So, last weekend I achieved a huge milestone – a whopping 50,000 followers on my Instagram profile. Grasping the amount of people who have taken an interest in my life and my home is overwhelming – that’s the size of an entire populated football stadium! It’s something I will never take for granted and I truly appreciate every single person who has clicked that follow button. It’s not been a quick process, it’s been a lot of time, effort and hard work.
It all started around 18 months ago. I had bought myself a new lamp from Next Home, which you will all know, is my favourite shop. I only had a handful of followers, mainly my friends and family and I decided to share a photo of my sparkly new purchase! I uploaded a pretty photo which included a hashtag #nexthome. The following day I logged on and found that the photo had gained around 50 likes and I couldn’t believe it! I would usually get one or two as I had so few followers and I only really used the app to make my photo look pretty! And so my journey began. I became rather fond of posting my latest home ware goodies and started to become addicted to taking inspiration from others. I would search hashtags such as #homedecor and from there I found some beautiful and inspirational home accounts. This brings me onto my first tip…..
Always include hashtags
Make sure you include relevant and popular hashtags in your photos. Not only sites and shops where you have purchased things, but also include the big accounts such as Interior4all, where people look for inspiration. If someone fancies a new Laura Ashley wallpaper and they search for recent tags, you want them to stumble across your photo and notice you. I don’t like the look at hashtags in my posts as it can look a little messy. I post mine in a comment immediately after I upload. I have my frequently used tags in a saved list which I copy and paste and then add in anything relevant to my photo such as #boysbedroom. Have a look at the popular accounts that inspire you. Check out their hashtags for ideas on where to start and get noticed!
Find your niche
Find your passion and share it with others, whatever that may me! Whether it’s make up, fashion or interiors, you can make a success of it with good content and quality photos. Try and stick to your niche to establish yourself. If your account is to showcase your skills in interior design, don’t post a random selfie of you and your hubby on a Saturday evening, as tempting as it may be! Keep that for your Insta stories where people are generally keen to see more of the personality behind the camera! You want your feed to have a clean, aesthetically pleasing theme. You’ll notice I’m not keen on posting colour! If someone is following you because they love your home, its off putting to have random things pop up on their feed that isn’t relevant to their interest. Whilst that may sound harsh, it’s true and if you want to keep your followers engaged, stick to your niche on your feed.
Post good quality photos daily
I recently designated an entire blog post on how to make your photos look beautiful and professional which can be found here (LINK). Edit your photos, make sure they are sharp, clear and have good lighting. You should post regularly and as consistently as possible to keep people interested in you and keep increasing your following. Once daily is ample, posting too much can be irritating and clog up people’s feed in a spammy fashion. It’s all about a balance of being consistent but not too much.
Post at the prime time!
You will find that certain images you post are slow to generate likes and others will sky rocket! Try to assess when your followers are most likely to engage. For me, the peak times to post are evenings around 8pm. That’s generally when the dinner is finished, the kids are in bed and your followers are perhaps sitting down for the evening and reaching for their phones. I also find that early mornings around 7am are popular too. I think many of my followers, like me, go on their phone upon waking up to have a quick scroll before getting out of bed. Weekends are also generally much more popular than during the week too. Try to capture your audience when they’re most likely going to be free to have a look on their phones. A Monday morning at 11am is going to be quiet!
Engage with your followers
Try to interact with your followers as much as possible and show your personality! There’s nothing worse than when a photo has been posted and has a load of comments asking where an item is from and there are no replies from the account. Of course, you can’t answer every single question and it can be frustrating being asking where things are from when you’ve taken the time to tag the product in the photo and answered the question previously. However, it’s important to take time to try and be as helpful and as engaging as possible. Like and comment on other people’s photographs which you enjoy. The more you do this, the more you will pop up on other’s feeds throughout the day.
Change to a business account
Once you’ve started to gain a good amount of followers it’s helpful to switch to a business account on the Instagram app. Annoyingly, Instagram requires you to have a business Facebook page to use this facility, but it you don’t particularly want your images on Facebook you can simply make a blank page with a title. The business account enables you to see where your followers are mainly based, statistics like their gender and age and what your most popular times for engagement are. It’s a great base to provide statistics to potential businesses who may want to collaborate with you. It very helpfully shows how many people have saw your posts (as opposed to how many likes you’ve received) which is important if you’re trying to make a business from your page, or indeed if you are a business!
It’s easy to get carried away with the hype. Stay true to yourself and only post products that you love. People will offer to send you things along the way as you gain your following in excess of 20k. It will be very obvious if the item isn’t something you’d normally buy. I stick to this religiously. I’ve been sent wax melts and candles for example which are poor quality that I simply wouldn’t share on my page just because it was sent to me. Be picky and only share things that you love and are passionate about. It will quickly become apparent if you promote poor quality items just because they were free! Your reputation is important if you want your followers to trust you and invest in things which you love too.
Finally, I want to say another huge thank you. I find the Instagram community to be a warm and friendly platform and without you I wouldn’t have had to confidence and the motivation to create this blog which I have grown to love. Virtual hugs to you all and have a wonderful weekend!