Even If You Become an Influencer, Most People Still Won’t Know You

And that’s a good thing

Photo by Sandrachile on Unsplash

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

―Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

HypeAuditor defines a nanoinfluencer as an Instagram user with 1,000 to 5,000 subscribers. Conversely, if you’re in the 5,000 to 20,000 range, you’re a microinfluencer. If you’re wondering how many followers make you an Instagram influencer, the number might be lower than you were expecting.

I recently crossed the threshold of 10,000 Instagram followers. In one sense, woo-hoo! Tiny victory.

So technically … does that make an influencer? Do I get to buy one of those ridiculous boardwalk T-shirts that have the word “INFLUENCER” printed in bold and all caps?

In another sense, it’s an arbitrary number with no real meaning in the grand scheme of things.

Regardless, I’m a writer, and I need readers, so it’s pretty cool to think there are so many people periodically reading my poetry.

What does it actually mean to be an influencer? We throw this word around a lot nowadays, but it’s a very loose term.

On top of that, different groups will define influencers differently. The startup I briefly worked at defined anyone with over 10,000 followers as an influencer.

Do You Share Your Work With the People You Know in Real Life?

Or is your social media your best-kept secret?

Either way, your friends still probably won’t know who you are unless you grab them by the ear and tell them.

I know plenty of writers who use pseudonyms. Many do it to shield their identity from friends, coworkers, and family so that they can be as honest as they please with their writing.

I did that for years, so I know where they’re coming from. If you keep your social media separate from the people you know offline, that’s perfectly fine.

It might be that you don’t want to risk offending anyone or that you would just prefer not to have your great aunt know about the inner mechanisms of your mind. Or if you’re a fashion or travel influencer, maybe grandma just doesn’t need to see that many pictures of you with your hair flowing beautifully.

Whatever the reason, it’s completely understandable.

However, there can be a certain freedom to using your real name. We all have different circumstances, and there’s no one right way to do things, but if you can use your real name, it feels nice. For me, as a writer developing my social media presence to someday drum up book sales, I feel like I’m owning my identity.

Even If You’re Totally Out Here, People Still Might Not Recognize You

I had the funniest conversation with one of my real-life friends recently. I followed her on Instagram months ago, but since I’m a writer, I don’t post too many photos of myself on my Instagram account. I do a few here and there to remind people who’s behind the poetry, but for the most part, I want my account to be focused on my words, not my face or how I look.

After a few months of being mutuals, she messaged me in surprise saying that she didn’t realize that I was me. She said she loved my work, a compliment I sincerely appreciate, but I couldn’t help but feel a little embarrassed.

While I don’t actively try to hide my Instagram presence from real-life friends, I also don’t flaunt it. I don’t talk about it much. I’m not embarrassed about my writing, but I am a little embarrassed about coming off as “obsessed with Instagram.”

However, I see Instagram as an advertising tool and a way to connect with the poetry community. I do want to promote my work, but I also want to make meaningful connections with other writers.

If you’re in the same boat and have good motivations, it’s easy to feel a little disappointed or exasperated when people think you’re just after this modern-day internet version of pseudo-stardom.

After all, the reality is that using social media professionally is hard work.

Reaching a Certain Follower Threshold Doesn’t Automatically Change Your Life or Business

It also might not drastically change your engagement.

Frankly, while 10,000 followers can seem like an exciting number to hit, it’s not that dramatically different from having 9,000.

Nothing magically changes overnight. No one sends you a silly boardwalk influencer T-shirt when you cross a certain number.

Growth is a slow process and it largely comes down to posting good content regularly. If you post good content and interact with the community, you will grow.

It takes time, but if you can achieve slow and steady growth, you’re well on your way. When I first started out trying to market myself as a writer on Instagram, I was lucky if I could pull twenty likes in on a poem. Now, if I post twice a day and keep a consistent pace, I’ll typically average 100 to 150, with some posts doing particularly well and going over 200.

While you never want to abandon quality for simple quantity, having a consistent posting schedule really does go a long way. Engagement also means a lot; this particular post pulled in over 270 likes and a nice handful of comments as well. Taking the time to respond to comments thoughtfully and quickly can really help your posts rank higher on tags and ultimately get more attention.

Growing your Instagram following to micro or nanoinfluencer status can be very grassroots at times. But that’s what people are looking for: authenticity.

If you keep growing your following, it’ll absolutely help your business, but it takes time.

While It May Feel Like an Uphill Climb, Keep Pushing and Keep Posting

It’s not easy to have true influence.

Own the fact that you’re using social media as a marketing tool.

For many of us, Instagram is essentially a marketing tool. We have a goal behind the contest we post.

People might make assumptions, people might misinterpret your reasons for doing it, but do your best to find intrinsic motivations for growing your following. There’s no shame in doing it.

Remind yourself of this if you start to feel embarrassed.

Through all this, while we don’t often talk about Dale Carnegie and “How to Win Friends and Influence People” when we’re talking about Instagram influencers, he makes a fair point.

Never underestimate the importance of connection and community as you grow your Instagram following.

Written by

Writer and poet from Neptune. Instructional designer in NYC. Grad student at @NYUTandon studying Integrated Digital Media.

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