Oh, that “Gram life!!!” Who would have thought that a little app would spark thousands of careers and connect so many people? It still blows my mind when I’m out of town and people recognize us and want to take a picture of or with us, and I don’t think I will ever get use to it. I often get asked how we did it and receive requests for advice on how to grow a following, but in all honesty, I have no clue. Especially now, since Instagram is down to a science and is all business these days. Our following boomed when the whole “fashion kids” movement started, and tiny tots in cute clothes was a novel idea. Now those sort of kid’s fashion accounts are a dime a dozen, and they a killing it with their highly stylized shoots. Our account has very slowly grown since those days, but our followers are amazing, loyal, and some of them have become great friends.
First and foremost, Elle does not know what Instagram is, and has no idea about the number of followers we have, or any of that jazz. She knows people see her pictures, but she thinks it’s mostly her friends and family. She likes having her picture taken, but most times I just snap them when she’s being goofy or when she is distracted. These are my favorite types of pictures. I like to showcase her outfit because I truly enjoy dressing the kid. That’s the honest truth, the very reason why I even started @babyellestyle. Now I love sharing my parenting journey because I love the community of parents that follow me, and that I follow. It’s like your own personal village, and you know what they say, “it takes a village.” I love posting as much as I like scrolling, which I do both of… a lot!
I know that there are lots of people that Instagram like it’s their job, because in some cases, it is, but that’s not my case. I’m not going to lie and say it hasn’t opened some amazing doors to awesome opportunities, because it truly has, and I will forever be grateful that it has only added to my kids already wonderful childhood (I often joke that I wish I had Elle’s life and when I die I want to come back as her LOL). Elle is at an age where she is more aware of things happening around her, and Instagram and all the opportunities that it has given us is one of those things. I often worry she will think that packages containing gifts that come daily is just a norm, and no one works for such luxuries. YouTube toy videos (as much as I hate them) opened the door for this conversation. She wanted to know how those people got entire boxes of toys that weren’t even available yet. I explained that those people review them and share their experience as a job. I wished I hadn’t, because now Homegirl wants to be a youtuber desperately. That’s next on our list of new tasks to tackle, because I want her to know that she can be and do whatever she wants. Now, let’s just see if homegirl will put in the work to do it, or will it just become more work for me?
Long blog post short, this is what works for me as far as Instagram.
1.) Post what YOU want. Don’t post things you think your followers or potential followers will like. Thinking like that will make your account look and feel like someone else’s. I post random stuff in no order and sometimes without even a good caption. That post is what I was feeling at that moment, and people dig authenticity. Who cares if your feed doesn’t flow, life doesn’t always flow, and it’s not always the in the same color scheme.
2.) Don’t get hung up on numbers. Don’t look at your likes or followers. It’s just a number, and like monopoly money (I know I use that reference a lot, but I like it) it has no worth. Read your comments and answer people, those people took the time to leave a comment which means they are genuinely interested in your content. That’s what kind of followers you need. Take the same time to write back. I try my best to follow this, even if it’s a short line or emoji, I want people to know that I read their comment.
3.) Don’t spend money on Instagram. Don’t buy followers or apps that tell you your stats and analytics. Save your money for things with actual value or worth. Sure, you think a bigger number will be more appealing to companies, but they know when people have a genuine following and make an impression on others. People that are thirsty for Instafame are as obvious as a fake 6-dollar bill, and it’s not a good look.
Do you! Be yourself, everyone else is taken on Instagram and in reality!