Following on from my interview with Sally I have managed to throw some questions at the lovely Jess from Mummyofboygirltwins.com. I met Jess at one of my Instagram workshops and she has been one of those people that I instantly clicked with. Both her work ethic and her lovely blog have always inspired me. Especially when I am in a creative rut I tend to head over and read all her amazing posts. She has over 19k followers on Instagram and her blog can be found on the leader boards of HIBS100 which a collection of lifestyle blogs. Not to mention her impressive following over on Pinterest.
Why did you start your Instagram and blog? And which came first?
I was on maternity leave after having my boy & girl twins (Harry & Lottie) and my Sister-in-Law casually mentioned one day that her friend had started a blog about life with twins. I had a read and afterwards decided that I too wanted to start one! At that time I was feeling as though I wanted to put my brain into action again after being away from the challenging work environment, plus I craved a hobby that I could do at home. So I started a WordPress.com
blog one night and literally started writing blog posts.
This was about 4 years ago and at that time I liked to read humorous parenting blogs, such as Hurrah for Gin. I tried to write funny posts myself (although sadly I don’t have her amazing wit) but it did mean that I came across a whole community of parents online, who made me feel incredibly welcome. Soon after my blog I started a Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram account to engage with others and also to promote my own work. I had no background in web design or social media – I had spent my whole career in Human Resources.
You have an impressive following on Instagram, what key things do you think have helped you get to this point?
I never feel as though it’s that big because so many people have such a huge following on there now – but to be honest I am genuinely not obsessed with how many followers I have anymore (I used to be!). Instead I feel proud of what I have reached myself, completely organically, and that I have such lovely followers. Nowadays I’m much more focused on simply enjoying Instagram and engaging with the wonderful people on there.
Instagram has so many different elements now. It’s no longer a platform just for taking photos. How do you use all the functions and do you think they are important to aid growth?
It’s changed a lot lately. No longer it is only about a lovely, curated feed. Now there’s hashtag communities, Stories, going live etc. It means that a user can be taken off into many different directions and not spend as much time as before on the main feed.
I actually love the new Stories element; I personally now watch it as part of my day. I’ll watch my favourites on Stories over lunch and also catch up at the end of the day too. I think this is an area that will boom in 2018 because people are enjoying seeing more than just images; it’s added a new dimension into the platform. It will be interesting to see how that impacts everyone over the next 12 months.
Talk me through how you take your photos? Do you plan your Instagram posts and blog content or is it more spur of the moment?
I have tried taking them in advance and having them all saved up for a week – but I find it too hard (plus it’s not as genuine). Because a lot of mine are my outfits I tend to snap them during the day and then share the photo at night. Most are done on my iPhone. I then edit in VSCO before uploading to Instagram.
I can only really manage to share one photo a day, but this does mean that I can spend time interacting with other people and upload to Stories during the day.
Does Instagram have an effect on your mood?
Sometimes. So I tend to step back when I feel grumpy or down about everything, have a few days off and come back feeling happier again. Because I also work as a freelance social media manage for several clients this can also make me feel a bit too involved in ‘everything online’ sometimes. A little break is always good.
Have you made any choices that you look back on and feel like you should have done things differently?
In the past I have probably been too influenced by people that I love to follow, which wasn’t a great idea – obviously. These days though I know exactly what I like (and who I am) and am far more confident to just be myself and go with my own style.
Have you experienced any negativity and do you have any advice on dealing with it?
Not really but then my posts aren’t exactly contentious. I just tend to ignore anything that is inappropriate!
What has been your favourite achievement to date?
I feel very lucky to have had such amazing opportunities over the years. To be able to earn money every month still makes me happy especially as the influencer market feels very saturated at the moment. Not going back to a Human Resources role and being able to earn from being a blogger still astounds me and I feel incredibly lucky to be in this position.
Do you think any other social media platforms are key to growth?
In my opinion gone are the days when you had to be a whizz at everything! It now seems a good idea to have two main areas you can really throw all your energy and resources into though – i.e. a blog and Instagram, or YouTube and Instagram. I think it’s too difficult to be amazing on ALL the platforms. And definitely play to your own strengths.
Who are your favourite Instagram accounts to follow?
Yikes. That is a hard question! I love so many for many different reasons but my most visited accounts are Thefrugality, Blossomingbirds, Sallyfazeli, Theordinarylovely, Littlewoodlife, Huntersandheels, Marthashappilyeverafter, Astylealbum, Emmahill and of course yours Cara because you make me laugh out loud!
If you could only offer one piece of advice on growing your following what would it be?
Be yourself and enjoy it. And, like anything in life, the more you put into something the more you ultimately get out.
I hope you have enjoyed my interview with Jess and I would love for you to head over and check her out. One of the loveliest bloggers on the gram!