I feel like this is a post you guys have been waiting for for a while. It’s one I’ve wanted to write but really wasn’t sure exactly what to put that isn’t already available on google if you search hard enough. Then I realized that y’all want to know what worked for me and tips that only I can give based off of my experience. Most of this info is specific to Instagram and what I did to help grow my Instagram account.
If you remember the post I did last week (find it here), I talked about my love for fashion and the history behind starting my blog. I think it’s important to know what you want to talk about before you decide to blog. There are many times I sit at my computer and I know I need to write something but I’m not sure what fashion related topic to talk about. If I didn’t have a vision, that would be even harder because all topics would be fair game.
A little more history: When I decided to start a blog, I knew what I wanted to blog about, I had followed enough fashion bloggers in the years prior that I figured I could give it a shot and follow their lead, without copying them of course. Once I got to that part, I came up with a name (stems from my love for the color grey) and then BAM! I started a separate Instagram account from my personal one and started taking pictures of clothes. In fact my first picture (it’s still up on my IG feed) was just a pair of Sam Edelman booties neatly placed on a fur vest (cringe!!) Y’all, I had no idea what I was doing but I knew I could do this so I set off on this journey.
I personally like that I started a brand new account for my blog on Instagram. I have a good following on my personal account so that would have been an easy way to start with 2,200 followers but I didn’t want to force my friends and family to follow me if they didn’t want to and I also wanted to track my growth from zero. Trust me, there were many times were I wish I would have just converted my personal account. But starting new was just what I wanted for my account!
Okay, so lets get into the good stuff. Let’s also remember that I had no clue what I was doing.
1. Research – I researched other bloggers and studied their profiles. It was easy to start to see a pattern with their posting schedules on Instagram so with this information, I figured out what could work for me. I looked at pictures that were “performing well” meaning they were getting lots of likes or comments and tried to figure out “what is making this photo stand out from others?” More often then not it was a bright, airy photo that didn’t have too much going on and it was obvious the outfit was the main attraction.
For Instagram specifically, I tell people all the time, look at what other people are doing and figure out a way that you can tailor it to be unique to you. I, by no means, would ever suggest that you straight up copy someone’s work but you can see things that work for others and try them yourself. For example, when I changed my editing and made my pictures more bright and focused on having more white in the photo, those pictures started performing better so then I knew that people liked seeing that type of content more. I never asked another blogger, “hey can you give me your exact editing filters and info”?…No, I just tried my own version of brighter editing and it worked!
2. Consistency – This is a good one. I honestly think this is one of the number one things that helped me grow as quickly as I did. I was consistent. I posted two times per day every day for the first year my account was live. I know, to some of y’all, that sounds like a TON of posting and trust me, it was. When I started my account, I was working a full time job in Sales and was wearing business professional attire everyday. So right there I had five outfits per week that I could share on my account. I was going to wear those clothes anyway and chances were someone was going to ask where my blouse, dress or shoes were from. How perfect, I can now direct them to my Instagram account where I tagged every product in the picture!
Every Sunday afternoon, I would pick out my clothes for the week and ask Chris to take my pictures somewhere around the outside of our house. We used an iPhone and really had no idea what we were doing. I would show Chris pictures of how I wanted to pose and what angles he would need to shoot. I know he didn’t really enjoy this time but am so thankful he did it anyway. Poor guy didn’t know what he signed up for when he married me (I started Loverly Grey about 3 months into our marriage). When we got better at taking photos, we would take my outfits in the car and go up the street to a shopping center that was not that busy and use those walls for photos. Honestly, we still do this from time to time.
So outside of those work outfits, I would need something to post at night each day then something for the weekend. I found what worked best for me was to be a real as possible. So if I was wearing running shorts, tank and sneakers to go run errands, I would take a picture of it and share where it was from. I would add in flat lays, pictures of my accessories only and whatever I needed to make sure I had my two pictures each day. This showed my readers I was serious and that by following me they could expect to see photos each day on what I was wearing to work but also other outfits that were more personal.
3. Be Yourself – This is another good one! Once I started showing my personality more in my posts, I started to see more traffic. I started every post with something personal or telling my readers what I was doing so I was REAL. Being real is HUGE in this industry. Anyone can take a picture, look like a model in an amazing outfit and only say “click the link in my bio to shop this look” but that’s not really relatable. To the people who are fashionable challenged, they will look at that and be like, “oh that will never be me” and they keep scrolling. If that you had said more of what you were doing in the dress, why you personally like it and why someone should buy it, you will probably get more traction because now you just helped solve a problem for your reader. You become someone they go to for fashion advice because they know you are going to write your captions in a way that helps them.
This all goes back to why I wanted to start my blog. I wanted to HELP others dress and feel good. I wanted to show people how to pair patterns together and I wanted to tell people which of my favorite stores were having a huge sale! Being authentic can only help you in this business!
Also, don’t be fake. Don’t buy followers or likes to get ahead. If you are in this to make an income, you want followers who will be purchasing from you, not people who are just liking but never buying anything. I think there is a difference between doing a Loop Giveaway and just straight up buying followers. Although I don’t recommend doing a ton of loop giveaways, one every now and then is fine. Plus you aren’t making anyone follow you. People are choosing to enter to win whatever the item is and that’s completely up to them. Just be careful because even though it seems like you gain a ton of new followers, you will typically loose followers too once the giveaway is over and people see they didn’t win. If you want to do a giveaway, you should work with a brand directly to give something away or team up with a few of your favorite bloggers and make it as personal as possible.
4. Posting – I was always told the most popular times to post on Instagram are before 8AM and after 8PM. I think that is still true and try to stick to that as much as possible. I also think that you should take into account when people are on their phones. If you can post first thing in the morning, try posting at lunchtime in your time zone. People are probably checking their IG feed and your post will pop up for them to see.
I personally use hashtags on my posts now to help my posts be seen as frequently as possible. Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post. I save a note in my phone with a few different sets of tags and apply the tags that are applicable to my photo. I do try to switch them up or add in new tags that specifically go with my post.
I also think it helps to engage on other peoples posts. But leaving comments like “love that” or “so cute” aren’t going to drive up your engagement rates. Ideally you want to leave 4-5 words at least and make sure your comments are genuine. You should also reply back to comments on your page or in the very least “like” the comment with the heart on each comment. Trust me, it’s hard to reply to every comment but it will encourage people to comment more if you do!
5. Do what you Love – I could go on and on about tips and I know there will be questions so I plan to have a few most posts to specifically answer them. At the end of the day, you want to make sure you are doing something that you love. Taking photos, following trends, being a voice…it takes a ton of time but is so worth it to know you are positively affecting someone. Remember why you are doing this and why you want to share outfits with people (or whatever you are sharing.) If you are in this to only have brands send you free stuff, you will get burnt out at how much work actually goes into growing a following and becoming successful. Things are constantly changing so you want to make sure you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Grow each of your social media threads organically and even though some times seem slow, if you are doing it with the right intentions, you will grow and be successful!
If you want to know more about growing your blog and/or deeper into growing your social channels, you can schedule an appointment to speak with my friend Megan McQueen. She offers courses on blogging and social media. I personally took this course with her a few months after I started and learned so much! We talked on the phone for about 2 hours and went over my whole blog and Instagram account and she told me where I need improvements and gave me tips to be successful. I really noticed a difference in Loverly Grey after I put her words to action. Here is a link to Megan’s Blog – Bloom Into Beautiful and you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do reach out to her, please let her know that I sent you!
So that’s it for now! Please let me know if you have questions and I will work on diving deeper into other topics as I see what you want to know more about! Thank you for spending time reading this post!! I love you guys and truly appreciate your love and support!
xoxo – Brittany