Imagery by Hana Dallimore Photography

So in the blogging industry, and pretty much any industry that uses the internet, Instagram has become the one point of call to sell yourself or your product. Since I started blogging over four years ago, everything has changed, and it has become almost impossible to thrive without using the app. Luckily for me, I have always loved Instagram and was using it way before I even started my blog. I may not be as big as a lot of other bloggers, but I am pretty proud of how much mine has grown organically. With the changes Instagram made last year it has been a real struggle to grow and build my brand, as every step has been put in place to make it almost impossible to do well without paying. Which, to a certain extent I completely understand.

Every blogger event I attended in 2018, the main topic of conversation was Instagram, and more specifically the ALGORITHM. That word has been almost as annoying as Brexit, but I get why people are annoyed, as it is the main platform we have to get our blogs seen.

I wanted to write about how I personally built my Instagram, why I love using it and most importantly how to avoid getting stressed when going through a bad spell. So, I started my Instagram in 2013 and it was originally just a space where I shared a few images of what was going on in my life, the things I loved and a lot of fashion. To be honest, this hasn’t really changed. But what was very different then was obviously just that I wasn’t as structured in how often I posted and the quality of my content was much poorer. Although, at the beginning that was fine. I needed to gradually build up my following, and to do that I needed my content to be relatable and realistic. I had never been near a camera, so I didn’t want to make out that I was an amazing photographer when I wasn’t.

In the first couple of years, I tried to post as much as possible, which would have been around 4 to 5 times a week. I then always used as many hashtags as possible, engaging with everyone on my feed. I didn’t have lots of spare time during the first few years as I was studying, but any spare time I had did go into it. After about 2 years, I then realised that I needed to do more to grow, so I googled a few ways and the biggest was engagement. From then on, I would like hundreds of photos a day from the hashtags that I used and instantly my account began to grow. I never really did the ‘follow unfollow’ tactic, nor commented on people I didn’t know, but now I do tend to try out new things each month to help with my growth. So the biggest change really in helping my account develop was liking.

In 2017 I then started to take my blog a lot more seriously, which was when I first started to work with photographers. Suddenly the quality of my content dramatically improved, and with that the rate at which my account grew. Now, please don’t think I am suggesting that everyone needs professional photos to grow, and must spend money to get likes, but for me that is how it worked out. Obviously, I wasn’t just using the photos on my Instagram, so it was justified as I was also using every single one on my blog. My advice would be, if you want to develop your content, that doesn’t necessarily mean using a photographer like I did, but it could just be bettering your own skills and developing a more structured theme. That way you have a much more desirable theme for potential followers and in turn it will become easier to organise everything as you always know what you are creating.

So that is how I built up my following, and nothing has really changed to this day. I have tried out different tactics to grow my accounts, but the ones that still prove to be the most successful are liking and following. They help me grow my account the most quickly, and as far as I am concerned, organically.

With that being said, there is one big change that I have made, purely because of the way social media platforms now work. Did you guess it? Ads. No I never buy followers, but I do use Facebook and Instagram ads. I don’t use them as much as I would for my business clients, and I only ever use boosted posts as opposed to dark ads, but I find that they are one of the only ways that my accounts now grow. My budget each month is £12 and it is an amount that I can easily justify, knowing that my account is going to grow  little during the week and be exposed to a new audience. Whether you agree with ads or not, the way Instagram has changed has made it virtually impossible to really grow without them. Companies pay thousands of pounds to advertise themselves, so why is it not okay for a blogger to advertise their own brand? The only difference between it is that the companies are advertising a product or service, whereas as a blogger we are the product and service. Don’t be afraid to use ads, and never think that you have to spend a fortune because you really don’t.

So, that is how I have grown and continue to do so. If you have any advice for me, or any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Shop this post:

Coat – Zara

Scarf – Edinburgh Woollen Mill

Jeans – Mango

Boots – Ted Baker

Bag – DKNY

 

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I have not been paid to feature any brands, and all views and opinions are my own.

 

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