Slow But Steady: Social Media Growth is Not Easy
January is my month for reflection and resolution. While I’m not necessarily one for resolutions, I am one for reflecting. Maybe it’s the same thing in some ways, but I tend to focus more on how I can adjust my routine to be better suited for myself than to completely overhaul something.
One of the things I have told myself every January for years now is that I want to be a better content creator and social media manager for myself. Let’s just say I have yet to follow through on this goal each year I’ve set it so far. I have spent so much of my time in the last decade creating for and managing others but have neglected myself in the process. That means when I do put a focus on myself, I often don’t know what to do or where to begin.
The key with any new project, of course, is to just try a little bit of everything and to stay consistent. That’s what I’ve done with nearly every brand I’ve worked on. Trial and error is your friend, but it can be a disheartening friend when you’re working on something for yourself. Comparison is the thief of joy, and social media makes it difficult not to look around and compare yourself to others.
Why is that person’s account growing faster?
What are they doing that I’m not?
Why am I struggling so much?
Those are the intrusive thoughts I’ve had several times in just the last week and a half. Since I made the decision to blog more and create more regular content for my own social accounts, I’ve found myself comparing constantly. It’s a tough cycle to break.
The reality is that nothing happens overnight. Sure, some people find immediate success but they still have to find consistency in what they do. That’s the reality of creative spaces. Actually, that’s the reality of most spaces. Any job or hobby requires consistency, right?
I keep reminding myself to take things slow but steady through this process. I’m posting more, which was the first goal I had for myself in 2022. I’m trying things from there. That means some things won’t hit like I expected them to (like this video I made of my Sunday evening routine, which absolutely tanked on TikTok but surprisingly did much better on Instagram Reels of all places). Others will see success. I’m also learning the difference in small details between what I do for myself versus the brands I work on.
For example, there is a TikTok trend right now where you only post seven seconds with text on top. It’s sort of a silly trend because it doesn’t actually cultivate community, but it does encourage more views because people can’t read the copy in seven seconds and they stick around longer to see what you had to say. I thought I’d try it just for kicks (but again, I knew it wasn’t a community building trend). I took a more serious approach for myself and a more lighthearted approach for Hail Varsity. No surprise here, but the Hail Varsity one has far outperformed mine. To be fair, Hail Varsity’s account has a significant following compared to my own so I have to factor that in. However, I kind of knew my approach for Hail Varsity would be more engaging. The video was fun, approachable and easy to interact with because I added a specific prompt in the copy. I didn’t do that for my own video. I still like the approach I took personally, but I can see how it might be something people scroll by.
I have to remind myself that went through growing pains with Hail Varsity too. When we first started using our TikTok account in fall of 2020, it wasn’t an overnight success. I was posting multiple times per day for months before it took off. People rolled their eyes at me in that time, often joking about Hail Varsity’s TikTok because it seemed silly and frivolous. With more than 55,000 followers (and growing!), it doesn’t seem so silly and frivolous to people anymore.
If anyone were to ask how Hail Varsity grew to what it is now, I would tell them just one thing: consistency. It was showing up every single day and providing content, no matter how it performed. I’d look for trends and try to work within them, or I’d post videos from my years of archived content that I thought Nebraska fans might like. I’ve stumbled a lot (and still do) but I’ve also learned a lot.
So, why can’t I take my own advice? As someone said to me when I brought this up recently, it’s that sometimes we are more able to see what’s unique in others before we can see what’s unique in ourselves. That hit me like a ton of bricks. I often look at what I’m doing on social media and think, “Why am I special?” And that’s a toxic way of thinking.
The reality is that not everyone is going to like me or the content I create. That’s completely OK. What I need to instead focus on is just creating for myself and staying consistent. By doing so, I’ll be better prepared to help others grow too. And I don’t need to necessarily change who I am (or get too specific in one niche) to grow. I believe your people will find you, so I guess I’m just out to prove that.
One day I might even turn all of this into something for others. I love to help others learn how to grow their social followings, which is why I’ve dedicated a decade of my life to it. I’d just like to prove I can do it for myself too.
Slow but steady.