Bloggers seem to be into numbers. Likes, followers, comments, page views, posts, sessions, bounce rates … The list goes on and on and on. When Steve and I started our blog, we couldn’t help but watch the numbers ourselves. Then, last May, we went to TBEX North America, a conference for travel bloggers and we heard a fantastic speaker named Lou Mongello. Lou is a Disney expert, host, speaker, and entrepreneur whose WDW Radio show has been named the Best Travel Podcast nine years in a row!
Lou said some things that really made sense. He told the audience that “success is measured in levels of happiness.” It’s not really about the numbers. And he is so right. We still track some numbers as a way to gauge our growth. But at the end of the day, the numbers that mean the most to to us are these: How many people were inspired to travel somewhere new? Did someone write out a postcard for the first time in years? Were new perspectives understood? Who changed their views of a place or experience because of something we wrote? Is there greater understanding of the world today than yesterday?
These are the numbers that we care about. They’re not easy to track or quantify but they represent what matters most to us. So, please keep telling us your stories, sending us your postcards, and sharing your ideas on what you’d like to see on Postcard Jar.
And for those of you who ran to your 8 a.m. stats class with excitement, here are a few breakdowns about how we’ve grown, by the numbers.
Facebook is interesting. Just about the time we figure something out with Pages, it changes, so we’re constantly learning and trying to figure things out. Despite all of this, we saw a 74% increase in followers this year. We ended this third year with 1,491 followers, most from our home state of Nebraska. Posts about our travels abroad helped us increase our international followers from 17 countries last year to a whopping 43 countries this year! We now have followers from places like St. Kitts, Tunisia, the UK, and even Romania, Sri Lanka, and Norway. And by the way, you all speak 17 different languages, which is quite impressive.
It’s always nice to get likes, shares, and comments on Facebook, but the number we really look at is engagement. What we love most is when people are engaged with our content (i.e. “like,” “comment,” “share”). We love meeting new people online, hearing your stories, and answering your questions — so thanks for reaching out! You can follow us on Facebook HERE.
I’m not ashamed to admit it. I have a crush on Instagram. I love taking photos. I love seeing other people’s photos. And yes, I’m falling madly in love words that weren’t even in my vocabulary five years ago, like Perpetua, Ludwig, and Hudson. We had 216 new Instagram posts this year and saw a 209% increase in followers.
I’m not really sure how to track which photos were the most popular, but I can share my favorites: the blue bricks in San Juan, Puerto Rico; the close up of sweet corn from a local farmer last summer; and the small section of a mosaic wall in the gold room at Stockholm City Hall in Stockholm, Sweden. You can follow us on Instagram HERE.
Pinterest has me in a conundrum. I enjoy pinning things from our blog to our Pinterest boards and seeing what others are pinning. However, more times than not, I plan to take “just a few minutes” to do some pinning and suddenly I’m off to the nursery for supplies for a new arrangement in my front porch planters, or I’m scavenging the pantry to see if I have everything I need to make salted caramel brownies. It is just so easy to get distracted!
Nonetheless, we added 11 boards this year and our followers grew by 101%! Some of my favorite boards on our Pinterest page include: Decorating with Travel, Teaching Kids About Travel, and Travel Gifts. You can follow us on Pinterest HERE.
Steve manages our Twitter account and we grew our followers by nearly 160% this year. Of course Twitter is a bit difficult to manage when you have a full time job and no access to your feed during the day. Steve is in his 7th year as a middle school principal and sadly, the Twitterverse rolls on without him while he’s supervising the 6th grade lunch room and tending to the rest of his duties at school. We do try to tweet evenings and weekends and of course, when we’re traveling.
Twitter moves so quickly and we’re trying our best to keep up. We’ve joined some Twittter chats with our midwest travel bloggers and are still finding our way. While our account may not have quite the pizzaz of President Trump’s, we typically have some interesting travel-related tweets and tips that we hope don’t offend anyone. You can follow us on Twitter HERE.
We have exactly one YouTube subscriber. But then again, we haven’t done too much with YouTube just yet.
We have posted 19 videos so far, including our mixology class on the Celebrity Eclipse, airplanes landing over Maho Beach in St. Maarten, and our most viewed video of the sounds from the Gonda Building at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota [below].
You can follow us on YouTube HERE.
We’d love to get your feedback about Postcard Jar, as well, so let us know what you’d like to read more about. Did we share something that has inspired you to travel more this year? You can reply in the comments section below. Again, thanks for following along on our journey. You mean the world to us!!