How to Grow your Instagram, Find your Aesthetic, and Start Building your Brand (Personal Blog)

So you want to grow your Instagram account, find your Instagram aesthetic and start building your brand to potentially monetize? Well then this blog post is perfect for you!

I know eventually when you start to grow your Instagram page you will want to become an influencer and be able to monetize by working with brands, but before getting to that point I have some tips on how to get you started or help get you on the right track that can hopefully lead you there.

When I started my Classy Casita page I didn’t think I would eventually be getting sponsored by big brands such as World Market or Walmart, or other amazing home and lifestyle brands. All of this happened in less than 2 years of starting my Instagram page. So I am so thankful that I started my page when I did and am happy with the track I am on at the moment, but of course I am always trying to keep growing.

So I thought I would give you a quick little backstory of when I started my Instagram page back in 2018 and some tips I learned along the way that have helped me grow my following.

I started my Classy Casita Instagram account 2 years ago (Sept 2018)

  • Before starting this page it was when I was just getting into plants and I started taking a lot of time learning about all of my new plants and started following plant pages and interior pages on Instagram.
  • I always loved interior decorating and plants quickly became my new hobby so I just kept feeling like I wanted to start a page. You probably know what I mean if you don’t have a “hobby” page yet but have been thinking about it for a while now. 
  • Since I already had experience growing my business account for Rose Dose, I thought why not and just went for it because at the time I was also feeling very stuck and not fulfilled with my life and it was definitely something that brought me happiness.
  • When I first started my page I didn’t tell anyone because I was so embarrassed, which is common, I know a lot of people felt that way too before starting their own page but I didn’t event tell my bf at the time until I started to be really excited about it and just had to share.

Something I quickly realized was how much faster I was growing this account compared to my business account, Rose Dose.

  • Why? Because it was PERSONAL

 

Which brings me to my first tip.

Tip #1: Share who you are and be personable

  • Instagram is a social media account, you need to be social, people want to know the person behind the account. If you never show your face then it’s going to be really difficult for them to put a face or voice to the caption. Which I think is really important! Whenever I read captions from my friends on Instagram, I can really connect with he post’s caption because I can picture it in their voice or picture their expressions.
  • This is what you want, you want people to be able to connect with you and actually feel that friendship, which is why I love Instagram for that reason. I love how I have been able to connect with people and have new friends from all over the world it’s seriously so amazing to me.

So once I had my page for a couple of months or so of course I had a moment of not being so active and that’s normal, but it’s really important to stay active even if you aren’t posting.

Which brings me to my second tip.

Tip #2: Be consistent but don’t post just to post

  • So it’s really important to keep a consistent presence on Instagram. This is an app that people are using every single day, and every day people are getting constant information, if you are not present in the start then there is a chance people won’t be seeing your posts or really have that opportunity to really get to know you that well.
  • I see it like when you are just dating someone or made a new best friend and you constantly want to talk to them. That’s how I felt about it, I wanted to constantly talk to my new friends and exchange plant tips or encourage each other in messages or comments. Especially the plant and interior community of Instagram, people are the sweetest and I have met nothing but amazing people.
  • So I knew I had to be consistent in order to help make my page grow, but one mistake I made in the beginning was sometimes posting just to post and not actually posting good quality content. My content is now way better that what it was in the beginning. Of course with time your content will only improve..it’s not even where I want it to be, I am still learning and improving each day.
  • Sometimes I would post a photo that wasn’t that great or really didn’t have a purpose and I didn’t realize at the time that that could actually make you lose followers you already gained. I noticed this when I would scroll down my timeline and find myself unfollowing people because I didn’t like a post and then though, of shoot what if people aren’t liking these lame random photos I post sometimes.
  • What I decided to do if I did not have a good photo to post on my feed, I would make a greater effort to be on IG stories so I can at least have a presence there.
  • Also the best way to keep my presence when I wasn’t posting was to be active and comment on posts, make conversation, follow new people.
  • Again, it’s a social media platform so you need to be social.

Tip #3: Find your niche, then your aesthetic

  • So I am saying niche, THEN your aesthetic because I did first start with my page mainly focusing on my plants, so at the start I was mostly connecting with people from the plant community and it was a good way to start growing my page because I just had to focus on one type of content and it was a way for people to get to know me that way.
  • But eventually I started sharing more of my home and got more into my old hobby of loving interior decorating and then I just began meshing the two because well, to me plants are a huge part of decorating so I decided to make that my thing and it was easy because plant were and are still a big part of my page and the content I share.
  • However, as it grew and I started to share more about myself and people were able to connect more with me and I had a larger following, I was able to add a bit of lifestyle and travel, so I now see it as less about having a niche page and more about having an aesthetic page.
  • Which again, I still don’t see my page as perfect, I still want to get better at creating content.

Which brings me to my next tip.

Tip #4: Try to create more sharable content

  • So what does this mean, so it means yeah I have some cute photos on my profile but there are those certain posts I have done that have made a big difference for me because they were more shareable. So people love the photo enough to share it to their stories or send it to their friends, that is what makes the biggest difference. So not all of my photos or videos are sharable but always be thinking about what your audience would like to see. After all, they are your fiends and you are like minded so in other words what is it that you would like to see or what you already  bookmark on Instagram yourself.

Tip #5: Connect with other likeminded pages

  • So once your content begins to be more shareable, you can start tagging large pages that can repost your posts or start using their hashtags is they have any. And they will tell you in their bio to tag or use a hashtag to be featured and stuff like that. So I highly encourage looking up pages like that because this is the way to really grow your page, you need to be seen by people that you know will like your content.
  • Once I hit 10K followers I felt more comfortable reaching out to other pages with a similar follower count as me and I would start reaching out about giving each other shoutouts on stories and stuff like that.
  • And I still do this with new pages that I find and love. Every Saturday (unless I really can’t that day) I share at least one Plant Mom as part of my Plant Mom Saturday Shoutout. I do it not only to grow my audience but to also connect with other women and share the love…I know my audience would like their page because I myself love their page, and very often I have people telling me that they followed the people I share and are also obsessed with their page or I get messages saying that they followed me because they saw that someone else shared my page.

Now I want to talk a bit about the basic things you probably already know but I think I should repeat just for the sake of the type of video that this is.

  • You need to take good quality photos, this doesn’t mean go on and buy an expensive camera..I already had a camera because I take product photography for my business but nowadays with how iPhones are, you literally do not need a fancy camera. Sometimes I still post photos that I just take from my phone and those sometimes do better than photos from my camera.
  • Your feed should look appealing, so even if you use a nice camera or use your new iPhone to take your picture, you are still going to want to learn to edit your photos. If you are using your phone you can literally edit straight from your photos app or you can download a photo editing app.
    • I use Lightroom and sometimes Snapseed to edit mine
    • I also used a preset to help me achieve a more cohesive look, and as my style changed a bit or I started realizing more what my style really is then I started looking up videos on YouTube to help me learn to edit on Lightroom and looked at my favorite Influencer accounts and would see what tips they share about their photo editing. Because a lot that have a larger following have been asked these questions so many times you will probably see a story highlight where they answered questions about it.
    • You can start off with an Etsy preset, they are literally as low as $5 or you can try A Color Story.com where they have a bunch of great presets but the can get pricey, just depends. Or you can check to see if any of your favorite influencers are selling presets because a lot of times they do!
  • Be yourself, be original, so even though I say look at pages you love and see what they are doing, that doesn’t mean do exactly what they are doing. You still want to stand out and be original and be yourself..anyone can just put a preset over their picture but you want them to get a feel for your page and yourself when they look at your feed.
    • Once I moved to my new apartment I felt like my style changed a little bit, I could style it however I wanted and everything felt like a fresh start so I also felt like my feed to get a little refresh. So now my phots are not just some one else’s preset, I learned to edit my photos to my liking and actually made my own preset so I can edit faster and then just tweak it a bit if I have to.
    • Another thing, I try to make sure I don’t just post one style of photo or the same room of my apartment so often or just photos of myself. I change it up, make sure my next photo will look good next to my recent ones.
    • I use the app Preview to help me plan my posts so I can see what it will look like on my feed before posting.
  • Lastly, keep learning! I not only learned this stuff from my own experience but I also made sure to do research online. I am constantly going on YouTube and looking up marketing and growth strategies. This is not only important for my Classy Casita page, but its also something I had to learn for my business page when I started. Which I am not going to lie, it has been difficult putting the same amount of energy into both pages. I am far more active on my Classy Casita page than on my Rose Dose page but that is because Classy Casita is more personal, therefore it is growing faster, but for my Rose Dose page I am super lucky that the type of product means I have repeat customers and I also sell my product on Amazon so I always have people sharing and tagging the page on a daily basis.
    • The YouTubers I learned the most from when I first really tried to start growing my Instagram page is Sunny Lenarduzzi and Vanessa Lau.
      • I seriously love their videos and I know there are so many Youtubers out there with lots of great Instagram Tips and advice but these are the two channels I started off watching in the beginning and I just love their style of videos and how pumped up they get you. Their videos really motivated me to try my best and they will help you start thinking more strategically and have that mindset right when trying to grow your page.

I hope you found this helpful and were able to take something from this blog post. If you would like to see my YouTube video where I discussed this you can find it here.