So this week has been super crazy busy but I just wanted to sit down for a second and share a little advice about instagram. Now I'll just be honest here and admit that from the beginning, I have never been obsessed with getting a ton of followers. I opened a separate instagram account for my business mainly just to not bug friends and family who aren't as into crochet beanies as I am (ha ha) and I never in a million years thought I'd get past 200 followers. I remember about peeing my pants in shock when I reached 500 just before Christmas. And I still am in disbelief when I look and see that I am now nearing 1,800. So anyway, I'm still in the process of growing but I've had quite a few people ask me how I've gotten the following that I have so here some tips to get you started.
TIP # 1 - TAKE QUALITY PHOTOS
Try to define your style.
Do you like bright, crisp, colorful yet minamilstic photos? (I do! I do!) Or you do you like misty, warm, earthy background type photos?
Do you like to share pictures of your cat or your kids? Or are you strictly business?
Whatever your style is, try to keep every photo you post within these little boundaries you set for yourself.
Why do you ask?
Because potential new followers who scroll through your feed like to see cohesion. All your pictures should relate to each other in some sense or another while still telling your story. Potential followers like to know exactly what they will get on their feed if they click that follow button. I think you gain the most followers this way, having similar photos that all fit within the same style. I bet you a shiny nickel if you look through the instagram feeds of the accounts you look up to, the ones with an insane amount of followers, their photos all share similarities in style and content.
I'll admit though, this is something I struggle with. I'm still defining my style and sometimes I maybe share photos that break this rule. But that's okay.
Also, show behind the scenes stuff. Don't just post product photos and shout at the world "Buy my stuff!" Your viewers love seeing the process and effort that goes into your creations. They love to get to know you as the person behind your shop.
Use good lighting.
Not many like to see dark, grainy photos. (Especially when you are trying to convince others to buy the things you create.) People like to be able to see exactly what it is that you have to offer. This could just be a personal thing but I really believe in good lighting. On cloudy days, I'll wait until the sun pops out for a second and then hurry and take a bunch of pictures.
I also try to take a bunch of photos (because I'm a crazy perfectionist). There's nothing worse than going to upload a photo and realize it's blurry or something is out of whack in the background.
For every one picture I post to instagram, I've taken between 10 - 30 (maybe sometimes fifty) to choose from. I just like to have options! Sometimes I'll accidentally stumble into an interesting angle or something about one photo that just works better or is more pleasing to the eye than the rest.
Find good photo editing apps for your phone.
My personal favorites? VSCOcam and PicTapGo.
VSCOcam is seriously amazing. I'm pretty sure it's a free app but you have the option to pay a little if you'd like extra filters. From this app you can edit exposure, contrast, saturation, sharpness, and so much more. Plus on top of all the basic photo editing features, there are some awesome filters to add extra oomph to your photos as well. I'd be willing to bet this is one of the most commonly used photo editing apps because all the time I see #vscocam on others photos. Just a little fun fact for ya.
A new app that I've kinda fallen in love with and am still playing with is PicTapGo. My personal style, I'm noticing, is that I like my pictures to look like there's no filter. I just want my photo to look bright and crisp and have little pops of color. PicTapGo works so well for me because it has this feature when you can build a 'recipe'. I can edit one photo, adding the desired amount of brighten, contrast, color, etc. and then save the combination of edits as a 'recipe' to add to future photos. So that way all photos can be edited the exactly same. Now these recipes don't always work for every single photo but it's cool and quick feature that works for most of my photos. This feature is so handy, especially if you realize you constantly apply the same edits over and over.
TIP # 2 - GET SOCIAL
I guess this depends on what type of following you'd like to build but personally, I hope that my followers feel connected to me. They know that I'm friendly and that I really do try to answer back to each comment they leave me and that I appreciate all the love I've received.
I feel like it's kind of asking a lot to just take good photos, post them, and expect people to just automatically follow your account and like your photos. You gotta put in the effort. Show them that you're an actual human posting photos, not some robot. Let your personality shine.
Plus it's always a good idea (and totally gives you karma points I'm sure) to do for others what you'd like done for you. If you want people to like and comment on your photos, take the time to like and comment on others photos. Share the love. Get social. Make friends. Most of all, have fun.
TIP #3 - USE HASHTAGS
I kind of feel like a little old lady sometime with how out of touch I can be with technology and I remember not understanding the point of hashtags for the longest time. (I kind of still don't fully understand them. But I definitely know they are important.) I can see a huge difference in the number of likes, comments and new followers I get when I put hashtags versus when I don't (aka when I forget haha).
Moment of honesty, I'm a creeper and stalked big instagram accounts to see what hashtags they were using that worked for them. Kind of embarrassing to admit that but I'm guessing at least a couple of you have done the same thing (I hope). Don't copy their hashtags word for word. Just get a general idea of what applies to your photos and style or what could new phrases that could help bring new traffic to your account.
Try to use specific hashtags versus generic. General hashtags like #love will have millions (try 900,000,00) of photos for your picture to quickly get buried in. Your photo will seriously get lost within seconds. But if you use something more specific like #lovetocrochet, you not only have a better chance of being found but more importantly, you'll be found most likley by other crochet lovers who might like your picture and want to follow you. Find your niche.
Personal tip, put the hashtags in the comment section. I like the look of it better. No one really wants to look at all the hashtags you use and my hashtags usually get buried in the comment section anyway so it just looks more clean.
BONUS TIP - BE YOURSELF/DON'T TRY TOO HARD
Just have fun with it guys. Be yourself. Live authentic. Ultimately post what you'd like to post, say what you'd like to say, and do what you want to do. Take all this advice with a grain of salt. Don't worry about what the other guys are doing.
It's so easy to get caught up in the worry of numbers but numbers don't matter, it's the people who do. I'd rather a handful of people who really appreciate me as a person, like my work and all that I have to offer instead of thousands of followers who don't really care about me or know who I am.
Well that's all I got for today. If I think of more tips in the future, I'll be sure to share them.
And I'm so thrilled to announce that my kitchen ceiling is finally complete!! I'm thinking of doing a little home reveal next week on the blog. Don't get too excited though because I don't quite have a pinterest worthy house (yet) but I'm feeling pretty proud of how far we've come so I'll just go ahead and share some pictures next week anyway ;)
Thanks guys! Happy Wendesday!