How to Build Your Online Community & Establish Your Brand
Welcome to the second installment of The Mom Blog Collective: How to Build and Online Community and Define Your Brand. If you're new here, here's the scoop. Every other week, our group of amazing and inspiring mamas will answer the same set of questions to do with blogging, Instagram, photography, collaborations, sponsored posts, balancing it all with motherhood, and more. We each have different perspectives and different opinions, so this is a fun way to learn from one another. We hope you'll join along! Check out the hashtag #themomblogcollective to see everyone on Instagram, and I will also link you to all of the amazing blog posts here at the bottom of my post!
Since I was on vacation a few weeks ago, I missed the first installment, but at the bottom of this post I will link everyone & you can read what they wrote! I did, however, want to give you a little background as to when & why I started a blog in the first place! I actually have been blogging since 2010, but ended up deleting that blog since I rarely posted. Fast forward to 2013 & I was about 8 months pregnant with Oliver & I really wanted to document the process & our family life. I really had no idea where it would lead at the time, but I just wanted to share our life with friends & family! Then came Instagram (actually that was first), & I just grew it from there.
I get a lot of questions asking about my blog & Instagram & where to start. I really enjoy answering them, but now it will be easier to have all the information here for you all! Here are a few questions we will be answering this week!
1. In your mind, how do you define your "brand" & what process did you take to create your brand?
First off, you have to decide what you are wanting to accomplish. I have always loved home products, motherhood tips, recipes, traveling & just overall lifestyle topics. I knew that I wanted to create an environment that had all these things because in order to grow, you have to enjoy what you do. If you really love food & recipes, yet think you will grow more with a fashion blog/Instagram, people will notice. You have to be authentic to what you love. My rule is to always post things that I would like & things that I already use! I decided to use my blog & Instagram to showcase all those things I love & I do not limit myself in a particular niche. Some people do & if that is what you love, then go for it!
2. How did you grow on Instagram in an organic, natural way?
I started posting on Instagram back in early 2012 as a fun outlet for photos of our lives & of course, food photos! I look back at some of the photos I posted & wonder what I was thinking. There was a photo of a cheese log from a Christmas party that I took & if you weren't at the party, you would have NO idea what it actually was! But, other than the occasional food posts every now & then, I have really used Instagram to post photos that I love & it started to grow from there. The main key is to post photos that YOU love. You want to enjoy your Instagram & if you don't, you aren't going to want to post. Aesthetic is also a huge factor, especially for me. It has taken years for me to build what type of aesthetic I want for my Instagram & even then, I sometimes change it a bit. I have noticed though, that everyone gravitates to certain Instagram accounts. Whether you like white & bright or warmer & cozier photos or even a mixture of both, experiment with different options! Lastly, consistency is key. If you post one photo every week or once every few weeks, people will forget or it just won't show up on their feeds because of the algorithm (which that is a whole other topic that I will touch on later).
3. How do you engage with your followers & why is that important to you & your success?
ENGAGEMENT is huge! Replying back to comments is a great way to build not only your Instagram, but relationships as well. I remember following big accounts & would comment on almost every photo & feeling let down when they would never comment back or answer a question I had. That has always stuck with me & to this day, I try & reply to every comment. Of course, I am a mom & a wife & so sometimes I just do not have time, but I do try & go back & answer a question or message that someone has. Another thing is to remember we are all the same. Just because someone has over 100k, does not make them better/higher up than a person that has only 100 followers. If you want lasting relationships, you have to try! So, responding to comments or direct messages on Instagram has been such a tremendous help in growing my Instagram. Another thing is to engage with other Instagram accounts that you follow! It is easy to double click on a photo, but to actually engage with another person on their Instagram means you are building a great relationship that will last!
4. In what ways have you created community through your blog & or Instagram & how has that helped you?
I really started growing my Instagram & blog back in 2014. I worked on my photography & editing & also engaging in different groups with like-minded individuals that wanted to grow. I joined blogger Facebook & Instagram groups, did a lot of Instagram chat loops, follow fridays & mom crush mondays. All of these have helped me grow & build relationships with other women. In reality, community with other women has been my favorite. I feel like I have hundreds of friends & some I have even met in real life.
Bottom line, my best advice is to love what you post because other people will notice! If you aren't thrilled with something you are doing, then what makes you think other's will? Just be authentic to yourself & always remember that we all started at zero!
Thank you all so much for reading & i really hope you took away a little bit from this post! Here are some amazing mamas & their posts on this topic!