Yesterday, I posted on my Instagram stories about receiving “constructive criticism” from a former follower. Their reason to stop following me was that I share too many photos of the same accessories in different spots in my home. They warned that if I didn’t show more variety, people would stop following me. This “warning” got me thinking.
I don’t buy things for my home so that I can stage photos, and I don’t share photos so that more people will “follow me”. Sure, it is exciting to see more people express interest in what I’m sharing.
But if your goal for sharing things on the internet is just to have more followers, then please enjoy your adventure in missing the point.
If you are staying true to your message, it shouldn’t matter how many people listen. Whether there are 80 or 8,000 people following my blog, my mission does not change. Holland Avenue Home exists to serve readers- not the other way around. When I see people contemplating how to “gain more followers”, I have to wonder why. If real people with names and souls are reduced to either “follower” or “potential follower”, it will be incredibly tempting to compromise the integrity of your message. What are you doing right now to serve the followers you have? Are you engaging with the people that support your work? Because that will be a lot more difficult as numbers grow.
I understand that statistics matter to advertisers and brands, and that many bloggers make a living from advertising partnerships. In this case, statistics matter. I have a pdf Media Kit with tons of information about my blog and social media statistics. It comes with the Internet territory. But you don’t start blogging because you want to gain attention. You start blogging because there is a topic you are passionate about, and you want to share it with others. In time, that passion may lead to opportunities, and those opportunities will require you to share your statistics. You don’t start for the numbers, but I understand that it is tempting to get distracted along the way.
If you’re interested in attention or statistics, lease a billboard on the interstate. If you’re interested in connection and serving people through your work, forget the statistics and engage with the individual.
Why bother “increasing your engagement” if your goal is not to engage in return? Do you want people to comment on your posts because you genuinely want to connect with them, or because you want to improve your engagement percentage? When true engagement is the goal, numbers don’t matter. But when people are statistics, you’re in danger of losing the heart of your message.
I’ve been incredibly blessed to “engage” with many bright and wonderful individuals because of my blog, and those connections are what make this worth it. I love what I do, and am still amazed that what I share could inspire another person to look at his or her home differently.
My goal for this blog is to invite you to thoughtful homemaking through inspiring resourcefulness and encouraging contentment.
I can’t do that if I’m concerned with showing and telling you to buy the latest trends, or constantly changing up my decor for the sake of keeping things fresh or gaining followers. I was incredibly encouraged by the response to my stories yesterday. One person felt the need to let me know why they don’t like what I do, and took time out of their day to issue a “warning”. But then over a hundred of you took time out of your days to send messages of encouragement and solidarity.
There are enough voices out there yelling for “more more more”, and I have had enough. If you’re following me, I bet you have too. If you’re looking for the latest trends, you probably won’t find them here. But if you’re looking for real life style inspiration, and a place to step away from the cultural cry for “more”, I’d like to invite you to stick around and take a deep breath. Holland Avenue is a place for us to be encouraged and inspired toward contentment in our homes (which often looks like “less” and not “more”). I’m encouraged that there are many of you who resonate with my mission, and I am more motivated than ever to stay true to the heart of Holland Avenue.
You’ll definitely see my favorite pillow more than once, but I hope that the potential monotony will encourage you to be content with your favorite pillow too.
Thank you for supporting Holland Avenue Home. Thank you for believing in my message. Thank you for tolerating one million photos of the same old stuff. It was never about the “stuff” anyway. Please know that I write and share so that I can serve you through my passions and talents, and that your heart is more important to me than your number on a screen. You are not a statistic.
With so much love,
Your friend Avery