You guys... trying to grow on Instagram has become nearly impossible for me (and many others I know). And if I am being quite honest it's also very frustrating. The algorithm change is all out of whack, I am seeing posts from 4 days ago on my feed and truthfully I am sure my posts aren't being
seen either. Sometimes I have to go and search for some of my friends who I haven't seen anything from in a few days. I don't care what anyone says, the reality of this business is that numbers 100% matter on social media if you are doing this as a business. And whoever is telling you that numbers don't matter it's because they are most likely being paid $10k+ per campaign. No shade, I am just trying to get there too!

The bottom line is that I am lucky enough to work with great brands that value the level of my commitment, content and quality of my photos. These are relationships that I have built over the years. As a blogger I know I have more than a handful of friends that feel exactly how I do about their growth. Unfortunately, one too many people BUY likes on photos and also buy fake followers. You can buy thousands of (fake) followers and you can even buy thousands of (fake) likes on any given photo. And I am not trying to be petty here but reality is that a) I can't be that deceiving if I tried and b) I will never in a  million years spend my hard earned money on building a fake following. In my opinion, it's not worth it. Bloggers can buy followers and likes but it's very easy to tell from this side of the screen. I get it, this is a business, money is money but one thing that I take pride on is the loyalty of my readers no matter how small my following may be.

As far as the business side of my own brand and my growth,  I have to be realistic while trying to be as organic as possible and find ways to grow with a real following. I did a little research and spoke to a couple of successful blogger friends to get their take on giveaways and asked for their advice. I am lucky to have very genuine (and successful!) blogger friends that are willing to take their time out of their busy lives to get on the phone with me for hours and give me their advice without expecting anything in return.

This one amazing friend said to me; " Look Erika, this is a business and giveaways do work, the followers you get from them are not bots or fake accounts, they are genuine followers. Some people don't like giveaways and that's ok, they don't pay your bills and you have children to feed"... and she's absolutely right. Yes, you will lose 50% of the followers you got in the last 48 hours of that giveaway but the other 50% are staying because they genuinely like your feed. Giveaways are not like buying fake followers with obvious fake accounts, these are real people, and yes, they want to win an iPhone 8 or a Gucci bag, that's how they found you BUT they also have a 50% chance of really liking your content and staying for the long run. This investment of some sort is actually an exposure of your brand to thousands of thousands of people and why would I not want that? And while I do this for the LOVE of the game (clearly!) I also have to think of my financial growth because as you all know this is what I do for a living.

With that said, you guys, as technology and these social media apps evolve in whatever way they feel the need to, so must we. So I will be trying out giveaways once again and seeing who they do for me. But don't worry I will not be in your feeds annoying you with them every week, my plan is maybe every 6 to 8 weeks, I think that's a healthy way to do it, for both of us. And I am 100% aware that many people detest giveaways and I am 100% ok with the unfollow if you must. But just know that I wrote this here today to further explain this to you guys, simply because you are my digital fam and I feel like this transparency is what has gotten me the loyal readers I have.

Oh yes and I know you guys loved this look so here are the details of each piece: 
Jacket: super old Zara | Top: Zara | Jeans + Earrings: JCPenney | Bag: Charming Charlie

Cheers to growth, success and happy days! Let me know your thoughts, I truly would love to know what your take, as a follower, is on this.