First lets address how I got here, I’m not talking about the theory of evolution and I don’t need any clarification on the birds and the bees! I mean literally, how did I get here, to this moment in my life where I am sitting here writing a post for my interiors blog, with a 55k Instagram following, working with small businesses and brands that I love…..
I was asked the other day how I became an influencer and I have to say the question threw me slightly and I stumbled over the answer. It’s not necessarily anything I consciously decided to get into and when I started posting interior pics to my Instagram account 16 months ago I had no idea that this was where it would take me! But it got me thinking that even though I found that question slightly uncomfortable (I’m not sure I even like the term ‘influencer’) this is exactly what i’m doing now, and I have to say i’m loving every moment of it!!
I’d been following some Insta greats in the world of interiors for a long time and when we started redecorating our home last year I wondered what was stopping me from posting some interior pics too, and the answer to this was, nothing!! I’ll be the first to admit they were not good pics, bad lighting, bad composition, over use of filters, all the Instagram no no’s basically, but it was a learning curve, and I was learning quickly!!
My first Instagram interiors post getting me a whopping 32 likes and 3 comments!
I soon found I was really enjoying chatting to like-minded people about a subject that I was really passionate about, the more photos I posted and the more I got chatting to people, the more I saw my account start to grow, slowly albeit, Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that!
So what would I say to anyone who would like to do the same? I’m no Insta expert but I can certainly tell you what worked for me in the hope it will do the same for you. Firstly I would have to say you need to love your subject matter, be it interiors, fashion, food, if you don’t love what you’re talking about you’ll get bored! Secondly, and very importantly is to engage, there’s no point simply posting a photo and then expecting the world and his wife to see it, it won’t happen, the only way you can grow your following and make Instagram know that you mean business is to be consistently active. The more active you are and the more you engage the more likely your posts are to do well. So get liking and get commenting, and always remember to reply when people comment on your posts, I mean if they’ve taken the time to comment it’s only polite to reply!
I tend to find the best times to post are 7am in the morning and 7pm in the evening, these are times when more people tend to be online. I find Sundays are a little more laid back so I can get away with posting a little later. What ever time I post I will make sure that for the following hour I reply to messages as quickly as I can, this is always easier said then done when you’re trying to get the kids ready for school etc but I always try my best, Instagram seems to like you for be quick off the mark! Other messages I’ll come back to as and when I can. If you’re commenting on posts make sure these are longer than four words (not including emojis) Lots of one/two-word comments can lead Instagram to think you’re a bot and you really don’t want that!!
Examples of stories, tell people what you’re doing, where you’ve been!
Stories are your friend, it’s another great way of getting yourself noticed, I always try to make sure I’m updating my stories on a regular basis, there doesn’t need to be hundreds in there, sometimes I even think this can be a little off-putting, Just a handful. And don’t be afraid to be a little more relaxed in your stories, it’s a great way of letting people know a little more about you! Your other friend is hashtags, you are allowed to use 30 on any one post, use them all!! That’s 30 different groups that your photo will then feature in. There are loads of hashtag competitions and challenges out there, these are a great way of joining in and connecting with other people playing along! You can also tag up to 20 accounts in your photo, again always a good idea to tag as many as you can. If you don’t know what hashtags to use then go and take look at what your favourite accounts are using, there’s absolutely no shame in a bit of blatant copying here!
An example of tagging in the photo, tag brands whose products you feature in your photo!
An example of using the full 30 hashtags.
Lastly and most importantly, the content needs to be good, clear photos in good light is what I’m talking about! Always try to take your photos in day light, this is hard I know, especially for those who may work all day and step out the office into darkness! I tend to take a whole batch of photos all at the same time, then I know I’ve got enough content for the week and won’t be having last-minute panics that I don’t have a photo for any particular day. Make your text engaging, asking questions or wanting people’s opinions is always good as this opens up conversation. My opinion however is to be yourself, the great thing about this community is that there’s room for everyone, I can read posts that are hilariously funny and make me want to like and comment but equally I will do the same because someone is just being a genuinely decent person!
Remember though that it’s not real life! Don’t get caught up on the numbers and don’t let it get you down if you feel you’re not getting the engagement you want. The whole point is to enjoy yourself whilst engaging with like-minded people, the rest will come! Theres no quick or magical way to grow an Instagram account, it’s about time, consistency and just sticking with it!!
I hope you found this interesting and maybe even helpful, please let me know though if you have any questions about anything above, like I say this is based on my opinion and experience, I’m no expert!!