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Starting over after hitting 100k followers on IG: 6 lessons I have learned

October 13, 2023

On this week’s episode of The Stephanie Kase podcast, we’re talking about an experience I had on Instagram. After hitting 100K followers, I wound up re-starting my Instagram account and learned how to be more strategic about using it to generate sales for my business. I’m sharing the six lessons I’ve learned over the last 7 or 8 years using Instagram and growing a new account of 15K followers on our new second account, Stephanie Kase education. I hope that this episode helps you remember that starting over doesn’t mean your business is going to crumble. 

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts or Spotify!

 

My Journey on Instagram 

My original account began in 2012 and it was my personal account. In about 2015, things transitioned in a business account (see it here!). Around 2016, I got really serious about using it to market my business. About half of my photography clients came from Instagram in that year, and the journey really began then. Since photography is such a visual business, I was really focused on sharing photos. Reels weren’t a thing yet. As the year went on, I began to build more of my personal brand on Instagram. That became a priority. I wanted to have a brand that would last long-term and follow me through the changes in my business. 

Through 2019 and 2020, I started to launch digital products and primarily an online education. My brand really took off in 2020 as Reels became more popular because that all was so intuitive to me. I quickly grew up to about 33K followers and my brand began to grow alongside my audience size. Through 2021, I began building my email list and continued sharing a mix of personal and business posts on my Instagram account. In August 2021, I got pregnant and my account quickly started to move into more personal topics. By the spring of 2022, my account really became a personal influencer account. When I came back from maternity leave, I knew I needed to start a new account to focus on business education. 

That’s when I began our Stephanie Kase Education account. We’ve got just over 15K followers there and my team member, Maggie, helped me run it through most of 2022. As 2023 began, I realized that I wanted to really focus on business education – and that was something I wanted to do long-term. Our team began pouring energy into that account at the start of 2023 and we were able to grow the account. 

Lesson #1: It’s okay to run with what’s working. 

As you build your Instagram account, it’s important to run with what’s working. Even if something is different from what you were previously doing or what you thought you were doing, it’s okay to try it. Just because something is fun or exciting doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. I always thought being an influencer would be so fun – but I realized that the way I was doing it wasn’t working for me. Especially because the behind-the-scenes life of an influencer is hard. People are judgemental and it’s hard to be “on” 24/7. So, even if you don’t know if things will work out, it’s okay to just try it. Trying new things will open your eyes to what you really want. 

#2: If the new thing doesn’t work out, that’s okay.

Just because something didn’t work out doesn’t mean it’s a failure. I really thought I failed when being an influencer didn’t work out for me. I felt like I’d been wasting time and putting my effort into things I don’t even really like. But, instead, I stepped back and realized that I learned so much from trying that new experience. I was a new mom postpartum and couldn’t do a ton of other kinds of work at that moment. So I tried something new and it didn’t work out for me long-term… and that’s 100% okay. 

#3: Don’t rely on social media for your revenue. 

Another really important lesson I learned with my social media journey is that you shouldn’t rely on social media for your business revenue. Posting online isn’t the only way you should be driving people to your products. Instead, I can say looking back on my Instagram account is that building an email list is one of the best things I did for my business. Building the list gave me freedom and permission to shift within my business and on my Instagram account. I don’t think I could have done that if I relied on social media alone for revenue. As I tried new things, my revenue didn’t drop – because my email list had the people who really wanted to be there and buy my products. (PS. To learn more about email marketing, check out my free email class!). 

#4: Use social media to sell your business 

I feel like this is a lesson that I had to learn in the last year especially. It’s important to show up and sell to your audience, not just share your personal life. In the past, I used social media to build my personal brand and made most of my sales through my email – which is still true. I’ve used my second account to share about my offers and haven’t been afraid to do that. Instead, I share about those paid offers frequently so people don’t forget about them. It’s important to nurture your audience and bring new people in to get on the email list – but it’s also good to lean into talking about your offers, too. The posts will likely be more of a soft sale and letting your followers know what you have to offer. Remember, not everyone is seeing every post – so it’s okay to talk about it a lot! 

#5: Pursue what you are truly passionate about.

This is going back to what I was saying about what I thought would be awesome – like becoming an influencer. I thought it would be fun, but don’t just pursue something because you think it would be fun or make you money. You show up in a different way than if you’re showing up about something you’re truly passionate or gifted with. Instead, you’ll be so much more satisfied with what you’re doing. It’s easy to get distracted from what you’re supposed to do or who you’re supposed to serve if you do what you think you have to do. 

#6: Followers don’t mean anything.

I know people say this, but I’m a true example of it. I had over 100K followers on my first account and many weren’t even from here in the US. They weren’t ideal clients that would lead to paying for offers. So, the number of followers you have doesn’t really mean anything about your income or your business. I was growing but wasn’t showcasing the things that would attract the right followers. Instead, you need people who are going to help you sustain your business and income – it needs to be worth my time and energy. The number of followers I have truly has nothing to do with that! 

They don’t tell you about someone’s bank account. They don’t tell you how successful someone is. On the flip side, like there are so many people that have 1000 Instagram followers and have a super successful business. I’ve just seen it time and time again. So just remember that when you’re looking at people that you follow that truly they can be empty followers and followers really don’t mean anything. 

I hope that talking through the lessons learned from Instagram is helpful to you! Remember to use Instagram as a tool for yourself – doing it in the way that YOU want to! That’s going to allow you to show up more authentically and genuinely for your audience! 

Other Instagram Resources 

Learn inside the course ALL of my strategies for seeing real growth on the platform, including gaining loyal followers, monetizing your Instagram, increasing engagement, posting consistently, creating content with ease, and more! Join us at http://stephaniekase.com/instagramgrowth . Use code PODCAST for 15% off your purchase! 

Join me in this 60-min Free Class and get my exact process for how to create business-growing Reels with just 3 hours of your time every month.

 

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