Two things happened while I was away, and both took me a little by surprise.
One, I’d decided to completely document my New York trip on Instagram stories and try and share a love letter, MY love letter to the city I adore. I know it’s not my “traditional” niche and lots of people don’t like it when you deviate (yep, despite the fact that it’s our own platform, people still think they have a right to weigh in with what they think you should or shouldn’t share *rolls eyes*). But I figured at least one person would probably enjoy it so I went ahead, knowing engagement would be down and I’d lose followers. I wanted to do it for ME because I love it.
What came next was completely unexpected. People seemed to love seeing the city through my eyes, feeling inspired to visit, inspired to take a solo trip or inspired to get off the beaten path. I spent a lot of time answering DMs and it was such a joy to see how much people were enjoying the content.
Two, I sat in the theatre on the Saturday night waiting for Moulin Rouge to start. The theatre could accommodate around 1400 people, which when you see them all together is A LOT of people. And it hit me there and then – around 12 times that amount of people follow me on Instagram. WHY am I – why are ANY of us, trying to court new growth all the instead of appreciating the people who are there. The people who already engage and support and share.
And really, it’s all been such perfect timing because it gave me a bit of a lightbulb moment to help me try and decide how to refocus my blog and Instagram energy this year and moving forward. I still love Instagram but I can’t keep generating home content at the rate that it needs to stay in that niche. It’s not like beauty blogging where you can pick up 5 new lipsticks for next to nothing, it’s expensive, time-consuming and wasteful to continually redecorate and redesign a home and constantly sharing the same spaces again and again is starting to make me not appreciate my home anymore because even I get bored with it, let alone anyone else. Plus, as and when I DO go back to work, I want to be able to continue with this but will have neither the inclination or the energy to be DIY-ing on the regular so a slight change is not just wanted but needed too.
I started thinking about what it is that people engage with me over, and the trip helped me to realise – it doesn’t matter whether it’s DIY or travel, or talking about a life without children or living with illness. The word that people most often use when they DM is that I’ve inspired them in some way, whether it’s to have the courage to speak more openly about not having children, whether it’s to tackle a DIY project or try some plant-based cooking. Inspire, Inspiring, Inspirational.
This isn’t intended to be a “blow my own trumpet” blog post, but I feel excited to gradually re-niche (is that even a word?) and take things in a slightly different direction. There’s no denying that Instagram does hold us to ransom if you want to grow, in a way that other platforms don’t. It almost demands uniformity which in a way is ironic since it’s meant to be a chance to show creativity.
It weighed heavily on my mind last year when I started working on the various DIY projects that I had to keep going, keep going to come up with new ways to gain traction. I felt like I had to keep starting the next new project, the next one and the next one to constantly have things to share online and keep the people who joined engaged and following.
No more though. It’s time to concentrate more on what I really enjoy and if I can help people along the way so much the better. I love to tell a story, to support people, to help people think a little differently. Changing my direction to have an “inspiring” angle, be that DIY, travel, cooking, health, gives me so much more freedom so I can properly enjoy what I do.
I know it will take time and the hardcore renovationists will disappear and that’s totally ok. Quite a few of the people I’ve followed for a long while had babies last year and I hung around for a bit to see if I still wanted to follow them or whether they’d become very baby-centric. As it happens, I’m still following all of them – yes of course they share more baby-related content but it’s still done in a way which is true to them as people and I enjoyed them before so nothing really changes.
Hopefully enough people will stick around as I diversify and then more like-minded people will appear, but it feels right to take back control of our little online worlds instead of being controlled by them.