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The New Parent Hustle – Wanna Be Influencers, Start Here.

Have a kid? On the hunt for a side hustle? Start an Instagram feed. Instagram is the virtual place to be right now and mommy microbloggers are having a moment—hopefully a long one as I’ve sort of based my business around them. Jokes aside, women and moms have always been a focus for marketers. Women drive 70 to 80 per cent of consumer purchases and moms not only buy for themselves and their partners, they also buy for their kids.

So, it’s not surprising that popular moms—and a growing number of dads—on Instagram are a valuable asset to marketers. They’re not only building big followings and creating beautiful, engaging content, they’re making money doing it. Want in? While I don’t take the amount of work, creativity and smarts involved in curating a successful feed lightly, there are tips that can help any Instagram newbie get off to a good start.

Step One – Pick a Catchy Name

It doesn’t have to be saccharine or too cutesy, but should be fairly easy to remember and describe either what you’ll be posting about or reflect who you are. @shinelily, @motherhoodandmeals and @london.kade are Insta handles I never forget.

Step Two – Choose a ‘Theme’

This one is a bit controversial, even for me, but if you want your feed to look great at a glance, it’s a good idea to keep your photos within a particular colour palette. You don’t need to go blush or monochrome or only take photos with a certain shade of blue, but keep the colours you use fairly consistent. It’s visually jarring to go from a dreamy, pastel pic to one with bright, bold primary colours. I know we don’t live our lives in one colour palette, but Instagram isn’t a true reflection of your life. It’s the prettier version.

Another way to make your feed look more consistent is to edit your photos the same way, or a similar way, each time. Maybe you want the whites in your photos to always really pop. Or maybe you want a more muted look.

I like the iPhone app ColorStory for editing photos. There are so many filters to choose from (most for purchase in bundles) and you can view the photos you’re editing alongside your current Instagram feed to see what they’ll look like together.

Step Three: Get a Tripod

Want to be in your own photos sometimes? You can’t only take selfies. Invest in a tripod for your phone or camera. Don’t be embarrassed. Saying you’re doing it for the ‘gram is totally acceptable these days.

Step Four: Switch Over to a Business Account

To view detailed statistics for your account (something potential sponsors will be interested in) and to schedule posts so they automatically publish to your feed, you’ll need a business account on Instagram (and one on Facebook). But it’s worth it.

Step Five: Schedule Your Posts

Make your life easier and use a planning and scheduling tool like Planoly. It also lets you see what your new photos will look like in your feed while scheduling each post to auto publish.

Step 6: Create Hashtag Collections

The ‘gram doesn’t like it so much when you use hashtags that aren’t related to what you’re posting about, so using the same hashtags over and over no matter the post isn’t a good idea. Google: shadowban. Either in your notes on your phone or computer or in Planoly, create a list of hashtags for different post types. For instance, you might have a list of hashtags for when you post photos of your kid and a different list for selfies, one for food photos and one for travel pics. The right hashtags will get you noticed, the wrong ones will get you in trouble.

Step 7: Engage!

This is the most important tip of all. You can have beautiful photos that are scheduled and automatically published with the perfect hashtags but if you never open the Instagram app, you won’t have any followers. You need to engage with other users. Like, comment and follow. (But don’t follow more people than follow you.) Some of the brightest Instagram stars spend five plus hours each day doing this. The more time you spend engaging on Instagram, the more Instagram will reward you with new followers. Or at least your photos will get seen more, which will lead to more likes, comments and followers.

Oh, and respond to the comments your photos get. That increases your own engagement rate, a key metric that marketers look for when partnering with influencers.

Looking for more information on the business of being an influencer? You can find Vanessa here

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