Life as a graduate has not been easy. The last 6 months or so have been full of job applications, rejections and working wherever I can to gain that little bit of extra experience. What I have learnt in that time is that even though it is tough, it is so important to keep yourself motivated. So for me, finding a purpose outside of job applications has been so important to me.
In recent weeks I began blogging again after a long hiatus away from it. I also created a new Instagram account. The reason? A good old challenge! I wanted to prove to both myself and employers that I am capable and can run a successful account. Not only has this given me a potential boost in terms of my CV, but is also a great way to stay motivated (although I have to admit I am not 100% there yet! Netflix still has a hold on me).
So I thought I would share some of the things I have learnt starting an Instagram account from scratch.
1. Everyone will always say ‘find your niche’
Which they are right! A niche is a great thing to have, but I for one had no idea what mine was. I wanted a bit of everything; lifestyle, PR, grad life, style/fashion and even food! And I had to tell myself that it was okay not to know my niche just yet.
I actually saw something interesting that said that if The Simpson’s had waited till each of the characters were perfectly created before airing, they would still be perfecting them now. Instead, they went ahead and have 32 years behind them, perfecting as they went along.
So there’s my motivation and potentially yours too! We learn as we go, and each mistake makes us grow. So don’t wait to find your niche, just start and you’ll discover it as you get going.
2. Hashtags actually work!
When Instagram first started, I was one of the many who used those hashtags like #likeforlike, #followforfollow, and #instagood. These categorically do not work and are not a good social media strategy. The key is to find hashtags that are unique and used by other like-minded people. For example, I tend to go for #kentblogger, #midsizestyle and #prgraduate.
Take some time to research hashtags. Use the search and type in some relevant keywords. I always think hashtags work better if they have fewer posts so anything between 1000 and 1 mil is a good place to be! If you like the content you see and think they are like-minded people then you’ve hit the jackpot! Use this on your own posts, and if you like it that much you can follow the hashtag.
3. Be interactive
Following others is the perfect place to start. Use the hashtags and search bar to find people with a similar vibe to you. There are also several regional blogger groups (i.e. @kentbloggergroup & @sotonbloggers), so take a look at their accounts and see who they repost or follow.
A good tip is to follow accounts with under 10k followers. These accounts are more likely to interact with you, and your interactions won’t get lost amongst all the others. Supporting other nano-influencers (including liking posts, viewing stories and commenting) will honestly make their day and they will likely return the favour.
But, whatever you do DO NOT be that person who follows an account, then unfollows them as soon as they follow you back. Instagram is all about relationships, and that is not a good way to start your reputation.
4. Be Yourself!
I always think organic is better (and no I am not talking about fruit & veg). We enjoy following others who are similar to us, whether that’s looks or interests. Either way, I personally feel more connected to an ‘influencer’ when they act naturally, sharing all parts of their life; the good, the bad and the ugly!
I probably could delve even deeper into this subject (what makes a good bio, what content is good content, how to make a reel etc.) Maybe this is something to explore into in the near future? But that’s all for now. Let me know your thoughts on starting Instagram from scratch and if you have any tips for me!