A while ago, someone asked me to do a blog post about my Instagram. At the time, it seemed a strange request but I have been thinking about it whilst wandering in the blogging wilderness and more and more it seemed like a good way to get back into blogsphere.
Instagram for me has been a fairly long, organic process and the way in which I use it has changed almost unrecognisably in the 6 years since I downloaded the app.
When I first became pregnant with my eldest in 2010, I joined an app called Babybump. As with all of these sorts of apps you were able to track your pregnancy and symptoms but there was also a forum to ask questions. I became quite friendly with some of the ladies on there during my less than fun pregnancy, and once the babies were born we moved to Instagram as a way to share photos and ask for advice. And that’s what Instagram was for me when I joined in March 2012. An extension of that little community.
Over time I discovered some really inspirational accounts – I remember @we.made.this.home and @rachaelcooper_ being some of the first. And began to get really interested in the photography side of things. I’d always loved interiors and it also seemed to be a window into other people’s homes. Gradually, Instagram became more of a hobby to practise photography and a journal of day-to-day life, as I began to build up a community of pocket pals on there.
I can’t remember when it was that I decided to open my account up so that it wasn’t private any more… It was within the last 3 years I think because I felt like I was missing out on some of the opportunities and fun – hashtag competitions and so on, whilst I was private.
People often ask me how I’ve built my Instagram. I’m just a normal person, I don’t do it for a living (yet 😉) and it’s not a business account. And yet I have over ten thousand followers. It still astounds me that a small football stadium worth of people are interested in my ordinary life, and sometimes it feels a bit strange too. I’m careful with what I share because of it, but not cagey or dishonest. Most of my followers are genuine, lovely, like minded people. But you do have to be aware of the risks.
I can’t pinpoint an exact moment when my account took off. But there are a few posts which seem to have “gone nuts” as I put it, and increased my following. I’ve shared some of the photos throughout this post. Oddly enough, this only seemed to happen at the beginning of this year when we visited Elmley Nature Reserve with this post in particular.
Whilst we were there, I noticed Elmley’s numbers growing rapidly (though I obviously can’t take all the credit!) and a large number of people contacted me to say that had booked on the back of our visit. This was an eye opener for me. I realised that my Instagram account had a value and that I could use it to promote things I loved but also gain opportunities from it. Since then I have worked with M&Co, @the.home.of.handmade, Betteshanger Park, Explore Kent and soon will be collaborating with Etsy to promote a project close to my heart.
When people ask how I get inspiration for my posts, I always say I post what I love. This means my feed is quite varied – sometimes it’s an interiors shot, sometimes a flatlay, sometimes (often) my kids on the beach. I don’t stick to a theme knowingly, or worry too much about how my gallery is curated, as long as I love the photo. I’m honest with my captions and always try to engage with my followers. So its not rocket science.
Of course I still have wobbles when a post doesn’t go down so well or when I lose followers, which is sometimes silly, but mainly because I care about it a lot. I’ve found some incredibly special people through Instagram. Other accounts have inspired my home, activities I do with my kids, and my general outlook on life. Taking photos makes you search for the beauty in everything which can’t be a bad outlook to have?
And for the future? I’m going to continue to pursue the opportunities these little squares offer me, making sure my account stays authentic and promotes what’s close to my heart, whether that’s a small business or my local area. And use it as a journal for my very ordinary family life.
I really hope you continue to enjoy my feed and say hi. The best bit about Instagram for me is the people behind those squares.