What Happened When I Stopped Caring About Instagram Followers

What happened when I stopped caring about Instagram Followers? Read about my experience with directing my focus more towards serving my customers, rather than my Instagram page; how caring less about Instagram followers brought more success to how I run my business.

In the beginning stages of a fitness and wellness blog I used to run, it was all about the Instagram numbers. Every day I would check how many followers I lost or gained, and it honestly made me feel a little crazy! 

Obsessing over the numbers drew my focus away from readers and to an arbitrary number; after a while, I realized that numbers don’t dictate either success and the quality of relationships...but the actual RELATIONSHIPS do!

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Why It's Normal to Focus on Instagram Followers

It's natural to use the number of Instagram followers as a measure of success. Instagram followers are easy to see and monitor, and it can be exciting to see that number go up. As small business owners, we thrive on data to illustrate the quality of our performance.

Having more Instagram followers can be eye-catching to a potential customer, and it can allow for more opportunities, e.g. the "swipe up" feature in Instagram Stories. However, your value as a small business owner doesn't rise and fall with the number of followers you have. Instagram followers are "just a number"; by shifting your focus AWAY from the number, you can prioritize the relationships you have with current customers.

What Happened When I Stopped Caring About Instagram Followers

Once I stopped paying attention to the number of followers I had, I was able to focus more on how to better serve the people I’m already reaching. Every week I try to bring content that delivers a variety of things: value to my target customers, fun posts that show more of my personality and ways for people to get to know me, and of course some good old puppy photos and videos...

Caring less about the followers meant decreased stress and higher confidence about the value I’m offering. It allowed me to REALLY connect with my community and take online relationships out into the real world.

Currently, my goals go beyond trying to get more followers. Does it hurt to have a relatively "high" number of followers? Of course not. Having more followers is just ONE way of measuring how many people you’re reaching, and more followers can potentially give you more exposure.

However, having more followers doesn’t necessarily mean greater success for your business. Rather than focusing on just the numbers, figure out how to serve the people that are already there - the people in your community that you're building relationships with!

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How to Focus on Relationships, Rather Than Numbers  

Connect Face-to-Face

As a small business owner, if you can focus on the trust you build with customers, you'll see results. Rather than setting a goal of simply getting Instagram followers, what if you made it a point to connect face-to-face with as many people in your community as you can?

Whether it's at networking events, presentations and workshops, or getting to know people over a cup of coffee, connecting face-to-face is one of the best ways to gain customers. Meeting your audience in-person (or at least through video-conferencing, if you run an online business) allows you to start building trust and relationships--and that's way more valuable than just the number of followers your have!

How Can You Better Serve Your Existing Followers?

On an episode of Jenna Kutcher's podcast, she gave a brilliant analogy for trying to get new followers, without better serving your existing ones. Imagine that you're hosting a fun dinner party for your friends...

While everyone's seated at the table, before dinner's about to begin, you stop and say, "Hold on! I know dinner's about to start, but let me just go out into the neighborhood and see if I can get more people to join us." The dinner guests who've dedicated their time and evening to you are left hanging, while you could've easily focused on making their dining experience superb!

If you think about how you can better serve your existing people, you might decide that at that dinner party, you wouldn't actually leave them to find additional guests. You would instead put 100% of your effort into creating the best dining experience possible. Let's swap out this dinner party scenario for your Instagram presence!

If all you're doing, day-in and day-out, is trying to get that vague "number of followers" to go up, you're missing out on business and gaining loyal customers. Shifting the focus towards the people you already have is an effective way to build trust, offer value, and strengthen existing relationships.

Remember That the Number Doesn't Equate to Worth

This last tip requires a little practice and mindfulness. It's natural to attach the value of our business to the number of followers we have -- if you've been there, know that you're not alone! But the Instagram followers you have doesn't dictate your worth...as a person or small business owner.

This isn't to say that you shouldn't ever look at the number. The true challenge is in acknowledging the number and then moving past it. Know that as long as your serve your existing followers to the best of your ability, you'll continue to grow and gain loyal customers!

I challenge you to start thinking about how you can better serve the people who’ve ALREADY shown interest in you and your business. Celebrating wins like getting to 100, 1,000, or 10K followers is great--it can definitely be celebrated--but remember to focus on why you’re actually on Instagram!