Why your IG content won’t give you the fame you’re hoping for  

When we left home on a one way ticket last year we created an Instagram account to keep our friends and family posted on the adventures we were on. Over time we grew a small community of travel enthusiasts that share our love for the world and see travel as a way to re-think their routines and design their best lives. 

Seeing Instagram as a powerful medium to spread our message and to promote our longterm travel blog, we started looking into ways and techniques to expand our audience.

Over the last 4 months we have gone through countless articles and slide shares that all promised to have THE Top 10 or 5 or 15 (or any other number that sounds good) golden recipes for growing our following organically. 

Number 1 rule: Create exciting content that people love to engage with, they say.

And here comes the thing.

Regardless of how good our content is, how amazing our photography, editing, and writing skills will ever be, regardless of how groomed and tanned and fashionable we look, our content alone won’t get us to the skyline of Instagram starlets. 

This photo will never go viral – and that’s ok. @generationnomads

This is the latest post we shared on our feed. We already know that it will never go viral – and that’s ok.

This photo will never go viral, because it takes much more than a beautiful image and an intriguing caption these days to stand out. It will never go viral because we won’t be sacrificing hours of our day on the platform “being active”. It won’t be going viral because we are only sporadically updating our #igstories, and because it’s a photo like a million photos published before us.

The number of likes on this photo won’t probably surpass the number of our last post, but why does this number matter anyway?

We sometimes stumble over captions like “wow, when we started out a couple of months ago, we would have never expected to be so big by now. It just happened.”

Instagram is a full-time 24/7 job, and it’s not for everybody.

We believe that success on social media is not some great magical achievement. It hardly ever happens over night. If it happened over night, it must have been a pretty long one. 

Success comes hardly ever accidentally. It is mostly the result of a choice we make. The choice to adopt a strong will, discipline, and commitment. And Instagram works as everything else in life. You must give in order to receive.

Don’t get us wrong, we are not discussing here whether it’s good or bad to commit and make Instagram one of the most prominent parts of daily life. In fact, we genuinely admire and applaud to everybody who manages to grow their community into the thousands. We only say that it’s a deliberate and conscious choice somebody makes. It’s a full-time 24/7 job, and it’s not for everybody.

People compare their inside worlds to somebody’s outside world

Yet, we tend to compare ourselves to the people we see on the grid, and chances are that Instagram can shift from being a great source of inspiration to becoming a trigger of self-doubt, frustration, and depression.

Why? Because what we see is only a small and often highly curated window of another person’s life. On social media, we mostly don’t get to see what’s going on behind the screen. People tend to compare their inside world to somebody’s outside world and that’s where it gets problematic. 

Adding the constant count of likes and follows, Instagram can quickly (and dangerously) be seen as a score board for people’s social and self-worth.   

Humans are by nature social beings, which means we want to belong. We want to be loved and appreciated by people around us. Now, in typical human interactions the ‘behind the scenes’ are hidden. When you engage with another person in real life, that person does not hold up a thumbs-up sign, rating the value of your statements, your appearance, and your ‘fun factor’. 

On social media we are evaluated and rated.

How many likes is our life worth?

How many followers measure our true value?

Instagram is increasingly brought up in debates on mental wellbeing and it has become such a heated discussion that Instagram Canada is recently experimenting with hiding the amount of likes a photo gets to beat the compete, count, and repeat cycle.

It’s all about the exposure

It’s so important to note that the response you receive on your content is not reflecting your skills or smartness or value in any way.

We have an example.

Some months ago we posted a photo on our feed which got reposted by a large account on Instagram.

Our post on our own @generationnomads feed

It’s the same photo, with a much simpler caption, and yet there are worlds between the amount of likes and comments.

Our photo on @earthcouples Instagram feed

Be mindful of what you want to get out of it – quality goes over quantity

The number of likes  and comments doesn’t say anything about the quality of your content. It is rather a reflection of the exposure you receive on the platform. Aim for quality rather than quantity. One genuine and thoughtful comment under your post is more worth than 20 shallow ones.

Besides, be mindful of what you would like to get out from your time spent on the grid? Are you looking to grow your business? Great! Instagram is one of the most powerful marketing tool. Yet, look at it then also as your business. If a customer doesn’t respond to your ad to buy a product, you might be angry, sure. But you won’t be emotionally personally offended.

Are you in it for connecting with like minded people and exploring your creativity? Then see it as that. Not more and not less.

Yes, it can be difficult to find the right balance. It’s a constant struggle. However, we believe that the only way we can consume social media in a healthy way is to interact with content that makes us feel good about ourselves, and in limits. Only when we surround ourselves with positivity, we ourselves can be positive. 

It’s not rocket science, but a couple of things help to maintain a healthy relationship with Instagram

  1. Follow positive content that makes you feel good about YOURSELF, that inspires you to think, that challenges you intellectually and spiritually.
  1. Be conscious about that instagram stars did not come to overnight success, it’s been a steep and long road, and they worked hard for it. We truly believe that we and you can do it, too. But it’s a choice and a commitment. Once you realise that, don’t be so hard on yourself.
  1. Be aware that it’s all about marketing and exposure. The number of interactions on your post doesn’t reflect your value or contribution to the community. Strive for quality over quantity.
  1. Trust your gut! We genuinely believe that for some or many IG and social media are mostly only positive. BUT: Not everyone is the same and that’s fine! It’s not everyone’s calling to be “big” on social media, be clear on why you are using the platform and what you wan’t to get out of it. Don’t get emotionally attached or dependent on it. 

We are not in it for the likes and for the follows. We are in it to find people that share our thoughts. We are in it for your genuine comments about these very lines we are typing right here instead of reading: “cute pic guys, love your profile”.


Do you feel like this article is speaking to you? Share your story by taking a short questionnaire at generationnomads.com/survey or write us an email on hello@generationnomads.com. We are currently working on our first book (a big deal for us!) and we would love to have you in it!


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