authenticity of my voice, my experiences, my work, and my brand, while seeking self-validation in all the wrong places.
Going into the Followers App disrupted my creative flow, which is certainly not how I wanted to spend my energy and time. So I deleted it and I survived and continue to with each passing un-follow.
Following and un-following are a part of the IG culture as Instagram is subjective + creative — designed to primarily inspire, connect, story-tell, sell and consume in a visual format.
Continuously ensuring that the information you’re absorbing on a daily is something that excites you is essential. It’s nearly impossible to inspire and BE inspired by EVERYONE. Therefore there is no point in taking it personally or to be offended by the decision of others to not follow/engage with your feed. You’re not for them and that’s okay. They may still be for you, therefore, continuing to following them is okay too — until you decide you too must let go because their feed is no longer for you.
I wanted to keep nurturing a beautiful + positive relationship with Instagram. It’s already challenging enough to keep up with content creation + posting frequency + engaging with the community and the forever changing algorithm — never mind adding the pressure to please every follower.
The comparison game on Instagram can be hella strong, so deleting the app was my way to self-preserve and protect my mental health and my authenticity. Rather than focusing on the numbers, I decided to stick to what makes my brand and story unique and stay committed to that, and concentrate on the value I offer and the purpose behind my posts and captions while monitoring the analytics from Instagram business and Iconosquare.
If you have a business/blog and are looking to examine your engagement tracking more in-depth, Iconosquare might be what you’re looking for. The features and metrics provide tons of valuable insights, and the application is detailed and interactive, making it easy and friendly to navigate.
When it comes to your brand, it’s important to distinguish between posting because you feel that you have to and posting because you know your why. Stay true to who you are and what your brand represents at all time. That’s how authenticity is built and you want people to follow you for all the right reasons.
Recently, I was conversing via DMs with someone I follow who is a high-profile photographer based in Ivory Coast (we have been following each other for a few years now). We were messaging back and forth about motherhood, family, freelancing and social media. Our conversation veered towards our values, perceptions and how much personal information we were willing to disclose on Instagram. I told her how much her success inspired me — to that she replied and I am translating:
“Thank you. You inspire me as well. I find that you are very beautiful, stylish, and refined. But at the same time, there is a simplicity about you that touches people. We feel that you are someone who is real. Close to her roots and her family. We can see it through your photos.”
Ah! She pretty much summed up my brand in a nutshell and I will continue to nurture it in a way that feels organic and aligned with the person that I am becoming, my work and values, regardless of the number of clicks and likes.
How about you dear reader -- how do you protect and preserve yourself and your brand in this digital age? Tell us in the comments! We want to know!