Has your follower growth on Instagram plateaued? Has your engagement dropped? Maybe you haven’t made any big changes lately, and you’re confused as to why your account seems to be slowing down.
On the flip side, are you spending less time scrolling your Instagram feed? Everything sort of looks and feels like the same old thing and it’s getting a bit boring. All you find is another pretty dress or another beautiful sunset. You can’t help but feel that Instagram is over-saturated with influencers, bloggers, and brands all vying for attention and all doing the same things.
Now take a hard, honest look at your account. At a glance, does it look like you’re doing the same things everyone else it doing?
Why do some accounts continue to thrive while so many others pitter off to crickets? How do you stand out from the masses? The answer is your point of difference.
Why being authentic matters
The best way to stand out from the growing Instagram crowd is to show your followers your real, authentic self. You’re probably sick of seeing the word “authentic” yet again, but the advice is sound.
The aspirational content you share may grab attention and gain all the likes, but it’s showing your flawed self that will compel your followers to stay for the long term. Letting your audience get to know the real, imperfect you will turn them from passive followers into loyal fans.
The know, like, trust factor
When you take a recommendation from a friend, why do you do that? It’s because of the know, like, trust factor.
True influencers have this know, like, trust factor well established with their followers. It’s why they have real influence. Followers get to know influencers when they share the quirks of their personalities and stories of their vulnerable moments on social media. It creates a sense of connection which is how genuine feelings of affection can grow.
People can only truly like someone after they get to know that person a little and it’s the people we like that we tend to trust the most. The know, like, trust relationship is a journey built over time which is one of the reasons why social media has allowed some influencers to gain real influence with so many people.
How to balance being authentic with being aspirational
Okay, so you need to be brave and share your imperfections with the Instagram world. But why do all the biggest influencers have the most beautiful feeds? Surely it’s about perfection?
Keep creating and sharing aspirational content. It’s what draws people towards you in the first place. But also show your audience the truth behind it all. The relationship between your aspirational photos and the not so pretty aspects of your life are all part of the same story.
Share your behind the scenes photos in your feed, as a carousel, or in your stories. Tell the real story about how hard it was to put that aspirational shot together in your captions or in a live video. These peeks behind the curtain demonstrate the connection between your real self and your aspirational moments. This part of the story is what makes your aspirational content feel more attainable to your followers.
If you’re a brand, share the behind the scenes of developing a product or the hard work that goes into putting on a event. Talk about the mission for your brand and show the people that drive it forward. Connections are formed between people, not faceless corporations.
The secret to connecting with your followers
Now that you know that showing your real, authentic self is the best way to demonstrate your point of difference, here’s the plot twist: our flaws are not so unique after all. In fact, our flaws are the major thing a lot of us have in common.
Think about the incredible popularity of Celeste Barber’s Instagram account @celestebarber. Her 5 million followers love her posts showing her funny attempts at re-creating aspirational, Insta-worthy photos. The aspirational photos are a distant dream for us while the Celeste photos are completely relatable. We laugh with her because we know we’d end up looking like her if we tried to do the same thing. Her relatability is what forges the connection with her followers. We see ourselves in her.
As a society, we celebrate what’s unique, but what truly connects us is what we have in common. It’s why we feel disconnected by those aspirational photos of beautiful bloggers travelling the world. They seems like a distant fantasy. We make friends with people who share personal stories of their challenges, disappointments or everyday wins because we can relate to them.
The bottom line
Your point of difference is your unique self because there’s no one else like you. When you share your honest, authentic self to your followers, you’re offering a way for your followers to connect with you by relating to what you have in common. They’ll get to know you, like you for being you, and over time, they’ll grow to trust you. That connection can’t be replicated by bots or created by follow/unfollow methods. Be you and your real community will follow.
Connie Chan is a photographer and photo tips blogger with over 15 years behind the lens. Proving that content is queen, her specialty is creating scroll-stopping flatlays for brands that their audience loves. Based in Sydney, Australia, you can learn more about Connie and her services at whatshepictures.com or follow her on Instagram @whatshepictures.