Y'all. Instagram is my FAVORITE app. Seriously, I love it. I love pictures and I love keeping up with friends, wedding pals, past brides, and a few shops and bloggers. I could (and have) spend HOURS on it each day. As a small business owner, I'm not 100% fond of the changes Instagram has made over the past year, but honestly, it's a free place for me to do some light advertising, so I'm not going to complain. There are a few rules I've recently set for myself when it comes to posting and following on the ol' 'gram.
- Post things that are REAL for me. I know there are many different theories on the perfect Insta-feed, but for me, I literally have no specific requirements, other than pretty, colorful pictures that make me happy. I tried to keep a checklist to make sure every post met strict rules to keep my feed visually consistent, but it felt fake to me. Other women are really good at making this work for them, and in a genuine way, but it's not for me.
- Instagram Pods: About a month ago, I signed up to join an Instagram Pod with other event planners. Social media pods are a good thing. You enter an agreement with all involved to like, comment, share, etc all of their posts to help boost content. Because Facebook and Instagram have established some pretty harsh algorithms, it's important to have interaction on your posts. I thought, "YES, let's do it!" I was assigned to a group by the admin, so I didn't have a choice to who I was following. I ended up making some great connections, but some people in the pod weren't ones I would follow on my own. Instead of staying in the group and not doing my part, I decided to leave, unfollowed most of them. So, I will continue to help my fellow local wedding pros and like, comment, and comment again on their posts.
- I am selective when I will use hashtags to get lots of action on my photos. If you want more likes and comments, hashtags help your non-followers find your photos. (This explanation is for all who don't understand them. I know most people get the point of hashtags.) I used to add them to EVERY post and if each post didn't reach a certain threshold of involvement, I would add more. Like, for real, Sterling? I got over that reeeal quick. Now, if my hashtags don't beef up my reach, I'm not too upset about it.
- Basically, I'm a cat lady AND THAT IS OKAY! I use the same philosophy as my pal, Amanda Hedgepeth. She has always been open about her life, sharing one account for her personal and business-related posts. That's how I want to be. If I'm going to find a client through this avenue, they will have to be okay that I love cats. They will know that I have a husband and daughter. And they will certainly know that I'm not photographer, but I have many talented friends who let me use some of their work. ;)
- I only follow people I want to follow. This is related to #2, but it's a greater principle. A while back, I unfollowed many accounts. It wasn't because I don't like those people and it certainly wasn't because anyone did anything wrong. AND I stopped feeling guilty about it!!!!!! If I'm going to use Instagram and keep enjoying it, I have the power to control how much I'm seeing. Social media often means information overload. I'm not about that life.
- I am not afraid to block people. There are creeps everywhere. While my profile is public, I will block a sketch account in a heartbeat. "Say-hi-to-me" girls, heavily sponsored accounts, cheesy product accounts, etc. Stay away!
So, instead of letting Instagram run me, I run it. You have to have rules in life. I could probably continue this list, but I think 6 is a solid number, for now. I would love to hear how you tame your favorite social media app.
And if you're not a spam account, follow me here!
Photo: Echard Wheeler