Instagram Ain’t Nothin’ but a Number
A few months ago I hit my personal Instagram goal of having 10,000 followers at @Sharayray. 10K — the first important number in terms of having an Instagram “following”. I celebrated with a dance party with my toddler and my kitty in our kitchen. Two of us had a great time dancing to “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake (I’ll let you take one guess who did NOT enjoy the dance party).
Bad Puns and 90’s Music is my Jam.
The title of this blog post, “Instagram Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number” is a bad pun off of the song “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number” from 90’s R&B singer, Aaliyah. I was a huge fan in middle school, and I remember seeing her wearing her boxers above the waist of her pants and thinking it was the coolest thing ever. I knew my seventh grade self wouldn’t be able to get away with that style though. Oh well.
While the song really was about her dating R.Kelly, or something like that, it is a song that has stuck with me since the beginning of social media as I talked to people who had only one objective for social media marketing - they wanted to grow the number of their followers.
Many people who work in digital marketing have bosses that just look at following numbers and think that social media is, or isn’t, working based on how many people like their Facebook page. No matter how many times it has been blogged about how it shouldn’t be a numbers game (details below), people who don’t REALLY know social media don’t seem to “get it.” They see this large number and think that means that everyone who likes their page sees their content.
Anyone who has kept up with the news knows this simply isn’t true anymore. Organic reach on social media is a marketing strategy of the past. Now with a few changes to Instagram in the past few years, there is one number that actually DOES matter, at least for Instagram.
Why Having 10,000 Fans on Instagram Matters
One of the biggest complaints I hear from social media marketers using Instagram was that they were not sure how to monetize the platform for their business. They were not sure WHAT to post, or why it mattered. Before you really couldn’t have anyone click a link over to a blog post or page on a website (other than saying “Click the link in my bio for more information”). Last year the team at Instagram changed that by adding a link for business pages in Instagram Stories.
When Instagram released this feature it was initially just for those who were verified. Later they released the option to business pages that have over 10,000 fans. Well, I’m happy to say that I am now part of that group. As a provider for various online publications, including my own blog - I am beyond excited to be able to share my content with my Instagram audience.
Instead of posting on my feed saying check out the link in my bio, I can just say swipe up for more articles, or Gifts for Social Media Marketers, or the one on the Best Spots in Sonoma County for Bottomless Mimosas (have I mentioned I LOVE what I do for a living)!
Instagram stories are now used by over 300M people so it is a great place to showcase behind the scenes content, share stories, and provide valuable content like blog posts with an easy call to action for users to SWIPE UP TO READ.
So, yeah.. Having 10K followers on Instagram is an important number of brands, businesses, and bloggers so they can share content that actually gets clicks.
Why Having a Big Following on Instagram Doesn’t Matter
All the other numbers really are just about a popularity contest. I can definitely tell you that a lot of those numbers are inflated. It’s the engagement that truly matters. Not the numbers at the top of your page. Gary V has said it over and over and OVER again… your social media follower count is irrelevant - https://www.garyvaynerchuk.com/numbers-dont-matter-influence-does/
I focus on comments and truly connecting with fans/friends/followers. That is the number that matters, vs a simple popularity contest, or a number that looks good to your boss.
One other thing to note. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc - these are all borrowed communities. These numbers are not your own. We have watched Facebook pages get less and less of an organic reach over the past several years - now culminating in Facebook Pages getting no real reach unless they create content that encourages engagement, or is boosted. This isn’t new.
Any social media marketer who is afraid of losing their job, because the numbers are not there like they used to be should stay focused on engagement. Engage with people on your posts, and head to their page and connect with them there. Don’t ignore the people who are connecting with you JUST to get new followers.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you have 1,000 or 50,000 if 49K are not really engaged.