Since I started documenting life as a first-time mum, I have had quite a few different messages asking me for some advice and tips on how to grow your Instagram and blog. Searching the web for how to start blogging or creating a brand for yourself on Instagram, can be a bit overwhelming. So I thought I’d share some of my own tips and advice from my journey on Instagram and my experience in the blogging world to hopefully give you some ideas on how to grow your own Instagram or blog. This year so far has brought some growth to both my platforms and I feel like I am now at the stage where I can talk about some of the things I’ve learnt along the way!
WHEN DID I START?
I first started my Instagram and blog when Arlo was born. I didn’t really know how long I’d keep it up for- I had an Instagram account before but wouldn’t describe myself as very active- just the odd photo on a night out or of a plate of food I though looked nice! But my new hobby was taking pictures of my baby… and a lot of them!
I didn’t really know too much about the blogging world, I just knew I loved to write. I studied Journalism at university so I guess I also thought that it would be a good way for me while I was on maternity leave to create a platform for myself and keep up my writing.
WHAT DID I USE TO CREATE MY BLOG?
At first I started with a free domain, but then as time went on and I saw that I was growing, I decided to invest in a domain name so it essentially became my blog name with the co.uk (without the WordPress name in). I then wanted it to have a more professional look, so I chose a theme and used Pipdig to do so. Again it’s a little investment and not something you have to do.
WHY DID I START?
As a first-time mum, with an unexpected pregnancy in my third year of university, at 22 I knew I hadn’t followed the conventional route to motherhood and that’s what I wanted to talk about. Being pregnant at university, the stress of juggling my studies and a part time job with pregnancy, hiding it from my peers and lecturers for a long time- all of that I wanted to share. I think the main reason for me wanting to talk about this was because I didn’t have time to read blogs, or follow other mum’s journey’s who were similar to mine. I wasn’t aware of the massive community of mums online and kick myself now for not delving into the blogging world while I was pregnant as I know it would have helped me a lot.
Pregnancy and maternity leave can be a lonely place, especially if you haven’t got many friends who are pregnant too or have been through the same thing and social media can be amazing for meeting likeminded people and connecting with other mums online and in the real world too.
I also wanted to share our journey as a young family and our decision to move out of London away from everyone we knew and to start a brand new life by the sea. The jump for us was huge and this was an experience I also hadn’t really seen a lot of talk about on social media and wanted to be able to share our journey with any other families who have done the same thing, or considering their options.
So my pregnancy at uni as a young mum, and our move to the coast were the two parts of my life that really pushed me to start. I wanted and still strive for my Instagram and blog to be an honest space where I talk openly about real-life topics that are personal and sometimes not, to be able to help, inspire or for people just to simply resonate with.
FINDING YOUR NICHE
Although that is why I started, it’s not only what I talk about, and sometimes it can be hard to sit and really pinpoint what it is that your platforms are offering. Essentially you are your niche, you are unique and what you are offering is original because its by you. But to help you grow your Instagram if you think about the type of content you are putting out specifically, try to narrow it down, find out what it is you want to say and share and try to have that message at the forefront of your content, and then stick to it.
But honestly being consistent is really hard and probably what most of us struggle with the most. Especially those with children! Some would even describe it as a bit of a battle, trying to find the time to do everything else in the day, and then sit down and focus on your social media. It can be hard.
WHERE DO I GET MY TRAFFIC
This may not be considered the right way, but I rely mostly on Instagram for giving me my traffic. Experts will advise that you should have more than one platform (I do have a Facebook page too) but I find it much more enjoyable and easier to share my content on Instagram. I then have recently been getting a lot more traffic from Search Engines like Google. I’ve touched up a little bit on my SEO skills in recent months and here are some simple blogging SEO tips.
When I decided to write this post I put out a little questions box on Instagram stories just so that some of my followers could ask me something to cover and one of the things that came up a lot was engagement.
How do I increase my engagement on Instagram?
Instagram have made it so hard to show up on people’s feeds with their ever changing new algorithms and I think the one thing we all want to improve on is engagement.
MY TOP TIPS
Addressing your audience. Asking them things, getting them involved in your posts as much as you can. This will generate more comments giving your post a higher boost on people’s feed meaning more will see it.
Engaging with other accounts similar to yours. I have always said from the start that I have always replied back to people even if it’s just a quick ‘thank you.’ And if I have the time to return the love and support back I always try to comment on other people’s accounts. Engage with their content, like their posts, leave them a nice comment and start to build relationships with your audience.
Talk about stuff that will get a reaction. People love to find out something new, people love to be surprised, and people loved to be shocked. Sometimes being controversial or talking about something topical in the news or happening in the world right now will get your followers talking and they won’t be able to not comment on your post!
Be personal & try to open up. People have chosen to follow you for a reason- they want to find out more about you and watch your journey. If your account is about you and your life, then make it personal. Show up regularly on your stories if you can, even if it’s not face on, even voicing your opinion through text people will get to know your tone more. So if you’re willing to take the jump and maybe step outside your comfort zone a bit, open up some more!
Be different. Whether that’s through your style of writing captions, the filter you put on your photos, stand out from the crowd and give your followers something that they can’t get anywhere else.
SIDE NOTE- I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to join these engagement groups but I just won’t ever do it. I want to build up trust with my audience and I think my advice to anyone else would be to try and grow your engagement organically.
How do I get more engagement on my stories?
The more stories I do across a day the more views I will get over all. If I do one story in the entire day – I’ll have no where near the amount of views I’d get if I was to say post 20 stories.
Instagram will push your story to the front of people’s story list if there has been a lot of engagement on your stories. For example if you’ve received a lot of DMS or people have interacted with your polls, quizzes or questions boxes. Try to do these interactive stories often, get to know your audience, let them get to know you too. That will start to build a more engaged audience for your account and give you more of a presence!
How do I increase traffic to my blog?
Someone on my poll that I put out about this post asked about getting more traffic to their blog and I think this is such a hard question.
Essentially this is what every blogger is trying to figure out. It’s never ending.
My advice would be to keep looking and keeping track of your top performing blog posts – what do your audience like the most? What gets them to your site more?
Once you’ve figured that out – try to do more of that – but still stay true to what you want to post about even it’s not performing that well as there will still be an audience for that – likelihood is it’s just taking a bit more time.
This is the same for instagram. If you have a business account Instagram has some really clever and simple tools to check your insights and breakdown your posts by likes, engagements and much more. See what photos are doing the best, and try to do more of that!
Another tip for how to grow your blog would be to engage with other blogs. I am going to make it my goal to read more blogs similar to mine. This starts to build relationships with other bloggers and will help get them over to your site too.
My last bit of advice for how to grow your Instagram and blog would be to enjoy it. Growing either your Instagram or blog is hard work. It’s not over night, and not every post will get you followers or get that engagement that you were after. But if you don’t enjoy it, it’ll start to show and you won’t get to where you want to be. If you put in the time and effort into making your page something to be proud of, then it will pay off. It’s not a race, it takes some people three months, some 5 years. Think about what you actually want to get out of it, stick to it and then rest will come easily!
If you have any other advice or tips that you’d like to add then please feel free to do so in the comments below, we are all learning! Thank you for reading x