(originally posted on 9 Feb 2019)
Hey guys, welcome back to Be the Sunshinee! Today I am SUPER excited to be sharing 5 things I’ve learned from blogging on Instagram for 1 year!
If you didn’t know, I started blogging back in the summer of 2016 but kept it a secret for almost a year! I really only told Andrew (my boyfriend) and my friend Ellie. After posting about my blog on my Facebook page I took the lunge in March 2018 (I was anxious and nervous to really start sharing) and created the @Bethesunshinee Instagram!!
I was definitely skeptical and scared to put my blog out there for anybody to see, people I know in person to be particular. But it’s been the best decision I’ve made in my blogging career. It’s opened up a whole new world for me. It’s introduced me to so many other bloggers, near and far. It’s allowed me to get creative and stay inspired. It’s allowed me to discover new incredible brands big and small. And most importantly, it’s allowed me to turn my passion into purpose!
Here are 5 things it’s taught me.
You have to stay true to yourself, no matter what.
My number one goal when I decided to create the @betheunshinee Instagram was staying true to my authentic self. I am not a fashion blogger, make up guru, or faith based blogger. When I started blogging I found it VERY difficult to find other bloggers/accounts who had the same niche as me or other bloggers who weren’t fashion bloggers. There were many times I almost posted a certain photo that really had no relation to me, I had no passion for the purpose of that photo. (Hopefully that makes sense). It has been a little bit of a struggle, something I still struggle with to this day. But I am reminding myself what is important to me, and what my goal is. And when I’m going to post a photo I ask myself a few questions;
What is the purpose of this post?
Is this photo going to help or inspire others?
Am I posting just to post or do I actually love this photo/caption?
I take a step back and remind myself that I don’t have to pretend to be somebody I’m not. And doing that wouldn’t attract the right audience for my type of content! I love to follow my fair share of fashion bloggers but that’s not the type of blogger I am. And that’s okay!
2. Planning content in advance is a life saver and so business smart!
Take valentines day for example, a TON of the bloggers I follow are already pushing out their Valentine’s d=Day content and it honestly hadn’t even crossed my mind (at all). Maybe because I’ll be out of town for Valentines Day but probably because I’m still learning the ropes! For this entire past year I’d wait until the day of (Thanksgiving, anniversaries, Christmas, New Years, etc) and then be scrambling to create content, take a photo, and post! I’m slowly learning to plan and prepare so that I have content to post in an accurate and timely manner! Planning content will allow me to always have “on trend” and relatable content that is relevant to my audience!
3. Consistency and engagement is key!
This lesson sort of goes along with the last one. Everybody always preaches that it’s not about the numbers, and it’s not. True bloggers really do know and believe this. But we also know that it is our passion to SHARE! Whatever kind of blogger you are (fashion, fitness, positivity, food, motherhood, lifestyle) you love to share with your audience! It’s just an incredible thing to share items or products with others! And people love to turn to social media/the internet when they are looking for options, reviews, or suggestions. That’s why blogging is such a huge part of today’s society. The best way to share what you love with others is through numbers, the more people who follow you the more opportunity you have to positivity influence others! And the best way to grow your audience is through connection! Consistency on your own account is KEY and engaging with other bloggers and women on Instagram is also KEY! Consistency is what I need to get better at! It’s learning the balance between posting just for the sake of posting and posting with a purpose. Engagement is the best way to support your favorite bloggers and it’s a win win for everybody because it also helps get your name out to other bloggers too!
4. Social media doesn’t have to be toxic.
I’m sure this is something you hear all the time! “Social media is so toxic.” And yes, can social media be toxic? Absolutely. But it doesn’t have to be. And it definitely shouldn’t be. I’m not sure if people forget this, but YOU get to choose who and what YOU follow online. If something or someone is bringing negativity or toxicity into your timeline or your life, YOU have the power to unfollow, mute, or even block them. YOU get to hand select what and who you allow on your feed. I learned this lesson when I was a senior in high school and a Tumblr fanatic. I was following a ton of fitness models and influencers and it was terrible for my self-esteem and mental health. Eventually, I knew the best way to get past those struggles was to unfollow every account that made me feel negative emotions. Soon, I started searching for and follow accounts that promoted positivity and things that made me happy. When you start taking accountability for your actions, feed, and who you are influenced by social media becomes a beautiful thing. Instagram should be a place you come for inspiration, advice, or recommendations. If you’re not getting any of that, maybe it’s time to reevaluate who you’re following.
5. I do not like being in front of the camera!
An unfortunate dislike for someone who’s trying to grow an Instagram! This is probably the lessons that’s stuck out to me the most as I’ve grown as a blogger over the last year, seeing as how Instagram is totally a photo based app! I think I struggle with consistency because I never have enough photos to post! I wear the same uniform everyday for work which isn’t my cutest outfit and nobody wants to take photos of themselves when they aren’t feeling their best selves! Really, I just haven’t learned how to manage my time on the weekend in the best way to capture a bunch of content in one setting. It’s also difficult to do on your own! I’d much rather prefer to take my own photos with a tripod and self timer because I’m simply more comfortable when it’s just me! If I strike an embarrassing pose or snap a funny photo, I’m the only one who has to witness it! When you’re working with a photographer (even if it’s just Andrew) I definitely feel more awkward and uncomfortable! But on the flip side, I’m still to chicken to pull my tripod out and set it up for a self timer photo in public! It’s a process I am still learning but slowly getting better at!
These 5 lessons are the biggest lessons that stuck out to me as I’ve grown over the last year. Blogging is hard but it’s so incredible and so damn rewarding. I absolutely love blogging and am so excited to see how we continue to grow over the next year! As a new blogger I know I am not the only one who relates to the lessons I talked about today and I would love to hear about any other lessons or struggles you’ve experienced!
Comment down below and tell me YOUR favorite thing about blogging!