Careful Your Measuring Stick

Updated: Jun 3, 2018

Confession time: since starting Carrie Wright Silk in January, I have sometimes struggled to maintain as a primary focus my love of silk painting and have allowed unproductive business-building thoughts to reign supreme. I get sidetracked into discouragement while checking my analytics- Instagram followers, website data, Facebook comments, Etsy traffic- and this week that distraction led to Google searching "how to increase your Instagram followers."

I've known for quite a long while now that social media has a dark underbelly of sneaky social/cultural consequences, but everything I have researched about doing business today suggests that using social media as a marketing tool is an absolute must. And so these thoughts of what I might be ignorant about doing to organically increase traffic to my website, and thereby hopefully increase sales, drove me deeper into the unprofitable thoughts abyss.

A quick Google search yielded a Forbes Magazine article titled, "50 Free Ways to Increase Your Instagram Followers" by Jayson DeMers. Let me save you the clicking effort and quote the first paragraph to you:

"If you’re just starting out on Instagram, posting photos can be pretty depressing. When all your excitement and hard work are met by nothing more than [a] few likes from a handful of followers, it’s easy to get discouraged, even if you know the benefits of social media marketing, which are waiting if you can find success with your initiative."

"When all your excitement and hard work are met by nothing more than (a) few likes..." Let that sink in for a second. That statement struck me. Hard. Do I now believe that the value of all of my excitement and hard work is in direct proportion to how many strangers applaud?!

Reading further into the article, you will learn 50 different ways to manipulate people's behavior, my detestable favorite being #2: "Like hundreds of random pictures from people in your target audience. Neil Patel has used this strategy and found that for every 100 likes he did of random pictures, he received 6.1 more followers." Ew. Ick. Yuck. Just for the record, if I click like and follow, I expect nothing in return and have no agenda other than saying, "I genuinely like what you posted and want to see more." Please don't follow me back unless you feel the same!

When did I/we decide that likes and followers are the measuring stick of success? Or stated from a different angle, "How do I define success?" If you've read my other posts, you know how I answer that question. What a wake up call! Thanks Forbes, I needed the reminder of what I truly value!

It was steadfastly back to the basics for me after this little jaunt through the mire, and I think I've done some of my best work yet this week as a result. I love painting, whether a following shows up to applaud or not. I hope you love what you're making or pursuing or walking through in your own life, joyful and sorrowful too. This week's apparently much needed review lesson for me: beware your standards of measure, Carrie.


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