Step 5: Think of your call to actions like a personal invite into your community. Occasionally include a call to action; double tap if you love tacos as much as me, comment with your favorite place to buy children's clothes, click the link in my bio to see my tips on how to meal prep, etc. The goal is to get people to engage on your posts. People may not feel compelled to comment unless you ask them to, and they may not even respond to your question when you do, but you want them to get engaged any way you can. Trust me it works. One of my most engaged posts I ever had was about a postpartum struggle I was experiencing after my first baby. It was a hard & honest post for me to write, but I was vulnerable and I asked for help or ideas from my followers on how to fix it. So many people commented that they struggled with the same thing and how they dealt with the issue. You can read about that here if you want more details, but trust me having a call to action will help your engagement and lead to more true followers.
Remember, your followers want to see you! Not only in your real genuine voice but images of you! That creates a connection better than any other. I bet you if you scroll through your feed, you'll see your most liked photos are not the most perfect flat lay, or the most beautiful sunset, but they are ones you are in, and ones you have written a heart felt or authentic caption about yourself. Try and do that at least once a week and I promise you, your have a community faster than you know it.
-Engage using specific hashtags-
Step 6: One of the best ways to find a new audience is through hashtags. Using your categories above, search for your niche hashtags and include them in every post.
I have my hashtags grouped into my categories and saved in my planning app. (I use Planoly but there are a ton of planning apps out there). You are allowed 30 hashtags a post, and I use every single one. If you have a photo that gets great engagement you may end up in the top 9 photos of that hashtag and you will be seen by tons of new faces. My goal is to get my post in at least 3 of my hashtags top 9 photos to gain followers in my specific niche. Out of the 30 I am allowed, I'd say 10 are always the same, and then for the rest, I switch it up and use some hashtags that have TONS of posts on them and some that have under 2 thousand posts on them. I use some that are more specific to my location or subject matter and then some that are broader or used more often. There is some chatter about using hashtags in your caption or in your comments, and getting "shadow-banned" but I haven't noticed enough of a difference in either to comment on that. I think we will end up having a more detailed week on this subject where I can expand more on the hashtag subject, but if you have specific questions, please feel free to comment here or on my IG.
-Time + patience are key-
I leave you with this, you can spend all your time creating the perfect brand and image but if you don't spend time engaging with others, you will not be successful in building a community. People want to know they are seen and heard, and not just another like on your images. In between all the curating, planning, and writing you need to include time in your day to reach out to both current and potential followers and comment and like on their pages as well. Respond to your comments on your posts, and search your niche hashtags and engage consistently. I know that takes TIME, and TIME is the key word here. In order to grow organically, you need to have patience and show yourself some grace if it isn't happening as fast as you'd like. Remember in order to grow organically, you need to engage, and you'll see a return from your hard work. That engagement takes time and patience.
In June of 2016, I had 916 followers, today I have over 8 thousand. I found that as I posted more authentic and vulnerable posts and the more I engaged with my followers and potential followers, the more my community was growing.
Each month we feature different guest bloggers in addition to our core 10. While we will all be answering the same questions and writing about the same topics, it will give each of you a wide variety of perspectives. We each have a different blogging style, photography style, schedule and more so it will be a great opportunity to read everyone's posts and gain a little insight from each one.
Here are this weeks contributors:
mrsseacannon.com | @mrsseacannon
britthavens.com | @britthavens
koleimpressions.com | @steph__pollock
cultivatemotherhood.com | @cultivatemotherhood
www.ashleynoel.life | @_ashley_noel_
hellobabybrown.com | @hellobabybrown
darlingnightingale.com | @darlingnightingale
www.a-blessed-nest.com | @blessednestblog
thelovedesignedlife.com | @thelovedesignedlife
kristlesclarity.com | @hereyeswereolivegreen
If you have a topic you'd love to get an answer to in our series, search the hashtag #TheMomBlogCollective on Instagram and comment on any one of our photos under that hashtag to let us know! You can also leave comments on our blog posts.