Those who use social media to market their professional photography services will understand the time and effort it takes to get your follower number up, it can happen in leaps and bounds, and it can come slow and steady.
There are several ways to lose your following, one seems to be expressing an unpopular or controversial opinion, another is dramatically change the direction of your offerings, not giving the followers what they ‘signed up for’, so to speak.
One UK model recently lost 3,000 of her 13,000 followers simply by changing the focus of her Instagram uploads.
Previously, 24-year-old Stina Saunders’ social media accounts were filled with everything you might expect from a young model—selfies, fully made-up pouts, pool-side bikini shots, yoga and everything in between. Her following was growing steadily.
Then, when Australian teenager Essena O’Neill made a public stand against the fakery of social media, Saunders decided to make her own stand.
For one week, she would upload only unfiltered photos other Instagram account, portraying reality regardless of whether they were flattering.
Instagram is often criticised for allowing users to apply so many filters with so little effort or appreciation, indeed the edges-faded out, nostalgic-toned square image look is now so synonymous with the social media platform most photographers will forever steer clear.
Saunders told People Magazine, “I wanted to see what would actually happen if I stopped posting glamorous photos, and shared stuff that you wouldn’t normally even share with your friends, stuff that is taboo, stuff that was quite crude, all that kind of stuff.”
She began posting to see how her followers would react, anticipating a drop in likes on individual photos.
In fact, images of the model removing facial hair, readying herself for a colonic irrigation and without makeup—so-called ‘ugly selfies’—had a more permanent outcome—3,000 followers swiftly unfollowed.
The Brit acknowledged that sharing the normally private aspects of her life with strangers on the internet, particularly ones who usually tune in for half-naked shots, was always a big risk.
She has, however, discovered that using social media to be genuine can have its upsides—her female followers became more responsive as they could relate to her easier and she felt more empowered sharing the truth.
In addition, since sharing her stance with the media she has seen her number of followers increase dramatically to 27.4K, with average likes increasing from <100 to >1K.
Maybe it’s the cynic in me, but I can’t help but think she knew this would happen…
Title image: Stina Saunders on Instagram.