If you’ve been hanging out on Instagram and following me for any amount of time, you know that my feed isn’t just filled with marketing tips or sales pitches, it’s filled with long captions (sorry, not sorry) and a lot of heart. In my feed I tell stories of my marriage, my life, our travels, the hard crap, and I, of course, share my work. If you’ve ever attended an Instagram webinar of mine or listened to the episodes where I talk about my approach to social media, you’ll know that it’s so much more than just a marketing pitch for me: it’s about connection, real connection that can reach through phone screens and settle into the hearts of strangers.
“Jenna, How Did You Get Your followers?!”
So many people ask me how I grew my following, like I have a secret and the truth is: I don’t really believe that secrets exist. I grew my following because I became a master at creating connection online… the kind of connection that leads people to talk about me like I’m their best friend and the same kind of connection that leaves people telling their friends about me. That, my friends, is the secret to growth: serve the people that are showing up for you SO well that they come back and they bring friends.
It’s no surprise that I’m a big fan of analytics. I LOVE numbers, in fact, in episode 15 I shared that I was afraid to tell you how obsessive I can get with numbers. For me, in a creative world where very few things are concrete and measurable, numbers give me relief and so when I started to dig into my Instagram analytics, I wasn’t entirely shocked at the results, in fact, I smiled because 90% of my top performing posts had nothing to do with marketing or anything that I was selling, they had to do with something I’m passionate about and something I’m struggling with: body confidence.
How Do We *Really* Reach Our Audience?
Now, hear me out before you think I’m about to tell you to show up online in your underpants (because I’ll be honest, I know you probably won’t do that… although I have to tell ya, it’s not as scary as you might think.) Sometimes the things we are most insecure about, most scared to share… those are the things that will form the deepest connections.
So what does this teach us? It teaches us that we are all hungry for connection. Think of your favorite people to follow online: there’s a good chance that these people are showing up in a way that allows you to connect whether that’s your mutual love for home decor or the fact that you both can’t eat gluten, maybe it’s your love for seeing new outfits or the fact that they might look like you or have walked a similar road to you. It’s easy to sit back and watch other people put themselves out there and think that your message will be lost in a sea of others or that the world doesn’t need you: but I value your story, the world DOES need it, what if you could change ONE life with it? Would it be worth it?
Ways you can incorporate more connection in your posts:
- Not ready to show up in your underwear and tell the world you’re not content in your skin like me? Worry not: start with my JK 5 method. (This is detailed in the episode and is a game changer!)
- Passionate about something, find an organization or business that you can team up with to help share their mission with the world and connect your personal story to their cause! I’ve done this with Aerie and the partnership has been incredible and it’s also giving us both a place to share our mission and for a relationship that helps further the cause.
- Not everyone has to understand and love it. There will be critics, it might fall on deaf ears but if you can make a difference in even one person’s life, it will have been worth it. You don’t have to share it publicly, maybe you start with just writing your story down, but in time you will be able to shine a light on it, acknowledge it, and bring it out into the open in a way that gives you (and others) freedom in the hardship.
As entrepreneurs, we often try and turn our social media feed into one big marketing pitch: proving that we are experts, sharing our products and services daily, signing our own praises and sharing testimonials, but let me tell you something: every single human being out there is struggling and sometimes when we can share that struggle, it can make more of an impact in this world than any marketing pitch ever could.