Did you see it? I had a little viral moment on Instagram this week (well, viral for me)…and it was wild to watch as my notifications blew up!
Like most people on social media, I’ve been trying to grow my follower count. Not for vanity reasons, but to have a robust and engaged community. At times, that’s been easier than others. But mostly, I’ve felt frustrated, as I was doing all of the right things. I was creating great content, engaging with my audience, and trying to build community through engaging with other people’s content…and, crickets. Nothing is more frustrating as a content creator than spending hours filming a video, editing it, finding trending audio, writing content, and then hitting publish only to get a handful of likes. Armed with this information, I’ve gone back to the drawing board and looked at my content with a fresh perspective many times. Sometimes, a new direction would work for a while, I’d get a lot of engagement and new followers, and then it would flatline, or worse, a bunch of people would unfollow.
So, what’s changed recently? There’s no secret formula when it comes to growing on social media (as much as we would like there to be). Yes, engagement is key, as is creating value with each of your posts. But the most important thing on social media is to actually be social. Responding to comments and commenting more than just a sentence on other people’s content can help you be more relatable…and real. For me, the biggest game changer has been stepping back into barn life and sharing some behind-the-scenes clips of what that looks like. As I’ve learned, my story of taking a hiatus from riding is not unique, and there are many OG millennials getting back into the sport later in life, just as I am. Over the past few months, I’ve gained a great tribe of adult riders who can relate to my struggles (hello, soreness for days) and who share new-to-me products on their pages so I can learn what’s “in” again at the barn. Being back in the saddle has helped me show up more authentically on social media, as it is not only a passion but another facet of my life to share.
As for the Reel that had a viral moment, it was one of my favorites to create. And, despite the many video clips it took to make it, the horses were the real stars of the show. Months earlier, I had found an audio that I thought was hilarious, but I didn’t have the right video clips to execute it, so I saved it. When I started riding the horses I now spend my weekends with, I knew they would be perfect for this audio, as they are both very expressive in their own ways. I filmed a few clips of the horses that would match the audio, put the whole thing together in Instagram, wrote a clever caption, and added in a few equestrian-themed hashtags. I thought this Reel was going to be a huge success…but it didn’t do that well at first. Within 24 hours, I had around a thousand views. Weeks went by, and there were still only a few thousand views (and maybe a couple of hundred likes). Then, one morning, my notifications were off the charts. The Reel had climbed to 7k views and then 10k, 20k, and 30k, and as of the writing of this post, it’s still climbing (and there are now thousands of likes, comments, and shares of the video).
While I know this happens to big influencers and celebrities every day, I was so proud to see this Reel making the rounds and entertaining both equestrians and non-equestrians alike. Although seeing my follower count grow has been a bonus, the thing about social media that I love is how it connects me to other like-minded individuals who share similar passions.
So, if you’re feeling frustrated by your social media content (or follower count), don’t despair. We’ve all been there.
Here are a few easy tips:
- Spend some time thinking about what you post and engage with your audience to see if it’s relevant. You may need to tweak your delivery or come up with other more compelling things to post about.
- Think about your content in terms of buckets so your audience gets a better sense of your content schedule (and look at your analytics to see which posts performed well and at what times).
- If you need additional help, you can always work with me 1:1 through my social media coaching program with In Steil Creative, where we’ll look at your brand, come up with some writing prompts, and review your analytics so you have a better sense of where you are and where you’re going.
If you loved my equestrian Reel that went viral, please like and share it on your channels. That’s always the greatest gift you can give to a creator who puts so much time into their content. Also, fear not, the horses were generously compensated for all time spent on camera!