When I started an Instagram my sophomore/junior year of college,
my Instagram was strictly a personal account. I shared my morning runs before class, my Starbucks when I studying, and whatever else caught my eye. I didn’t have any intention to create a fashion account or even start a blog. I later started sharing my #ootds and my senior year of college I decided to start a blog called Emma’s Edition – to share my love of fashion.
It wasn’t until a year and half to almost two years into changing my handle to @emmasedition did I realize I needed to change my Instagram strategy and the content I was sharing. It was a long process for me, but I ended up figuring out how to turn my Instagram game around.
One question I get a lot is, “what’s your advice for someone starting an Instagram today?”
So if you’re thinking of starting an Instagram to help build your blog or build your business, this blog post is for you! Here are some tips to make sure your Instagram gets off to a great start –or- if you just recently started, you turn your Instagram game around!
Here are 7 pieces of advice for starting an Instagram today:
Instagram Advice #1: Why do you want to start an Instagram?
Before we dive into the details, why do you want to start an Instagram? If you want to just have a personal Instagram that shows your everyday life, then that’s easy. You want to share your experiences with your family, friends, and network.
If you want to build a business or build a blog, then it’s important to define early on. Understanding the why behind the Instagram can help you create more focused content.
Instagram Advice #2: Pick a good name/handle
Whatever name or handle you pick, make sure it’s representative of you and what you want your Instagram to be about. One thing I didn’t realize early on was that people will call you by your handle in real life. Brands, public relations people, other bloggers and Instagrammers will call you by your Instagram name. I was so surprised the first time someone came up to me during the event and asked me, “Are you Emma’s Edition?!”
I originally picked Emma’s Edition because I wanted to share my take or my “edition” of fashion and seasonal trends. Even years later, I’m still really happy with @emmasedition. As I’ve expanded Emma’s Edition into career and lifestyle posts, this name still captures my take on different aspects of my life and career.
Advice: Write down all your ideas, run them by your friends and family, and ask if you think it represents your brand or what you want your brand to be.
Instagram Advice #3: Pick a niche
If you have the goal to build a following around your business or your blog, picking a niche is going to make it easier for you. In order to make it easy for potential followers, your page has to clearly communicate what type of content you share. I’m not saying you can’t post photos of your matcha lattes or your dog. I’m recommending that the photos are at least all related.
So if you want to a build a fashion account, share photos of your shoes, purses, jewelry, and outfit of the days. If you want to build a foodie account, share photos of your meals at various restaurants or the food you create at home.
People want to know what you’re about right when they get on your page. People don’t want to spend the time trying to figure out who you are if you’re someone who’s actually trying to build an audience.
Instagram Advice #4: Be consistent
This is probably one of my most important pieces of advice that I share over and over again. In order to build a following, you have to make the commitment to show up every day – or at least every other day.
Don’t get me wrong, I still take time away from Instagram. But I do my best to post every single day if I’m not taking a break. From my experience, people start to look forward to your latest post. People get to know you with the outfits, the places you travel to, and the experiences you share.
Instagram Advice #5: Connect with your local community of creatives
Whether you’re a small business owner, a blogger, or a graphic designer, chances are there’s a community for you in your city or town. A big reason why I always advise others to reach out to other creative or business owners is because you can learn from your community. Personally, I learned sooo much from my first ever blogging event in Seattle. I had no idea that others around me were using content calendars, Instagram feed planners, or started email lists.
Instagram Advice #6. Post Quality Content
I actually share this point in my original blog post: 10 Tips to Build Your Instagram Following. But I’m bringing this piece of advice to anyone just starting their Instagram because quality content will immediately set you apart. On Instagram and with any other online and offline publications, content is king.
You don’t need a professional camera or photographer to necessarily create beautiful photos. As long as you have great lighting and a recent iPhone, you have the right tools to take a great photo. Personally, I outsource most of my photography but I do still incorporate my iphone photos of my shoes, brunch adventures, vacation photos – but you can read more about that on this previous blog post.
Instagram Advice #7: Create meaningful captions that tell a story
Personally, I don’t think it’s enough to post emojis as captions especially if you’re trying to grow a following. Aside from photos, your captions are an opportunity to tell your followers/potential followers who you are and what you’re about.
Sometimes I share #styletips about wearing cropped pants if you’re petite and other times I let my followers know that I’m thinking of packing a striped top to Coachella. I always take the time to write caption that either tells my followers who I am (Example: a graduate student), tells my followers where I’m going (Coachella next week!), or helps them embrace the latest seasonal trends – like the color yellow!
What are your tips for anyone starting an Instagram today?
Thank you Shop Stevie!
I just wanted to give a shout out to Shop Stevie for this adorable boho dress! You can buy my exact dress here. I’m wearing a size small and it fits me perfectly. I love how versatile this midi dress is – I’d feel comfortable wearing it to church and wearing it to brunch with friends!
Thank you always for reading!
Photos: Holly Phan