Let’s talk Instagram, nicknamed IG. We are insta-addicts!!
But unlike a lot of social media, I don’t think being addicted to this network is a bad thing. Why? Because it keeps family in touch with the goings-on from afar. We’re twin sisters who run Lolly Jane, and we live 3 hours from each other. *Insert sobbing here* My 4 year old and Kristi’s 3 year old are best buddies. When my Laney is feeling homesick for Kristi’s little Kase, she scrolls through Kristi’s feed and gets her fix. Since Kristi takes unique pictures that really capture her boys’ personalities, it’s so fun for Laney and my other kids to see what they’re up to…like this cute shot! (See Mariel’s post below on WHAT Instagram is and everything you need to know.) I’m going to preface this post by sending you to my good friend Andrea from Queen B and Me, she wrote an amazing article on how to grow an instagram following.
We want to add onto her 10 tips and elaborate how we’ve been using Instagram to grow organically. We didn’t set out to have a ton of followers but here are tips that have worked for us. And I don’t mean just big numbers, but more of a personal following where we have meaningful relationships which is what we prefer. And check out the Crafting Chick’s post on 10 More Ideas for being a Successful IG’er!
Kristi and I have set up some personal rules of Instagram to not LOSE followers:
- Instagram is a safe zone. We don’t use it to push paid products on people. We will, however, share attractive pictures about stores we’re shopping in, fun products we find, blog related projects we’re working on, fun giveaways, a yummy dessert, etc. There is a difference and people can see right through paid pictures. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, we just try to avoid it.
- Comment back! We get that some people have thousands of followers but it really irks me when I see someone tag who they’re following with a simple request “Hey @lollyjaneblog, what’s that paint color?” and the follow-ee ignores them. Good way to lose followers.
- Over-posting. We’ve been known to stop following friends for posting six different pictures of the same activity or event within minutes of each other when it’s nearly identical to the first five. It clogs our feed and we want to see what the other several hundred peeps we follow are up to as well. Use your collage apps, people!
- If you’re post-happy, consider having a second private account for more intimate pictures. My hubby has a dangerous job where he was in the news a couple months ago. It worried me that my kids’ names would get dragged into the media so I created a private account where I’m free to post a million pics of my kids everyday life. And since I’m private, none of the above rules apply because I’m posting for ME, so feel free to not follow (; I’m turning my private account into a book at the end of every year so I do go a little IG crazy, but I only have a couple hundred followers who are close friends and family and I wouldn’t be offended if they didn’t want to see a ton of pictures of mostly kids, low crafts since I save it for our @lollyjaneblog account. I will say switching between 2 accounts is annoying, worth it, but annoying.
- Watch your political stance. We all have opinions, it’s the beauty that makes us different. If you have an IG account to grow your blog (like us), be careful about what you post. We often share our love for our Heavenly Father, we’ve very obviously Mormons, lol but when it comes to politics or controversial issues, we keep our big mouths shut so we don’t get in trouble with anyone (:
Tips we’ve done and gain followers:
- Be real. Don’t just post beautiful edited pictures of yourself and your flawless life, no one is perfect so you risk the chance as coming across as fake. Show your silly self off, it’s fun to see the “unprofessional” side of people you only know online! That being said, don’t be selfie-crazy, please…I will unfollow you (;
- Don’t just “like” picture after picture, comment! And although I do use “so cute”, “love it!”, “darling” a lot, sincere comments mean more. The more I comment on people’s pics, the more likely they are to click over to you and follow back!
- Use your hash tags! Maybe it’s just me but I’m hash tag happy! Sometimes they’re used to tease but really, I do love a good hashtag like #diy #paint #makeover #homedecor #distressed #vintage, etc. I use 1-10 hashtags on my posts because I want to get my pictures out there amid millions of other IG users. And in reality, I click on the hash tags I used because I like to see similar inspiration. If I love their IG account, I’ll follow, “like” their pic and leave a fun comment telling them so “oh-em-gee, that chippy dresser is to.die.for, please send it my way, kthanks!” (; It grabs their attention and they’re more likely to click over and follow you back!
- Take unique pictures~see below. How cute is this baby? And how much cuter is it that he’s been decorated by his toddler brother in potato head paraphernalia. And how stinkin cute is Kristi’s app abilities to dress up a simple picture? (See Leigh Anne’s post on App Layering)
- When you have downtime, click on people that comment’s account. A lot of them are private so you can’t get to know them but a lot are public and it’s fun to see if you have any similar friends or style. I’ve followed complete strangers because their style is stinkin cute and after commenting back and forth, I feel like we have a decent friendship. Not a “hey, let’s exchange numbers” but I feel comfortable commenting on their acc and they obviously feel the same. Hey, if you’re public, it’s not creepy, right??
- Tag your friends!! Instagram just came out with “Add People” which takes up less room on your post. Instead of saying “Me and @awesomefriendsnameshere had a fun dinner date!” you can say “Tonight’s dinner was a blast, sure love AWESOME FRIEND’S FIRST NAME” then add her handle when you tag her. Nifty!
- If you’re a blogger, make sure your IG account is linked on your homepage. And if you run a contest and have “extra entries”, throw in ‘Follow on Instagram’ for more followers. That person is on your blog for a reason, they dig your style!-they’ll dig your IG style as well and will most likely follow you there too! That’s the fun of social networks, they’re all interlinked! On our facebook page, we have an instagram link next to our ‘About Us’.
- If you want to connect with brands, follow and tag them!! There are real people behind those accounts and the more you reference them, the more likely they are to comment back because they’ll keep seeing your name in their notifications! Check out the pic below, notice how I was at Home Depot? I spent a lot of money there that day for my monthly craft night so I snapped a shot and tagged them. They commented back “We do love our crafty Home Depot ladies” Fun!
I think that’s it for now! I hope these crazy tips have helped! Awh, we love IG! We rarely scroll Facebook anymore, IG is quick and easy and they even have a viiiiiiiiiideo feature now, wahoo!!
Here are the posts from my blog/IG buddies I was referring too:
- Mariel/Or So She Says —> Why Instagram and the Basics
- Kirsten/The Crafting Chicks —> 10 Ideas for Guaranteed Instagram Awesomeness
- Leigh Anne/Your Homebased Mom —> Great Apps to Use With Instagram
Be sure and follow these cute gals on Instagram along with me!!
Aaaaand..if you’re signed up on IG, you’ll be ready for the ‘Loving Life…’ Instagram project that will be announced on the blog this coming Monday! It will give you some mega motivation to post cute pics AND you’ll win some legit prizes. Stay tuned!
Do you have any Instagram tips??