Welcome to the second installment of The Mom Blog Collective: How to Build an Online Community and Define Your Brand. If you're new here, here's the scoop. Every other week, our group of amazing and inspiring mamas will answer the same set of questions to do with blogging, Instagram, photography, collaborations, sponsored posts, balancing it all with motherhood, and more. We each have different perspectives and different opinions, so this is a fun way to learn from one another. We hope you'll join along! Check out the hashtag #themomblogcollective to see everyone on Instagram, and I will also link you to all of the amazing blog posts here at the bottom of my post! To see the very first post you can click HERE

How do you define your brand?

I've always described my brand in motherhood/lifestyle category. My intention is to share about our lives, being a mama and everything that I learn along the way and I get to share about products, small shops and companies we love and support. I have a pretty broad topic but at the same time, it's specific enough to be defined. 

How did you grow on Instagram in an Organic way?

Ah, Instagram, I will admit with Instagram's new changes its much harder to grow and the changes just keep coming. Some helpful, some not. But here are a few of the ways I find successful for growth.

  • Hashtags
  • Collaborations 
  • Tagging "hub" accounts to get your photo reposted
  • Follow Fridays/ Mom Crush Mondays
  • Consistent photos

    I personally see a difference when using hashtags in my caption and when I don't. I have read articles about hashtags being on their way out the door and that eventually Instagram will get rid of them but for now hashtags are still useful. I pretty much copy and paste all my hashtags and change a few that might not apply to the photo. I also use hashtags in my insta-stories and that seems to really give them a boost. 

Collaborations! Don't be afraid to reach out. When I first started collaborating I sent emails out and paid for most of the products or asked for a great discount in return for featuring their products on my page. For example, I work really close with a clothing company and I was the second person she ever worked with and I bought my items at a discount and put in a lot of work at first to grow that relationship. Now, I get free items and still buy certain items at a discount but we have a mutual relationship and respect for each other. She always told me how much she admired that I just didn't ask for something for free like the hundreds of emails she gets every day. 

This isn't how every collaboration will work and I definitely get paid to work with certain companies nowadays BUT you have to start somewhere. Don't be intimated, send a friendly email and don't be hurt if you don't get a response. Follow up 1-2 times and if you don't hear anything move on.

Tagging accounts like @uniteinmotherhood, @ig.motherhood @thebump in order for them to repost your photo and then their followers see your account and you gain followers. Obviously, my account is centered around family and being a mom so I tag big accounts who feature profiles like that but if your account is about food or travel look for those types of accounts that you can tag. Also, you can ask brands you collaborate with to repost your photo from the collaboration that way their followers are seeing that you collabed and finding you in the big ocean of Instagram!

Follow Fridays and Mom Crush Mondays don't work as well as they use to BUT they do help you make genuine connections and find some really great accounts to follow. I know it can be annoying to see a million #FF or #MCM posts in a row but if you have the time and patience you might end up finding your insta-BFF or some major inspiration!

Find a way you like to edit your photos and try your best to keep them all edited the same way. This makes your feed look cohesive and appealing to look at. Obviously, you can still share real everyday moments and not every photo has to be from a fancy camera. If you can find a way you love to edit it will keep all your fancy photos and grainy photos looking the same and represent your "brand" in a cohesive way. Think of it like you are telling a story with your feed and you want your story to make sense!

How not to grow

  • Buying Followers
  • Using a follow/unfollow apps

    These two options above might work for a little bit but it will show in your engagement and you will not make genuine relationships and have connected following. It will be a bunch of random spam accounts who you don't want using your photos.

How do you engage with your followers?

This is my biggest struggle with social media. I LOVE connecting, I love hearing peoples stories and sharing but it can be overwhelming to respond to everyone. I try to empty out my private messages each week and I have the best intention to reply right away but life gets busy and I try not to sit on my phone all day. One great tool is Facebook now links your Instagram posts so you can respond right away to comments on your computer instead of your phone.

 Also if I get a ton of questions about the same thing I usually try to throw together a blog post that way I can tell people the answers all in one place. Lots of bloggers have a question & answer page and a "shop my favorite things" page which I plan on adding before the baby arrives but it's a work in progress. 

Make sure to check out the other lovely ladies perspectives below! | @occasionally_perfect | @mrsseacannon | @britthavens | @steph__pollock | @cultivatemotherhood | @_ashley_noel_ | @hellobabybrown | @blessednestblog | @thelovedesignedlife | @hereyeswereolivegreen

@amylouhawthorne | @darlingnightingale