A month or so ago I decided to take some time away from this blog, and any form of social media promoting it. I was feeling rather uninspired by the lack of originality, the lack of personality, within some spaces in blogging world (and myself) and I needed to stop and reevaluate who I was, clarify my own message, before I could continue. After all, I was a victim of this lack of originality posting the same shit as everyone else.
So I took a step back from it all and had a bit of a think.
Now, I know I am not alone in struggling to stand out in a world full of bloggers, and every blogger wants to be seen and heard – it’s why we do what we do, it’s why we spend hours creating content. However, it can be all too easy for our voices to all start sounding the same, especially on Instagram, in a bid to reach new audiences and increase our engagement. Yet during our mission to be seen, to be heard, to appear in searches and get that coveted Double Tap or Like…
We’re all reviewing the same products.
We’re all creating the same flatlays and photoshoots.
We’re all decrying algorithms for our lack of success.
Without, of course, thinking for a moment the reality:
How many of our followers are actually active enough throughout the day to see every single new post on their feed when they’re following hundreds, if not thousands of accounts? And how are you making sure your content stands out against those hundreds and thousands of images?
On Instagram, we need to be reaching not just our followers, but more importantly, we need to be engaging with those who don’t know who we are. If we’re creating unoriginal content however, what will make those strangers want to engage with our content or become followers? How many #bblogger grams can a girl doubletap on her morning commute?
When we’re competing with other images and bloggers all using the same hashtag, how many almost identical images does a stranger actually want to see?
Unoriginality lends itself to a lack of engagement due to sheer exhaustion of visuals. Ever heard of semantic satiation, where the same word repeated starts to lose meaning? Well, think of Instagram and Visual Satiation, where all our photos start looking so alike to the point they’re no longer registering, or being seen.
You’ll notice the big influencers on Instagram have gotten their success not by providing the same cut and paste image of Peggy Porschen as every other blogger, or by using the same golden numbered balloons on their birthday, but have unique and/or quirky styles which make them stand out.
As bloggers and influencers we have to stand out.
As human beings with hearts, souls, and imaginations, we have to speak with our own, unique voices.
What brand is going to want to work with us if we are all styling our photos the same, or are using and reviewing the same products as those with more followers? We need to stop trying to replicate the success of our peers by replicating their content – sure, capture inspiration from them, but make it yours and yours alone only then will you start to stand out.
We need to stop blaming the algorithm, an algorithm designed to increase our engagement and reach, for our lack of success.
Over on my new Instagram the algorithm helped me hit my first 100 likes, and in fact, despite only having 230 followers (as of publishing) one of my images has over 800 likes – mostly via hashtag searches and the algorithm. My old gram never accomplished such a feat, and I always struggled to break 40 likes or gain any traction with my follower-count.
Yet now I am finding myself growing over on Instagram. Why? Simply because my photos are standing out against those of my peers, because I have created my own aesthetic, rather than using the same muted earthy tones of those who inspire me.
I am using my unique voice and I am standing out from the crowd because of it.
Now, I am not suddenly an Instagram expert, however, I am pretty damn good when it comes to standing out from the crowd when I need to because #TeamTaurus, and I am also pretty damn good at understanding analytics (considering it used to be my job!)
However, you don’t need to be an expert in anything to understand that we need to stop buying the same palettes, the same flowers, the same books as other influencers just for the sake of Gram or for our Blogs. We need to stop blaming the algorithm, and instead start giving people them something special, something unique to our own voices.
Let’s be real: Why copy or be heavily influenced by our peers and competitors when our followers have already seen it and read it?
It’s time to allow your true self to shine and stop trying to fill some Blogger Mold that doesn’t really exist. Allow yourself to be inspired, but if you remember to always be the best version of yourself and share it with the world, you’ll start noticing the algorithm ain’t that shit afterall.