WOW sound the fireworks, carhorn, and bazookas!!
We made it to 10,000 of y’all on my Instagram @shannenmarie_ot ! But what does this mean? This means that although I am a) grateful and honored to have this platform b) eager to utilize the highly anticipated “Swipe Up” feature and c) hopeful to continue reaching others with positive, authentic, and transparent engagement to promote the profession of OT as well as to share my insights in other meaningful roles and events, I feel compelled to share a few thoughts and reflections.
Ten Thoughts in reflection of reaching the
“10k F o l l o w e r s M i l e s t o n e”
- Instagram and social media are not my idols.
- On Valentines Day evening, I admittedly checked and rechecked my phone with anticipation. Although I felt an immediate sense of adrenaline when I saw the “10k” for the first time, I also felt a sense of guilt. Why was I checking my phone when my sweet hard working hubby was sitting next to me on our couch? I immediately asked him to help keep me accountable to never lead the type of Instagram account that places technology and social media above “real life”, our relationship and even bigger than that — above the Lord. This is something I am actively working on so despite how much it appears I have it all together all the time – I do not. #getyousomeaccountability
- 10,000 followers equates to 10,000 more reasons and counting to fulfill a needed presence in a responsible and transparent manner.
- I have said this once and I will say it again. The greater your presence in anything whether it is work, school, leisure, sports –the greater is your list of responsibilities. In other words, you are more vulnerable and susceptible to feedback both positive and negative — the greater your following.
- It is a hobby, but will never be my job.
- Yes, I get “free stuff”, but it was not until the end of last year (2019) where I started to make any income. PSA: it is not anything that I could live by (<$400/month) and I personally could not make this whole blogger/online media person my actual day job. It can be actually exhausting!! I get this question a lot, so that is why I just wanted to touch on it here. With this being said, I also have to block many weird companies who reach out to me from time to time because unlike other accounts who have hired persons to screen for these kind of DMs – I am a one woman club. (I literally cannot imagine how often this must occur for accounts with 100k followers!!!)
- Social media has its downfalls and sometimes includes extensive demands.
- I cannot tell you how many times I have had the thought “okay this is going to be a greatly received article. I spent a lot of time gathering information and perfecting this so that x, y, and z persons (namely students and entry level therapists) will find value in this…”and it gets barely any engagement; in contrast, from time to time I post a random picture with a haphazard caption and it relates to more people and gets way more likes than I would have ever thought.
- Another con is time. It takes several minutes to hours to “create content”. Perhaps this is why I resort to pretty much only posting when I feel creative or when I am at the gym either on the elliptical or stationary bike. #chronicmultitasker
- Selfish gain. This kind of goes back to point number 1 which I am working on as I stated.
- Annoying trolls and impolite/impatient DMs. I have had three very significant, hurtful trolls since this whole insta started and will likely not be the last. I have learned the best way to deal with this is to respond reflectively when calm and collected, followed by an immediate block to that account. Sometimes people have this thought that they can just send their information so I can fix their resumes or literally ask me to do their occupational therapy homework which quite frankly is a standing ovation NO!!
- Social media also has many pros and may advance unique opportunities for you.
- The friends you make online could very well become YOUR BEST FRIENDS IN REAL LIFE.
- If last year you would have told me that my Instagram account is one of the primary reasons I was asked to be a Pinning Ceremony OT School Graduation speaker, I would have literally laughed but it is true. As our world becomes a little more focused on the technological advances and resorts to social media for medical / health / fitness / you name it advice, more aspiring ________ are looking to social media to find people (who have been through what they are going through or going to go through) to follow to learn through them (this goes back to point #2 about having to fulfill a responsibility).
- If you know me personally, you know that me and technology are in a constant state of fight and frenzy, yet through my Instagram I have been provided with the opportunity to be a social media consultant to different companies! Hashtag nontraditional OT role!!
- Sponsored posts, Affiliate links, Ads, and communication via emails, DMs, and calls with companies requires more time and more effort than it appears; also, there is no manual for this.
- I thought I was being scammed when I received my first direct message than follow up emails for different companies and in fact, more than one time have I just kind of cold turkey quit communications secondary due to listening to my gut feelings. For the most part (over 95%), my experience has been overwhelmingly positive and mutually beneficial. There is something special and also very cool to trial and share new products with my insta friends. My two largest and continual brands I represent at the moment are Landau Uniforms (which includes the sister brands Urbane Scrubs and Smitten Scrubs ) as well as Friendly Shoes . I am also collaborating with my first international company (shhhh…. will be announcing this one soon 😉 ). There is a lot more I could add to this, but moral of the story is that there are lots of behind the scenes things that occur through emails which takes up time and considerations that at times make me question my sanity and my why but this is just my honesty speaking.
- I am no longer afraid of asking a collaboration for an increased affiliate fee or for a flat pay rate for a post. If I am spending the time sharing their product (and I only share what I like and have tried!!!) then I believe my time and effort is deserving of compensation.
- I learned the hard way through my taxes last year that it is imperative to keep up with month to month income (although as noted in point #3 it is minimal) so that I can make sure to sign “influencer” contracts where I do not end up having to pay hefty tax fees at the end of it all. (Definitely a learning curve here!!!)
- I still hate the term “influencer”.
- Nothing more to be said here. Carry on. When people say my name I want to be known as titles other than influencer such as “Christian”, “Friend”, “Therapist”, “Wife”, etc.
- There is always something more.
- I googled the statistics for the percentage of Instagram account followings. From what I found from multiple sites from 2018 data (***not verifiable information–just what I found — there are no .edu or .org websites for instagram statistics after all ). 69% of accounts have less than 1k followers whereas Instagram accounts making up of 50k followers or more make up the 8% of the total pool. Less than 9% of Instagram users have 10k followers or more. This basically sums up the fact that human nature is to always want more; similarly, although I am ecstatic to reach 10k I cannot help but think about the next thing whatever that may be.
- I am still confused in being labeled by others as a “brand” (I am not at least not yet????), but do have aspirations to gain a following authentically while balancing real life demands.
- If I am being real here, my goal for my Instagram (in addition to expand awareness of occupational therapy and dispel the myths of being a doctor’s wife among other things…) is to continue to engage and increase my following with the ultimate long term goal to self publish a book of poems and short stories based on HIPAA compliant patient stories that I have been writing and collecting in my three years working as an occupational therapist. My hope is that those of you who care enough to hear what I have to say on insta –might also want to support this endeavor, too 🙂
- All in all, I am honored and grateful to all 10k + of y’all for choosing to follow this normal Southern girl who just happens to be overly zealous for sharing little tidbits of life, occupational therapy, fun items and products, and life as a med wife. all my love.
SHANNEN MARIE OT