October 25, 2016

So You Wanna Instagram? How to Grow Your Instagram Following + Get Real Engagement

So you want to start or grow your Instagram account? I get it, Instagram is now the “it” social networking site for people between 25 and 45, an amazingly fun and very social community, and has opportunities galore to grow your brand with very little investment. fullsizerender

Instagram is so fun because it is visual first, which is crucial in the age of smartphones.  80-85% of you are reading this post on your phone, which means less available space for words.  And let’s be honest, how much do we actually “read” nowadays?

Another allure for Instagram is that it looks fun and easy.  I can assure you, that while most influencers are having fun, it is by no means easy.  Each post takes me on average 15-25 minutes, and that’s once I actually get the picture that I want to use.

It also seems like a quick way to “get free stuff” and “work with brands.”  Just last night, 60 Minutes did a segment on influencers and how much money there is in the space.

So let’s pause here fora moment.  Because if you are in something just to make money, or gain Insta-fame, people can sense this from a mile away.

Let’s go back a few years ago, when I first started Club Momme.  At that time, the “it” social networks were facebook pages for business and twitter.  Facebook was the harder network to tackle and as much as you want to build your Instagram following, we wanted to create a fanbase on Facebook.  Twitter for me has always grown organically, albeight not super fast.  But I just can’t be confined to 140 characters, so twitter for me has always been an afterthought.  Unless I need to know the news now!

I started a personal Instagram account for my travels, and loved playing with the filters.  But that was it.  When Facebook acquired Instagram, I lost interest in the site, as did many others.  There was widespread fear that Facebook would “own” our pictures, and that was not what I had signed up for.

So you want to start or grow your Instagram account? I get it, Instagram is now the "it" social networking site for people between 25 and 45, an amazingly fun and very social community, and has opportunities galore to grow your brand with very little investment.

At the time, we were one of the only people doing giveaways, one of a much smaller group who were being sent products and invited to events.  The space was all about “bloggers” and there was a real shift towards quality over quantity. (More on the difference between bloggers and influencers in another post!)

So then I had my daughter in January 2014 and I had a LOT of time on my hands while sitting and nursing, or awake at 3 am when I couldn’t go back to sleep after a feeding.  This is right about when the Instagram wave started taking off.

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Mid-August 2015

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September 9, 2015

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January 3, 2016

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April 10, 2016

Being an early adopter always has it’s benefits (I started on Periscope almost the day it was widely launched) and I absolutely fell in love with the site.  Pretty soon I adjusted our social strategy so I was solely doing Instagram, and we were splitting the other sites so our audience could connect with a few different voices.

From the day I started the Club Momme instagram until the day I stepped away from managing it on April 21, 2016, I had built the audience to over 38,000 fans.  Most of that growth came in the last 9 months, as Instagram usage exploided and I really started honing in on what worked.  And to be honest, I was often spending 3+ hours a day on the site.  I sometimes felt tied to my phone.  I was ready for a change.

I started my personal account during the summer of 2015, knowing I would eventually step away from Club Momme.  Because to be honest, my business account WAS my personal account.  Go back to pictures before late November 2015 and just about every picture is me or my kids.  I took almost everyone of them.  Then the strategy shifted a bit and I started focusing on sharing the best, most amazing pictures and instagrammers that I could find, while still sharing events, brand updates, etc. fullsizerender-2

Until Spring 2016, you could not easily switch accounts.  So I almost never posted on my personal account.  It was such a pain.  But the real reason was, I didn’t have an identity.  I had no idea what my voice was, what my perspective was, what types of pictures I wanted to post.

And you know what? It took me some time to separate my identity with that of my business.  Just like sometimes it is hard to go out, away from your child, and you feel like, doesn’t everyone KNOW I am a mom? (And then you look at their photos while checking out at the grocery store 🙂

I’ve learned a lot and am so excited to share much of it with you here, each week.  I will be posting new tips, tricks and insights on Mondays.  I will also be adding in more business advice, for you girlbosses out there!  Please comment if there is something you want me to share below.

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