The word ‘Influencer’ is not one I would associate with myself, but over the last few years as my website and Instagram pages have grown, it would seem that I might actually be an influencer. That sounds so weird to say, especially as I started Thrifty Clair in 2017 as a way of documenting my savings progress, debt free journey and to share deals I found. But over the last eighteen months, I’ve had more and more people tell me how they have been inspired by something I have posted...
It started with my garden makeover last spring; people would ask which shade of paint I used then they would send pictures of their fences painted the same. Now I get tagged in posts from people who have recreated my recipes and DIY projects, they share their charity shop finds and even their yellow sticker bargains with me too! It’s even gone as far as having some really personal conversations via private messages about getting help and support with financial difficulties. I feel absolutely privileged to be able to help people through my social media page and if these things make me an influencer then that is a title I am happy to have.
Since getting a larger following, people ask me how to grow a page or how to be successful when it comes to Instagram. My response is always the same: “Create an account to share posts about something you enjoy. If you enjoy it then it’s much more likely to be successful.” I see so many new accounts pop up, they spend a few weeks trying to up their following or to create engagement but they give up because they haven’t had instant success. I don’t think there are any quick fixes, it’s just about remaining consistent and interacting which are the things that make it even more worthwhile.
I only post about things I care about and I think this is what shines through however there have been times I have doubted myself. To give you an example, last year when my Instagram was steadily growing I felt like I needed to up my game. I started overthinking my posts and comparing what I was sharing to what others were and I thought I had to post beautifully edited inspiring quotes or insightful pearls of wisdom on how to be successful with saving. I tried doing that but the problem was, it felt false and forced. It just wasn’t me and I didn’t enjoy it; especially if a post I had spent ages on didn’t get much engagement. I got bogged down by the numbers and it began to feel like a chore rather than a fun hobby.
I took some time to reflect on how I wanted to run my account and I realised I am what makes my account so I stopped trying to be like others. I made a choice to just keep it simple by sharing what I am up to, how I am saving and other little snippets from my life. I enjoy it so much more and I think it shows through my page continuing to grow. I do still lose followers and there are those who send rude messages or leave nasty comments but those are few and far between. I just remind myself that I can’t please everyone so I just continue to post what is true and relevant to me.
Last year I converted to an Instagram business account as I started to do the odd paid collaboration and I needed access to my stats. I am still on a business account and do still keep an eye on my engagement here and there but I try to not read as much into it as I used to. My grid post engagement is hit and miss at times and I have a current rate of 2.23% yet my stories get 20-30% engagement. From that, I can only assume that people enjoy my stories more so that is where I tend to share most of my tips and thoughts. I find that more enjoyable too so it’s win, win. I try to make my stories interactive and inclusive by using polls, quizzes and captions and I think this makes a positive difference.
Grid posts are still an enigma to me, to this day my most successful post in terms of reach is a photo of a bag of frozen chorizo... Keeping in mind I have shared pictures of my wedding, my kitchen makeover, my fakeaways and loads more, yet it’s the frozen chorizo that was the biggest hit and I have no idea why. For that reason I just share on my grid as and when I have something I think is worth sharing. I know others find it better to post daily, some have structured posts depending on the day of the week but for me, I just like to go with the flow.
If you’re wanting to start a blog, a YouTube Channel or an Instagram page, I would say absolutely go for it... but do it for the right reasons. Do it for fun, for enjoyment, to share, to educate and if it takes off then great. My blog and Instagram started out as a hobby and I never imagined I would get to a point where I would be doing paid collaborations with large UK companies but here I am. It can be hard work at times but I find what I do so enjoyable and rewarding - not just the paid work but the social interactions, networking, chatting and sharing tips! As long as I enjoy it, I will continue to post and share as Thrifty Clair.