Life

Social media growth + haters

Blogging is a weird job. It has a lot of perks, but like all jobs, has drawbacks. Let’s talk about haters and mean comments.

In the last month I reached 11,000 followers on Instagram and 100,000 on TikTok! Sounds good, right? Well, kind of. It was also a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Let me explain.

I had a goal to reach 10,000 on Instagram so I could have the swipe up feature in stories. (This allows you to link to blog posts or products.) But my Instagram growth was very slow.

On top of that my Pinterest impressions had dropped by 50 percent! (That’s where I get 40 percent of my blog traffic.)

So I decided to try TikTok. I even applied to be a TikTok partner where I would get paid to make 40 how-to videos in 2 months. I took it seriously and made 50 15-second videos of my best DIY content. And I got 10,000 followers in two months there!

After that I continued making videos for TikTok, but only a couple times a week. My account grew to 100,000 after a little over 4 months. I have a few videos that got over 1 million views.


How I grew my TikTok account

  • posting every day for 40 days
  • with my BEST tutorial content
  • videos 15-25 seconds long
  • using voiceovers
  • captioning each step
  • using viral TikTok music
  • using 5 hashtags

TikTok followers came over to Instagram and quickly got me to 10K. My page views to my blog almost doubled (use your bio link to your blog, not Linktree) and my Etsy shop had never done better. My Pinterest impressions went past 10 million when I posted the same TikTok videos to “Story Pins.” It was working!

(Now that I have graduated from the learning fund, I now get paid a small amount depending on how many views my videos get daily.)


Haters

But that came at an emotional cost. When your audience expands, so do the comments. Most are kind and genuine, but there are the handful that make your heart pound and suck the air out of your chest.

I’ve had plenty before from Instagram, my blog and Pinterest, but they were sporadic so I could shake them off. But when you read 15 comments in one sitting like:

  • “Looked better before.”
  • “You have no idea what you’re talking about.”
  • “People don’t do this. It’s tacky …”
  • “I know it’s your house … but this hurts me to watch.”
  • “The first one was bad, but this is way worse! 😂😂😂”
  • “You are a toxic mom.”
  • “I hope your house burns down in a fire so you can see you should have saved your photos.”
  • “I hope this doesn’t become a trend.”

The first TikTok that went viral put me in a 2 day funk. I almost quit actually. All I can say is that if you are trying to grow your following on social media, be careful what you wish for. The larger the audience, the harsher the criticism. I had no idea painting shower tile and photo books would be so controversial!

@housemixblog

Photo organizing! ##learnontiktok ##organization ##officeorganization ##organize ##photobook

♬ Memories (Drinks Bring Back) – Ajay Stephens

And can we talk about that the fact that the people who leave these comments usually have private accounts with no profile pic and 4 followers? I can’t picture any of these people sitting behind their screens typing hateful things even though they lead a happy, fulfilling life. Because they’re not happy. They are hurting and insecure.

But it’s giving me thicker skin and I respond with things like: “I hope your day gets better” or “thanks for your perspective, but don’t forget you’re commenting to an actual person.” Even humor if I can muster it. “Well user67893, if that’s what we have to worry about I’d say life is pretty good!”

I want to show kindness to those who need it because hurt people hurt people. What’s interesting is how many people like my nice comments to the mean ones! They notice. And a few of the mean commenters have even apologized.

But I don’t respond to the people looking for a fight. And I delete the ones that will start a string of comments directed toward the bully, because that’s what they want — a negative response from as many people as possible. It’s gross.


Social media boundaries

I’m not being blown along with the wind anymore though. I will not allow social media to dictate my mood or take up too much of my time, so I’ve been creating boundaries.

  1. My notifications are turned off.
  2. I pretty much stay off social media on the weekends.
  3. I take breaks when I know I need them, even delete the app for a few days so I’m not tempted to scroll.

What I have learned from social media

I do not get my validation from likes or follows. That has nothing to do with who I am. And I want to be real and humble, not make someone think my life is perfect. I never want to stir up feelings of jealousy or comparison.

Build people up. If anything this experience has made me the biggest comment cheerleader ever! I want to build people up, not tear them down.

If you respond to mean comments, do it with overwhelming kindness and it usually squashes it. It does not feel better after a nasty quip back that sparks an ugly argument that no one wins.

I won’t let my children have social media accounts for as long as possible. (I say this with absolutely ZERO judgment of other parents’ rules.) I’m 41 and know my self worth, and can barely handle the intense criticism. How could a teen deal with it? Even 25-year-old me would have crumbled. These cruel things could stick with them for a lifetime and result in serious self doubt. And I wonder about the addiction to praise and applause as well. How will time on social media distract from kids developing real life friendships? 

Social media breaks are 100 percent necessary. I take breaks when I feel emotional, vulnerable, weekends, vacation and when it’s family time.


Positive influence on social media

Some people think that social media is bad and we should just get off all together. Actually, I did quit Facebook this year because I hated the way I felt every time I left the app. But my Instagram feed is full of people’s projects, creations and ideas. I leave feeling inspired.

What you see in your feed is up to you! Don’t follow people who are not uplifting or make you feel less than.

And what if all wholesome people left these apps? People would still be there and without positive influences present. I want to bring inspiration and kindness to these people full of hate. God can use everything for good.

I am looking at this as a sort of training ground. Maybe I will start a gospel centered TikTok next. But I know if people are offended by shower tile, they will definitely be offended by the gospel! So I will have to be better prepared than this. But what an opportunity to reach people we would never ordinarily meet!

You can find my faith Instagram account here: @house.of.palms. And my website here: FaithQandA.com.


Sharing controversial content

Last year brought about so much change that it seemed we couldn’t agree on anything. I don’t think we’ve ever seen so much negativity on any platform. People were angry, confused, anxious, scared. They lashed out and some even lost friends over these issues.

Personally I’ve learned a lot about myself this year and what I am called to do and not called to do. This is personal to me, not everyone. I learned that I am not called to have an opinion on every issue in the world. I am not called to give a personal “statement” on each controversy.

God calls some people to speak up and gives them them clarity and discernment and courage. Instead, when I speak up I am easily hurt by comments. If I have chosen a gray area to have a public opinion about, I can wonder if I am indeed correct. It’s part of my personality to see both sides of matters. 

That is why God has called me to preach the gospel, learn it, share it, talk about it. If I’m uninformed or speak incorrectly about a trendy issue, that could water down my trustworthiness and competence on the Bible in others’ eyes. Not to mention, I waste valuable emotions and time on being hurt by people and rehashing ugly comments. I am not able to shake off what idealists are. And that’s ok! I’m called for something else.

If someone attacks me because I believe the Bible, that’s different. 

18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. JOHN 15

I can stand on the Bible, its credibility, its accuracy. It is timeless, not trendy. So I will spend my time speaking out to others about Jesus. He will be my focus. And if people would follow Jesus, a lot of these other social and political issues would be resolved.

Though open to the Spirit, the only controversial content I will probably ever share is Jesus. 


Where do we go from here?

I’m out of the numbers game now. I don’t care. In fact, it wouldn’t bother me one bit if my Instagram account stayed the size it is now. Feels safer with friends I’ve made and has more of a community feel.

I love the relationships and sharing for fun without the pressure of harsh criticism and need to be perfect. (Because if you and your project are not perfect, believe me, people are happy to point it out.) I can share with a smaller audience what I can’t share with a large one. I can show mistakes and be vulnerable. That’s how I started out blogging and that’s how I want to stay.

Social media has taught me that it prefers me to have one lane, that people want one subject from me and I should adhere to it. It is preferably DIY and home decor. But the problem is that I am more than that. I love God, I wreck my heart to be a good parent, I care about people, I learn ways to save money, I grow new interests year by year.

God forbid you see me as a person blindly obsessed with the way her home looks! I love to make things lovely, but I also want to make the world more lovely where I have the opportunity.


Side note: How bloggers make money

If you’re curious about how bloggers make money or interested in blogging yourself, here is my free definitive guide to making money blogging.

The bulk of my income is from the ads on my blog. (That’s why social platforms help me, because they drive traffic to my website.) Then there are several other sources such as my digital planners on Etsy and affiliate links.

I also donate 20 percent of all these profits to Christian ministry organizations who help people in need, especially children.

Thank you for being here and for your support! I appreciate you. (Especially those of you who don’t leave me mean comments ;)

20 thoughts on “Social media growth + haters

  1. This is amazing. I love your honesty and perspective. You share such a good balance of many different aspects of your life. They are all so encouraging to me as a Christian and mom of littles. Thanks for putting up with the social media circus to keep inspiring others ;)

  2. Thanks so much for taking time to leave such an encouraging comment, Kristin! I truly appreciate it :) So happy to have you here.

  3. Yessss!! This is my girl, Kate!!! You know I’ve loved you for years and am so proud of you. I love your growth because more of the world needs to know you! I’m inspired by you in so many ways and your genuine heart has always beamed. Guard it and protect it and know WE are always cheering you on!! 🎉🎉🎉

  4. Awww Mandy! Thanks so much, friend. I love your enthusiasm, love and genuine heart. I’ll be cheering you on as well!!

  5. People are brutal (BTW, I found you from TicToc). Haters will say the meanest things. I just look at them as unhappy and miserable. Haters get their thrill by bringing others down. You know, all the things we say to our children.

    You have a beautiful home; I love your ideas; in fact, I just ordered curtain rings with clips; I’ve wanted to get rid of the blinds for.ev.er!

    So enjoy, you’re beautiful, doing beautiful things. And.. Share Jesus!

  6. Dear Kate, I really love and admire your honesty, enthusiasm and faith. It fills me with such hope when I hear people like yourself speak in such a humble way about the difficulties of social media. As Robert Barron recently described “Truly to love is to move outside of the black hole of one’s egotism, to resist the centripetal force that compels one to assume the attitude of self-protection.” Your desire to bring this is so evident in your article. And when one points out your flaws, it is only a means for them to elevate themselves because as you have said they are ‘unhappy’. So thank you so much for sharing this and I wish you a grace filled day with you and your family.
    Patricia (Ireland)

  7. How eloquent and articulate, Patricia! That quote is compelling and makes me stop and think. Thank you so very much for taking the time to leave me this note and encouragement. Means a lot to me :)

  8. Appreciate you sharing from the heart, Kate!
    The following is one I like to remember when dealing with negativity, “When people hurt you over and over, think of them like sandpaper. They may scratch and hurt you a bit, but in the end, you end up polished and they end up useless. -CC “

  9. Wow, thank you, Lillian! That quote helps put things into perspective. And I can already see the polished part in my own life — not that I’m polished per say (haha!) but that it’s growing me and strengthening me. Thank you so much for sharing!

  10. Well done all around! Love to see both your success and how it’s brought forth your fortitude and boundary-setting. In a world where the internet permeates every part of our lives, that becomes increasingly essential! So much love to you and the fam. <3

  11. Hi Kate! I am absolutely amazed by you!! I found you on Pinterest from the blog on painting your kitchen cabinets white and I’m obsessed with your tenacity and spirit to overcome the naysayers and to accomplish your project with such BEAUTY! OMG. I don’t really get on Pinterest much but after seeing your post, I am now not only inspired to paint my kitchen cabinets white myself, but take on other creative home projects. I too have longed to paint my ugly tan cabinets white and even gotten quotes to get it done, however after I read your post, I am so inspired to do it myself and think that it’s quite possible. Everyone makes it seem so hard, but I like how you took the time to break it down step by step and make it easy to understand and follow. Thank you so much for that! I will be using your link to buy the paint/materials because I want the outcome to be the same.

    Last but not least, I just want to say I love your blog here about social media growth/haters and thus decided to comment to let you know that I think you are FABULOUS! Whatever it is you’re doing, please keep doing it! Please keep doing YOU because you’re quite amazing and I applaud your ability to decipher and get over the social media haters as hard as it may be because at the end of the day, we are all Human and have feelings! I love your page. Thank you again for sharing.

  12. Kristine, your comment gives me goosebumps. Thank you so very much for taking the time to encourage someone you don’t even know! I truly appreciate it. And you CAN paint the cabinets yourself! When something is ugly and I want to replace it in a few years anyway I figure I might as well give it a shot. Can’t wait to see what you do. And thanks again for giving me the privilege of chatting with you here :)

  13. Hi there! It’s been awhile since I’ve visited here…but I’m someone who loves reading your blog, even if I’m not very consistent about it! I feel you have a great deal of wisdom and kindness to share, and I believe you have helped me better my life. Truly…you might just be the best example of a Christian that I “know”.
    I’m one who knows I feel better without social media ;) so when hubby has encouraged me to start blogging about something I feel passionately about and am working hard towards (about specific types of gardening in our difficult zone), the thought of people leaving nasty comments terrifies me! I like the sandpaper analogy of one commenter though. :) And you sharing what you have learned and your tips are great food for thought! Thank you, Kate! :)

  14. Hi Mel! You SHOULD start blogging! A mean comment might pop up somewhere along the way, but we can’t let fear of criticism from others hold us back! They are actually few and far between :) I would love to see your blog if you start it. I need allll the gardening tips. And thank you for your kind words, but I don’t deserve them! I fall so, so short. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave such encouragement!

  15. I stumbled onto this post from your Etsy shop and I ended up reading it to my husband. I had a very large following on Google+ when it was a thing and I eventually became so jaded and disenchanted after some particularly bad experiences that I left social media altogether for almost a decade. Trying to come back has been daunting, but your post gave me such hope that it can be managed with care (and probably much prayer). I will enjoy spending some time reading here this weekend. You had a different response than I did…a better one. I think God must be saying, “Well done, good and faithful daughter.” Keep on being you. This was beautiful, as are you.

  16. I’m so sorry to hear about your experience on Google+. It’s so disheartening to see how people treat one another. People can be so rude to strangers, it makes me wonder how they treat their friends and family. I’m praying right now you have a different experience this time. I find Instagram hard to grow on, but definitely kinder, more of a community type of feel than the others. And thank you so much for your kind words, they mean a lot.

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