Anyone else feeling like 2018 was just….weird? I mean really, what an exciting yet personally challenging year. I suppose that’s typical of most, but in the realm of social media especially, it’s been a bit… well, weird? And maybe that doesn’t apply to you, spill your secrets!
The great news is I have personally had the best year of my Love and Loathing LA career. WOO! But really, my mind is blown recounting all of the amazing opportunities and dream partnerships I was able to take part in within a single year. (The rise and the value of micro-influencers are real people!) So, on the one hand, I am insanely proud of that aspect of growth Love & Loathing LA has experienced; my belief in my content and the hard work I continue to put into every single aspect of my brand still remains. But. On the other hand, the truth of the matter is that the landscape of social media is changing, and things I used to feel like I had a grasp on became more difficult to navigate in this “post algorithm” age.
For so long many of us have placed all, or most, of our value on numbers – the number of followers, engagement, comments, blog views, etc. This year especially it has been a complete and total ridiculous obsession of mine to try to understand these changes within the digital space, or as what I like to call, “the wild wild west”. I could smack myself thinking about all of the countless conversations I had with people, podcasts I listened to, YouTube videos I watched, and conferences I attended trying to get a grasp on what to do or how to react.
In diving so deep trying to find the magic answer, which surprise, I never did find, I did discover a lot of truths. A lot of things that help me understand the issues at hand, and how to manage them in a way that felt constructive rather than destructive. I know SO many creatives who have felt the struggle over the past year, and while we all equate success and struggle differently it’s worth talking to each other, and finding camaraderie in shared experience – and knowing there are very simple things we can all do to evolve.
So on that note, in the spirit of 2018 coming to a close and a new year upon us, let’s do a little reflecting and gain some positive perspective, shall we?
Create Before You Consume.
I have religiously listened to Julie Soloman’s ‘Influencer Podcast’ over the last year and have loved hearing her unique perspective on the biz and all of her encouraging words. One of the things she said in an episode that really struck a chord with me was her suggestion to “create before you consume”, meaning, prioritize your content and creative before you waste time worrying about others.
When I wake up the first thing I do is check Instagram and subsequently “fall straight down the rabbit hole”. For whatever reason this year Instagram began to make me feel less and less adequate, but the fact of the matter is that was somewhat in part to my own doing! There are ways to make the platform the happy place you’ve always imagined it to be, and one of those tips really is to focus more on creating your own content and putting that out into the world, and less on what everyone else is doing. It’s one thing to be supportive of your community, it’s another to waste time and allow the platform to consume you. If this speaks to you, it’s worth considering trying to switch up your routine a little. Be mindful of how much you’re creating vs consuming and make sure the bulk of your time is spent on YOU and YOUR creative vision, and voice/brand.
If At First You Don’t Succeed… Don’t Be Afraid To Try New Things.
Seems obvious right? But I think we forget that we can and should try to step out of the grid – Instagram’s version of the proverbial “box”. I listen to the founder of FOHR James Nord’s YouTube series “A Drink With James” every single week, and each week he answers questions from folks like you and me, usually on the topic of Instagram. The one thing he hammers into almost every episode is to experiment. If something isn’t working anymore, take a step back and see what insight you might gain [from ] doing some things differently. Try posting at a different time of day for a week, then another time the following week, and so on and see what happens. Try a lengthy caption. Try a new narrative. Do an Instagram live. Commit to a certain amount of stories a day – or a new endeavor altogether. Get your email newsletter going, start that YouTube channel, or the blog, etc. If it’s not working there’s usually a reason why. In my case, I have been doing this 5+ years and I have come to the understanding that social media is ever evolving, and what worked last year or even last week might not work anymore. It’s not to say I encourage you to lose yourself and start over, that’s the last thing I personally plan on doing, but there is something to be said about being brave enough to try. Give anything you “try” a fair chance to give you an idea of it’s successful or not though, you won’t know in one single post. Give it proper time.
You’re Probably Over Thinking It.
Those of us feeling like we’re stuck, or frantic over what to do, worried about how to get our audience back, or how to reach those coveted followers are likely in this position somewhat in part to simply over thinking it. You can poll your audiences on what type of content they’d like to see (which I do not recommend), you can obsess over the perfect image or the perfect caption, you can completely lose yourself over what you THINK people want to see vs the reality. Which is why people follow you for your unique perspective to begin with. How about going back to your roots and sharing the things that made you YOU? Choosing to create the content for yourself and being happy and grateful to anyone who chooses to come along the ride with you, instead of doing things in hopes of maximizing your viewership or follows. If there’s one thing I feel like I learn over and over again its that people are pretty intuitive. They can smell bullsh*t from a mile away. Think about why you don’t engage with certain posts. The ones that usually get us excited are the ones that feel real and personal. I know, how much more do we have to hear about authenticity, but there’s a reason it seems to be the common thread amongst leading influencers. Stay true to your purpose.
Focus On Who and What You Already Have, Not On What You Don’t.
I made this point in my last post that was more geared towards blogging, but it’s the most important and impactful point you should remind yourself of. No matter how big or small your following is, a specific number won’t necessarily make you successful or a failure. If you’re focusing all of your efforts on gaining new followers you lose focus on the most important ones: the ones that are already there! It’s so easy to get caught up in the number game, and it’s completely understandable to want that number to go up vs down. But instead of obsessing over chasing the new followers, paying attention and being grateful to the people who are already there for you will be a whole lot more fulfilling and beneficial in the long run. Keep making the content for you, but don’t forget to appreciate your loyal tribe.
You Are Not Alone, & Success Is Arbitrary. Just Keep Swimming.
I think the one thing that has really made the biggest impact on my personal growth this year was understanding I was not alone in my thoughts and experiences. The community of creators expressing their struggles, being vulnerable, and being real with their friends/audiences has been just downright inspiring – heck it’s what inspired me to write this post! I’ve been honest about struggling with the comparison game but simply being more aware of that this year has truly helped shift my perspective. Success is defined differently by each individual, but what has helped me focus my energy a bit more on bringing about more positivity into my life has been appreciating my daily successes or awesome happenstances – no matter how small, or insignificant. There are always going to be people with more followers than you, who make more money than you, etc. But if you’re working hard, daring to try new things, and are grateful for what you have – you’re exactly where you need to be. Just keep going – and enjoy the journey.
Thoughts comments concerns? Let’s keep this conversation going in the comments!