Building Your Instagram Brand

February 23, 2017


At the start of 2017 I asked you all what you wanted to see more of here and a lot of you responded that you would love to hear more about the business side of things, and an overwhelming number of those responses involved tips around Instagram. While I certainly don’t believe that I am the Instagram expert, there are plenty of people with larger followings out there, I have built a business through Household and Instagram is a huge part of that. There are plenty of Instagram how to’s out there and while they are super helpful I don’t think that they work or apply to everyone. There’s not a perfect recipe for success and that’s what makes building something of your own so challenging and exciting. Below I’ve put together five tips I hope almost anyone can benefit from on Instagram. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

1. Build a Community and be part of it. When I first started Household it was not for the sole intention of starting a business. I was expecting my first baby, was the first of my friend group to be entering motherhood and had moved across the country from my family and network. Instagram became a safe space to meet other moms, talk about my pregnancy and feel less alone. It was only after building a community and really being active that Household gained traction and I began to see that it could actually be a business. A few things to remember if you want the community aspect of this to work – you have to genuinely want it for the right reasons, you need to engage with your community and listen to them! I’m a big pusher of responding to comments. No influencer is Beyonce – it’s part of their business and they can make the time to really be part of the community they’re creating. This includes engaging with content that you appreciate and enjoy!

2. Partner with a photographer. It’s no secret that Amy Frances is the one who captures 99% of what you see on my feed. The truth is that I’m not a professional photographer. I love styling shoots, putting together ideas for campaigns, writing copy and like any mom requesting that you get a photo of us like this, but I would be a fool to try to submit my personal photography to big name clients. I’ve learned to outsource when necessary. It’s easy to want to do EVERYTHING yourself, but by bringing Amy on board Household has thrived in different ways I would never be capable of on my own. Recognize what you’re not the best at and find a way to bring someone into your work that can help. In the beginning for Amy and I this meant we were both doing a lot of projects for free to build up experience and portfolios, then as paid jobs came in I constantly checked in with her on rates and built her cost into my pricing. We help one another and our partnership is something really special.

3. Use analytics and plan your posts. This is something I was never active with before the algorithm changed last year, but ever since, it’s really important to see when your followers are active and when your posts perform the best so that you’re posting at a time when it will actually be seen. By scheduling content (especially content for clients) you’re able to relieve a bit of stress and achieve some balance when it comes to feeling the need to always be on your phone. Rather than spending all day and night being active in my community I pay attention to when my followers are the most active and choose to be online then too. I use Iconosquare for analytics and Planoly for scheduling. Of course there are spontaneous posts thrown into the mix on occasion as well, but having some posts set each week really helps the business side of things.

4. Keep it real. As important as it is to be aware of what’s being shared and talked about in your industry, remember that your followers are there for you, so be you. What images do you like, what message do you want to bring to the table? It’s easy to want to fit in and to even be inspired by others in your industry, but that’s not what will make you stand out. Take time away to understand what’s important for you, what you’re comfortable being vulnerable about and what you feel is aesthetically pleasing. Have confidence in your brand, business or blog.

5. Be consistent in what you share and how frequently. This plays into planning out your posts, but I’m sure most of you who are active on social media will notice that there is always an increase in followers and a decrease with each and every post. The weeks that I’m not posting as frequently as normal I always notice a larger overall drop in followers. Of course, this will happen naturally as everyone deserves a break, but if you’re a business who is trying to grow I would strongly encourage you to keep up a consistent schedule as much as possible! As far as what you share I think it’s important to have variety, but to be consistent within this variety. For example, I try to cover motherhood, recipes, design, Brooklyn and now a little behind the scenes work. By having variety you will hopefully bring in a varied audience and by sticking to your content they will stick around!

PS. For those of you who are particularly active on your screens, I’ve teamed up with Whoosh Clean and I’m hosting a giveaway on my Instagram for some of their product and an American Express gift card. Enter if you haven’t already!

Photography by Amy Frances.

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