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EPISODE 028: GROW YOUR INSTAGRAM FOLLOWING WITH JESSICA HOLMES

Blog Title: Sweetest Menu

Social Media:

IG: https://www.instagram.com/sweetestmenu/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/SweetestMenu

About Jessica: My name is Jessica Holmes and I started Sweetest Menu in 2014. Inspired by my travels, Sweetest Menu is a food blog specialising in American-inspired desserts – with a little Australian flair. I love to create original sweet recipes (that actually work) and then capture them using bright and colourful photography. But my all-time favourite part of blogging is connecting with fellow bakers and dessert lovers from all over the world.

Notes from Episode #028: How to grow your Instagram following

  • Fun fact: Jessica is a cat lady! She has a cat that photo bombs her content you may see on IG.
  • Instagram is differentiated from other social media platforms because it’s very visually appealing with photography its focal point. It’s also more personal than other platforms. You can relate to your readers better.
  • The importance of consistency –
  • The first important concept in building a following on Instagram is really just showing up. If you are consistent and posting daily, your audience will know that you are reliable and interested.
  • Jessica posts daily at the same time. At first she just posted at a time that was easy for her. But now she has a business account, she could select that time according to what the business analytics show is a good time for engagement. But select a time that you’ll follow through on because if you’re never really available, you’ll not post consistently. Another thing to consider is that based on the algorithm and your engagement, just because you post at one time isn’t necessarily when everyone sees it. If you have better engagement, more people will see it. Instagram seems to reward accounts for consistency. 
  • It’s ok to repost old content on your account. Its important to post daily but you don’t need to use fresh content everyday. Take something you did in the past and reword it a bit, if it resonated with your audience before, chances are it will again and your new followers too.
  • If you have a post that isn’t doing much, you can do a second post that day to help lift it up. 
  • If a post does really well, Jessica posts a second time that day to ride the wave, letting it gain momentum.
  • How to find your voice and brand –
  • It can take awhile to find your voice and brand. Instagram is just an extension of your brand. Take your brand represented on your blog and keep it up on Instagram. But you can extend yourself a little there, you have some flexibility to take it to the next level. You want people to check you out on Instagram, but it still needs to make sense and you need to be reflected there. You don’t want them to see one look and feel on your blog and something completely different through social media. 
  • Think of Instagram as a whole, not as individual posts. Put your best foot forward. But when it comes to the look and feel, you want to look at it as a whole, what does it look like, is it cohesive. If this is your first visit to your page what is it saying? 
  • There’s an app you can use to help post IG photos and keep you on the same theme, the same look. Preview Grid allows you to create and stick to a unique brand aesthetic on Instagram. It helps you get a professional feel. Then you don’t throw any old color up or different shapes and styles. 
  • When writing captions and communicating online, think about it like you’re speaking to a friend. You want it to come across very natural. Would the captions you write grab your attention? 
  • You need to post. But the next part is even more important – you have to interact with your audience. This builds connection. So respond to all comments. Go back to a posts a few days later to check on it. Respond to comments. Be sure to thank people, etc. 
  • Jessica doesn’t use a scheduler with Instagram. She wants to keep her pulse on this platform and interact with her audience directly. With social media platforms she does use a scheduler. 
  • Instagram stories: this is a great way to invite people into your personal space. It helps to get insight too – ask good questions and show them another side to you, apart from the business side. This is a fun place to show them bloopers, introduce your family, things you do outside blogging, etc.
  • You should be showing up in Insta stories everyday too. Jessica is working on trying to do this while she works a full time job. 
  • Jessica uses Link in profile on her Insta page instead of a specific URL. 
  • With Instagram, it’s good to be posting high quality images
  • Hashtags are great. Jessica change her hashtags on the fly. A few describe the post and then she uses a few generic ones and her own blog name. You should do hashtags for each post. IG recommends between 5-30 hashtags. 
  • The number of followers you have isn’t as important as people showing up, saying they’ve made your recipe and are engaging with you. But having growth is good too. 
  • Everyone’s story is different…your readership is different…just focus on your own race. 

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