My Night's Booked started back in January 2019, when I was just a baby book blogger trying to find my footing in the massive world of blogging and Instagram. I had this idea that I thought was unique, little did I know just how many others thought the same because the #bookstagram community is HUGE. What I thought was a unique idea was one being duplicated almost daily by other Instagram accounts. I struggled with getting my feet under me and finding where I fit in with this community, as well as how to utilize social media in a healthy way. Growing my platform has been a learning process, but I have learned a few things along the way.
Here is what I have learned over the years that has helped me grow my account:
Be authentic. Trust me. People can sniff out fakes from a mile away. If you content isn't coming from the heart, it will show.
Show your face. I did not do this for a while when I started my Instagram account, but I found that the accounts where I could put a face to the page were some of my favorites. Hands down, content where I include myself in the picture receive much more engagement. Your followers want to know that you are a regular person, just like them, not some bot or faceless entity.
Engage with your followers. It's as simple as responding and/or liking comments, shooting back some DMs here and there, or posting a poll in your stories. If someone takes the time to engage with your content, the least you can do is take the time to respond.
Be vulnerable. This is a tough one. It took me awhile to feel comfortable enough to share pieces of my life, but I found that once I did, a new wave of followers and engagement opened up that expanded my platform. Between my regular content, I sprinkle in posts about mental health, current events and parenting life. Engagement can vary, but my most engaged followers appreciate the candidness. No one enjoys following someone whose toxic positivity oozes out their phone screen. It's gross. Be a real person. Share the nitty gritty stuff. You won't be disappointed.
Don't get duped. I learned this the hard way. When you start growing your account, you will receive an onslaught of DMs from "reps" from companies that sell athletic wear, jewelry, skinny tea, you name it, and they all "saw your account and LOVE your content and want you to be a brand ambassador." All you need to do is DM some random account, purchase their product and they will refund you the shipping fee, post about it, tag them, and repeat. Only the products are cheap and crappy quality, and you realize you just spent $30 on necklace you could have found in your niece's toy box. Let's be real, your followers don't want to buy the crappy jewelry you are hawking.... I am humble enough to admit, I feel for one of these scams. If a brand reaches out to you via some random account with barely any followers, asks you to purchase their product in exchange for a post, it's not the collab for you. Most of these sell cheap products with an astronomical markup, only for you to give them free marketing. If a brand is a legitimate collaboration, they will reach out from their main account, most likely via email and not DMs, and will never ask you to purchase their product out of pocket. Keep a lookout for the scammers, they are a dime a dozen on social media.
Do collabs that fit you and your brand. That being said, when you do a collaboration, make sure that it is the right one for you and fits your brand. Don't do any old collab just because they reached out to you and LOOOOOOVE your account. For me, I've turned down several collabs that weren't the right fit and have vetted the ones that I do currently take on. Your followers do not want to see some random promotion forced down their throats. They won't be buying anything from you unless they trust your judgement and that comes from being picky about what collabs you accept.
Embrace change. Social media is ever changing. Whether it's Instagram giving everyone the "link" feature in stories, instead of waiting until the coveted 10K followers "swipe up" or TikTok and the constantly changing trends, social media is, and always will be, changing. And at a rapid pace. Keep up with what you can, but do not be scared of a little change. Embrace it. (I know I did with that "link" feature, *happy dance*)
Ask for help. My account would not have grown to where it is today without the help of seasoned influencers who helped mentor me. Don't be afraid to ask bigger accounts for advice. If they don't respond, oh well, you are out the 30 seconds it took you to type that DM. If they do respond, well you just may have found yourself an influencer mentor!
These are just a handful of things that have helped me grow my blog and Instagram account over the years, but there are many more tips and tricks that other bloggers and influencers share. Below are some articles I recommend you taking a read through. They have some great advice, as well as what types of trends to expect over the next year.
The most important thing I have seen from other influencers, is that if you aren't having fun, then you're doing it wrong. Keep that in mind as you continue growing your account.