I woke up today and did what I do every morning. Grabbing my iPhone I checked emails, checked the weather, saw how long I slept via FitBit, and looked at Instagram. I knew I was getting close to hitting a milestone in Instagram, reaching 10K followers. It’s been a bit like watching a kettle get hot but I figured it would happen this month sometime. Having an Instagram account with 10K followers was something that seemed unattainable a year and a half ago, even foolish.
But today it happened! Lucy, my social media manager, texted me a screenshot of our account at 8 a.m. Wow! What a journey it’s been. She deserves a lot of credit for having patience with me and countering my naysaying with evidence that made me take notice.
First came curiosity and then came resistance
Here’s how it started. I went to a class in Sonoma on social media taught by a young woman in her twenties, Lucy Petricka. She offered a free consultation to people who had taken the class and I thought, What the heck.
I already had some strong views about one of the platforms she talked about in her class: Instagram. My impression was that Instagram was for the 20-year-olds and I couldn’t possibly imagine wanting to participate. I know my audience; I figured she’d agree.
She arrived having reviewed my social media activity and said, emphatically, “You should be on Instagram.”
Of course, I thought! Ask me to do the one thing I absolutely do not want to do! We’ll see how that works out. I didn’t say those things out loud but they were loud and clear inside my head!
My actual response? “Eeuw! I don’t want to add any more social media. I’m already overwhelmed. Besides, who could possibly be interested in seeing pictures of women my age?”
She took her phone out and started showing me Instagram feeds of women around my age. The numbers couldn’t lie. They had thousands of followers! She showed me Style at a Certain Age
and Accidental Icon. I couldn’t believe it.
She continued, “Your industry is very visual. This is your way of demonstrating what image consultants do. Besides, you already have a fan base from your books. Your readers would love to engage with you.”
But on Instagram, I thought?
“I’ll think about it.”
It still seemed daunting. A whole new social media platform to keep up with? Imagine walking through thick, wet, heavy mud in a rainstorm. That was me as I thought about her proposition. I couldn’t say yes but I didn’t say no. I did some research on my own to see if those two people she’d showed me, Lynn and Beth, were just a fluke. I soon found more people around my age, like:
@journeyofastylist from Belgium
@thestylishwoman from Melbourne
@glamupyourlifestyle from Germany
@theladyofstyle from Germany
@notlamb from the UK
I LOVED their feeds. They were engaging and inspirational. Maybe I could do this.
Getting over myself
Lucy told me, “Instagram is easy! You get dressed every day. Just get someone to take a picture of your outfit. Send me that picture and I’ll do the rest.”
Pictures of me? This was such an affront to my upbringing. I could hear my mother’s Midwestern voice saying, “Don’t bring attention to yourself. You’ll look conceited.” Putting pictures of myself on the internet five days a week had CONCEITED written all over it.
I went to another conference around that time and it was about publishing books. I’ve had five books published. The publishing business has changed so much since then. Now editors want to see that you already have a following before they’ll take a chance on you. There was a panel of publishers in one portion of the workshop. Audience members wanted to know more specifics about the numbers they were talking about but none of them would say. I did a little research and heard other points of view on this. Basically, 10K followers seemed like an entry level for editors to take notice. So I got that number in my head.
I finally decided to give it a try. Lucy was coaching me every step of the way. She was my cheerleader offering encouragement, examples, tips for taking pics, and more reasons why this was a good idea for me and other image consultants. She endured a LOT of whining, endless whining and waffling. But she was steadfast. Her buoyant energy smothered my resistance. Together we tracked our monthly progress. She managed my expectations. She assured me that this wasn’t going to happen overnight. It would take time.
(Patience? Another one of my not-strong suits!)
I still don’t know if I’ll write a book again but what’s been really cool about Instagram is that I have another way for people to read my blogs which are sort of pretend chapters of a possible book. I’ve been pretty consistent about writing two blog posts a week. I write about all the things we do as image consultants and I tell some family stories as well. Links to those blog posts get mentioned in my Instagram postings thanks to Lucy and that’s led to more readers to my blog. One thing feeds the other.
And the biggest surprise of all? I have to say that Instagram has become my very favorite social media platform. I LOVE the ladies I’m getting to “know” from all over the world. I’m already thinking about the Instagram folks from the Washington, DC area that I’d love to get together with when I head east. I’ve been wanting to go to Germany. If I do, I know exactly who I want to sit down and have coffee with.
It’s funny. I think about it now and if Mother was alive, she’d probably have found a way to follow my posts. She’d have been proud of me. How fun it would have been to call her tonight and say, “Mom!!! I reached 10K followers!” She’d have said, “Atta girl, Babe.”
Now when I see Instagram folks who have 201 followers, I remember. I often find people I enjoy that have a flair for fashion and style and I’ll press follow and become follower number 202.
I’m an encourager now. Go out and try Instagram! Get help if you need it. You don’t have to do everything in your business by yourself.
And now I’m going to have a glass of champagne and enjoy this milestone!
If you want to know more about Lucy’s services, you can contact her here at The Blush Co.