Three years after I started my business I had amounted 66,000 followers on Instagram and around 71,000 on TikTok. I had always believed that growing my follower count would be the key to success in my business but the truth is, it isn’t. Followers do not guarantee sales.
When I started my business Instagram page my goal was to reach 10K. At the time, growing your account was hard. Reels weren’t a thing yet and it wasn’t as common as it is now to share posts from other accounts to your story - so getting new eyes on your page wasn’t an easy task. 10K was coveted to me. Only accounts with a following of 10K or more could access the Swipe Up feature and it felt like an elite club that only the most successful people could be a part of. Then one day I hit 10K and not much changed. As my account grew I did begin to receive more orders but it was never a 1 to 1 ratio of new follower = new sale like I had thought it would be.
Instead, the growth in my sales was a result of the community I had built with my customers. I wasn’t getting an influx of orders from my new followers, it was returning loyal customers who purchased items with each new launch. This is why creating a community & relationship with your customers matters because you can have a million followers and still struggle with sales. If you take the time to build and curate a community for your ideal customers the sales will come in. Your customers will want to support you for you and it will having nothing to do with your follower count.
I lost my original instagram account and now have roughly 13% of the followers but my sales haven’t changed because I lost followers not the community I had built. Most of my followers on that account never even saw or engaged with my content so while it looked like I had roughly 66,000 people supporting my business that number really only represented my follower count and nothing else. Was I getting 60,000 interactions on my website? Not even close. Was I getting 60,000 engagement interactions on all the content I posted? Definitely not. So when you start to play that comparison game in your head just know my business wasn’t as big and successful as my follower count might have made it seem and that’s probably true for most of the people you follow too.
So yeah it’s nice having a big number sitting at the top of your profile and I would be lying if I said it didn’t make me feel more legit having that “K” added to my follower count but my follower count isn’t what made me successful. Did it help? Absolutely. People are more inclined to take you seriously when you have a large following but again, a follow doesn’t equal a sale. Did I get more sales as my follower count grew? Yes. But only a fraction of my new followers were actually placing orders.
With my new account I have started prioritizing serving my community over building a platform. I didn’t start my business to gain thousands of followers, I started my business to share my designs and passions with likeminded people. I didn’t start drawing again to go viral, I do it because I love having a creative outlet. This shift in perspective has taken off so much of the pressure to post viral content and instead I’m making content that feels right for me and serves my little community better than when I was trying to please the masses.
I wanted to share this as I’m sure there are many other business owners like me that thought gaining a large following would guarantee success and lots of sales but like most everything on social media - it’s not as perfect or as easy as it seems. Yes, growing your platforms can make you a lot of money and give you some really cool opportunities but gaining followers shouldn’t be your only goal. If you’re struggling to grow your account don’t get discouraged. Start focusing on ways you can serve your current customers and stay true to you, your ideal customers will find you!