I’ve been on Instagram since April 2016, and now I’m nearing eleven thousand followers. Whoa! Since I’ve learned so much getting just to that level of growth, so I thought it was time to talk about lessons learned.
Here’s my single biggest lesson: post at a rate that makes sense for you and your schedule. I used to post three times a day on Instagram. I liked it, but for my content style, it’s simply not viable. For one thing, I can’t eat that much dessert in a week to keep up, even if it seems like I could. (I’d need to eat 25+ desserts a week to keep up because I eat at each place twice and need a buffer. Maxing out at 10-15 a week feels so much better.)
The people who post three times a day often have stuff that involves less prep, like quotes or user-generated content, or might do a set from a series. To which I say, rock on! That’s not what I’m posting, and that’s fine.
Also, I now post between 8:30 and 9 am because that’s when I can consistently get posts up. I know my audience is more online around 9 am, but that’s not always feasible. (Thank you so much Instagram for not allowing scheduled posting.)
Some people will grow super fast, and others way slow. You do you. I’m currently in a growth lull, and it used to bother me, but now I’m okay with that. I’m going to do a massive overhaul on my own style next month, and for right now I’m resting. Rest is good.
Take time to not think about Instagram. Otherwise every chance to eat becomes a chance to add to the feed. I do not want or need to live my feed. Breaks mean I can return and be energized.
Using my best camera isn’t essential, as long as the shot is good. This is slightly more obvious, but I personally still needed to hear it. I own a Canon 5D MkIII, and while I love it to pieces, my injured shoulders don’t. I’ve been shooting a lot more with the phone and still get asked which camera I’m shooting with. (Plus side, I’m starting to shoot with the MkIII and my favorite 100mm lens again!)
When stuck on how to photograph something sweet, dunk a part of it in melted chocolate. It’s like Instagram comment magic.
Though don’t do posts only “for the hits.” For one thing, it’s boring. It also doesn’t leave much room for testing ideas. Like I did a “what’s this?” challenge with a food item recently, and it was so fun to see people respond! If I did everything for high engagement only, I wouldn’t be able to keep the feed going.
I’ve seen so much of Seattle since I started my feed. 2016 let me see way more of Seattle than I had in some time. And we even got to Portland and Vancouver! Already in 2017 I’ve been to San Francisco and Portland, so I’m hoping to get more adventures on the islands next.
I’ve met so many cool people through Instagram. Seriously! And I’m really glad about that, because I need help eating all the desserts I find.
I’m still totally behind on what’s new in town. I still only make one or two openings a quarter, if that. And I’m totally okay with it – I’ll check them out in a few months anyway.
What lessons have you learned from Instagram?