I think it’s almost impossible to log on to Pinterest these days and not get sucked into the rabbit hole of posts like, “How I grew my IG to 10k followers in 5 months” or “How I get 100k visitors to my blog each month.” If you are using your blog for business instead of a hobby, your numbers are important. Your analytics can not be ignored. In order to run a profitable, sustainable business, you have to understand where your audience is coming from and how to find them. But you can’t get sucked into the numbers game. It’s a tricky balance for sure, but it is one of the challenges we must face and conquer as business owners.
After God blessed us with the vision for Humble and Whole, we spent a lot of time planning and preparing for launch. We daydreamed how Humble and Whole would exceed the incredible numbers we achieved with our first blog. We were more than ready to put into practice the strategies we learned from our first blog to launch Humble and Whole with a bang.
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Practicing jealousy instead of gratitude
Our instagram has been live since June, and at the moment I’m writing this, we have under 500 followers (although we’re close!). Some people who are obsessively analytical would not find a reason to celebrate over 400 followers. It blows my mind to have such a following on an account that didn’t even exist four months ago.
I can celebrate this testament of God’s goodness now, but I haven’t always been so thankful. I used to read those enticing headlines on Pinterest about achieving massive success on social media and wonder why I didn’t have that blessing.
I would watch in envy as accounts younger than Humble and Whole soared with followers. I didn’t understand why things were moving so slowly. I was constantly checking our analytics, brainstorming new hashtags, being more social, and following more people. This wasn’t the way I was expecting Humble and Whole to progress. Things were supposed to be different. I thought I surrendered my jealousy to God each time I prayed for the success of the very people I envied. But at the conclusion of each prayer, I picked up jealousy instead of leaving it at my Father’s feet.
Looking beyond the surface
Then, He revealed something important to me. He prompted me to take a closer look at some of the accounts I envied. I soon discovered just how deceptive the numbers were. Some of the accounts were growing like wildfire (think 5k followers) but their content would only have 30 likes and 1 comment.
From the beginning of Humble and Whole’s launch on instagram, we had genuine engagement. Sure we had our share of those generic, automated comments, but we were always surprised at how we attracted real, genuine interest on our account. The Lord reminded me that He had answered my prayers already. I prayed at the start that He would send the right people to Humble and Whole. I prayed that He would allow people to find us who needed to read the words we were sharing. He was faithful.
Growing organically vs quickly
Humble and Whole isn’t growing fast, but it is growing organically, which is better. Growing organically is when the roots of your mission are stretching deep. On the surface, compared to aggressive marketing that yields inflated growth, there is nothing glamorous about organic growth. Establishing the roots takes work, faith, and patience. Roots won’t develop overnight, and you surely wouldn’t trust them if they did. Whenever a foundation is being established, it takes patience. Would you trust a custom-built home that only took one day to build? It seems undesirable when stated that way, but the truth is that many bloggers and business owners are falling into the trap of obsessing over their numbers instead of stretching their roots deeper into their mission.
Can I let you in on a secret? It’s not entirely difficult anymore to build a large following on your blog or social media accounts. Not only can you pay for traffic and followers, but there are endless strategies to boost your traffic. This is why you can spot those accounts with thousands of followers and little to no engagement.
What’s the harm in wanting to quickly grow a following?
Like I mentioned earlier, as a business owner, it’s not feasible to completely ignore your numbers. There is nothing wrong with wanting to share your passion with as many people as possible. The problem occurs when you become overwhelmed and obsessed with your following. This is when you start shifting the wheel out of God’s loving hands and try to take control on your own. It’s hard to be overwhelmed when you trust and believe your Father is in control and is already implementing a plan for you.
Growing a following too quickly can also lead to discouragement and abandonment of your business. Imagine this: Your following and blog traffic quickly soars to the thousands due to your consistent marketing methods. Your attention is solely on your follower count instead of your engagement. When the time comes to launch your product, you barely make any sales and you’re wondering what went wrong. The problem with solely focusing on your followers is that you’re likely to end up with a large following of people completely uninterested in the mission that never sprouted any roots in the ground.
How do I get rooted in my business?
Developing your business organically instead of quickly is not appealing to most people these days, but it is well worth your effort. You’ve got to roll up your sleeves and go back to your why. Why does your business exist? Why are you committed to your mission statement? Why should people trust you and follow you online? When you understand your why and who you are targeting, you won’t strive for rapid growth because you’ll want to attract the people your brand is designed to help.
Stretching your roots means surrendering your vision to God and allowing Him to lead you. Tell Him your frustrations. Ask Him to help you be deeply rooted. Ask Him to send the people He knows who need your words, your products, and your services.
Build an ideal client profile that you keep on your computer or on a piece of paper. Where is this person online? Go there and interact. Let her know that you appreciate her comment. Tell someone how you admire their mission. Share when their content resonates with you. Be kind.
If you’re stuck, trust and believe God will show you how to grow your roots first. He is faithful. He doesn’t need you taking control of the business, worrying about your numbers. Rather, will you allow Him to work while you remain a good steward over the mission He has entrusted to you?
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