This post is a response to a post by my delightful friend and fellow blogger, Helen Perry, called ‘One year on Instagram, 12 things I wish I had known’. Helen started her blog, Not About the Kids, a year ago and has made a sparkling success of it, partly thanks to her vivid and engaging instagram feed. We met on Insta and became ‘friends’ – how do you do this?? I am not sure, I just knew from her gorgeous feed that when I met her in real life we would get on. We are both journalists and both enthusiastic about many of the same things.
She started her blog very purposefully, as a new career, having decided to leave her job as a radio presenter. She was uncertain where it would lead, but knew she would throw herself into it. I came to blogging from a different place. I was staying in my career, running a magazine feature business. I started my blog as a way of advertising our work and finding more stories, which it has succeeded in doing, I have to say.
However, I have not thrown myself into it: I have to work full time, I cannot work full time on my blog, although I sometimes wonder whether I should looking at the outward success of some other bloggers…? Aargh!
Anyway, I think I am just going to get started on the many things about my own Instagram I am still uncertain about, as opposed to all the wonderful things Helen wishes she had known!
- A successful instagram feed is samey, beautiful and sincere. My instagram feed is very varied, unfortunatelyly, beautiful, I hope and I try to be sincere but I am UNCERTAIN if I am!
- It really helps grow your instagram following if you share a little about yourself. My work is all about other people though, so I am UNCERTAIN if I want to share anything about myself or if I should even?
- A banging Insta account is engaging, open and hilarious. I do have a sense of humour, but I am uncertain if I want to openly engage with thousands of people.
- Good instagrammers do forward planning, I love the idea of spending Sunday afternoons planning my weeks posts, but I am uncertain whether I can actually manage this every week. I need down time, spontaneously posting every day when you have not planned it just looks a mess and I am doing this to advertise our business, I am not doing this for fun, so a messy feed is probably worse than no feed.
- Posting regularly is essential, once a day at least, breakfast lunch and dinner if you can. I cannot do this: I tried, when I first got started with my professional feed, set up with the help of the supercalifagelisticexpehalidocious social media consultant and now dear friend, Flamingo Fair. She suggested three times a day – I honestly felt as if I was in an instagram prison – sorry Ailsa. I settled very happily in the end into a daily post at 8am over breakfast, but unfortunately I am uncertain if I can even manage that. My idea of happiness is a week off instagram (sssshhhhh don’t tell anyone!)
- Posting pics of yourself – do I feel comfortable doing this? I am VERY uncertain. I would not post a pic that was anything less than flattering and I am not anxious about my appearance, I am just not sure I want compliments.
- Back to the samey-ness of successful instagram accounts – boy are they repetitive. My work is very varied, I am extremely privileged to meet so many amazing people and in order to illustrate that clearly, my instagram feed is inevitably NOT very samey. I deal with this by breaking it into ‘nine square’ sections on one story, but I have to say by the time I am on square #3 or #4, I am a bit bored of the story and extremely worried that I am boring all my followers as well and embarrassing the person that the story is about, which makes me feel VERY uncertain as to my suitability as an instagrammer. Can you let me know how it felt for you Wendy Morrison and Rachel Henderson??
- Back to posting pics of yourself – I am ALSO very anxious about my appearance ( yes, contradictory – I know) and very uncertain about the fact that I am getting older and decidedly less glamourous that I was – I wish I was OK about this and as you have probably gathered, sometimes I am, but then suddenly I am not. What happened to that super slim peroxide blonde with perfect teeth and no wrinkles?? Oh her – she had a couple of kids and relaxed into herself – oh right, yeah her….
- Oh yes and what about the family? I work with my husband, so inevitably my feed is about him as well, no one who has been married as long as we have will feel anything other than uncertain about this: happily married people are not necessarily constantly instagramming about each other, neither are unhappily married people. Plus our children are adults, they are gorgeous and very loveable, but they are NOT cute and do not do or say cute things.
- Yeah – people’s whose instagram accounts focus heavily on their extremely cute kids – oh dear – cannot help but feel uncertain about the backlash they might experience in the future if their children feel a little bit used about having been displayed quite so much – sorry to sound horrible, I love children, I was a school teacher before I had my very, very wanted children but children are real people who grow into real adults with real feelings which when they are teenagers can be incredibly powerful. It will be interesting to see how the children of instagram stars feel about their home life and childhood being made so public and monetised by their parents when they grow up. Hey – they might be fine about it!
- I am considering starting an instagram account about my own home. (Although I am very uncertain obviously!) The Great Scottish Indoors is about other peoples, which makes it hard for me to engage with other interiors grammers whose accounts are purely about their own homes, which inevitably make me feel a bit left out: I am not at that party – I am just writing about it. A friend is training as a counseller and she talks about wanting to offer her clients a space where they can ‘be themselves’ -hello Adria! I think instagram can be that if you want, and I quite like the idea of having an account which is purely about me, not just an advertisement for our business.
- Crumbs, I already have the Great Scottish Indoors, I am also going to start another business soon – watch this space – it will need an instagram account, if I also start a personal account I am going to turn into a zombie….
There you go – has that clarified my many uncertainties about Instagram??
Would love to hear from other grammers, especially anyone who loves or hates it and even folk like me who just feel UNCERTAIN about it!