Instagram, Facebook, blogging, likes, shares… These words that are now used and seen as everyday vocabulary in our society. Some see it as an escape from their own reality, a chance to focus on other people and what they are doing. However, for a (growing) few, social media and blogging has BECOME their reality.
Being ‘Instafamous’ is a fast phenomenon, and it seems everyone has their own opinion on it. Is it wrong to post your whole life? Why do people feel the need to fabricate their lives? Is ANY of it real? We caught up with four of our favourite Instagram bloggers, all of whom put out their family life to the rest of the world. They share their thoughts of their Insta-reality and offer some tips and truths for anything thinking of giving it a go.
Let’s meet them!
Gregory, the @london_dad is a father of two and devoted partner who shares his family through stunning black and white shots via his Instagram to his whopping 59.4K followers. Greg also maintains a wonderful blog; check it out here: www.thelondondad.com.
Rachel, a travel journalist and full time mummy of three, shot to success thanks to her magical and hilarious Instagram @luxefamily5, with a staggering 63.6K following. Rachel also has a website full of travel blogs, parenting tips and much more; www.luxefamily5.com
Rebecca, who’s Instagram follows her every day journey with her beautiful boy Mason (who we were lucky to entertain at his birthday one year!) Rebecca engages with 20.6K followers and we can see why!
Nicola, a Scottish mother who’s Instagram @weeslice reaches nearly 20K followers, and is one of the funniest pages we have come across! Nicola also runs her business Weeslice Digital along with fabulous tips and blogs we can all be found here: www.weeslice.com
How did you get started in the field of Instagram blogging?
Greg: It was all by accident really, I quit my job in the city when Etta was 3 months old with no plan other than wanting to spend more time with her. We had moved home from living in Asia when Alice was 34 weeks pregnant so knew nobody with kids and Instagram seemed like a great place to find a community of people who loved being parents.
Rebecca: At first I just had an account and posted random pictures of me and family, then I started posting outfit pictures and bit of interior. When I fell pregnant with Mason was one and it took off! I was addicted to doing baby flatlays, nursery decorating and pregnancy fashion.
Rachel: My actual job is as a travel journalist, so most of my work is off of Instagram! The writing is my thing, that’s how I earn my money. But you need both, you know. Otherwise nobody would know where to find you. It’s gone hand in hand and my Instagram grew from that. It gives me more authority, if you have got your Instagram to go with it, people can actually see what you do and see you do it.
Nicola: While on my second stint of mat leave (more or less back to back with my first!) I bought a URL and then did nothing for about 10 months until I got the confidence to finally do my first post! My Instagram had been on the go forever, but up until autumn 2017 I had about 700 followers.
2. When you began your social media journey, did you have plans for a total career change?
Greg: To start with it was a whole lot of fun and we had no idea what the future would hold and the same is true now, I feel like its starting out and could end at any moment so have always tried to have income on the side.
Rebecca: I never thought about making Instagram my career. I admire people who do, do it as a job but I’m going back to a 9-5 job when mason goes to nursery full days. I love Instagram and social media but I don’t think I’d like being on it all the time.
Rachel: I literally started and had no idea what I was doing. Just thought Instagram sounded nice. The plan came a lot further down the road when I had my children. And it clicked: I actually have a product here! I needed something and it was under my nose the whole time. That’s when I started to look at it differently, I wasn’t just posting for the sake of it, I turned into my job.
Nicola: I knew I didn’t want to go back to the drinks industry... getting glammed up for the opening of new venues was great as a carefree 20-something, but not so appealing as a mum of 2 under 18 months surviving on 4 hours sleep! I’ve always been a bit of a nerd so once I started the blog I began to up-skill gradually by learning new bits of tech which has got me to the point where I now consult for individuals and businesses with Weeslice Digital.
3. What is your favourite part of it all, and what do you find the most challenging?
Greg: I love being able to have a job that is focused on family and how much I love to be a part of that. The most challenging part is when we have a brief for an Ad and the kids are not into it. There is also an anxiety involved with posting that gets me every time no matter how relaxed I try to be about it.
Rebecca: Hmm, I don’t really find it challenging. I love sharing a little bit of our day with my followers. I just love taking pictures and being able to share them with people. Probably most challenging is finding the content that everyone likes and wants to see.
Rachel: It does have to be the opportunities, actually being able to have a job that brings my family together and that’s just so nice. I go work, but I need my family with me! And don’t get me wrong, it’s always nice to travel and all freebies (laughing) but I do turn a lot of stuff down. I only review or talk about things I actually do. It’s challenging that I am putting myself out there with my family, you do get criticised and it’s very personal. Don’t even come at me, I don’t have time for it (giggling). You know I’m only human, and it can hurt.
Nicola: I love learning new things, whether that be general knowledge from followers, or the geeky logistical nuts and bolts of running online platforms. The challenging aspect is probably maintaining a work // life balance - we’re all guilty of phases where we spend too much time on our phones and I constantly check myself to make sure the balance is right.
4. What tips would you give to anyone trying to make a start in this world?
Greg: God, good question. I would say that if you post for you and then people follow you and like your content then that’s a bonus but don’t try and create content that is specifically made to get engagement. Be yourself.
Rachel: You will find the people who do the best on Instagram are those who actually have something OFF Instagram. It took me a long time to figure that one out, people who have things to offer.
Rebecca: Just post whatever you love. People will love what you love. I find the harder you try the less people can relate to you. If you’re posting things you generally just love, people can feel that. Also be present...
Try posting at least once a day. Interact with your followers. They’ve took the time to leave a comment.
Nicola: A) Don’t twiddle your thumbs waiting for the right moment - just take the plunge and get going. B) Don't allow your creativity to be stunted by worrying about what others are going to think. C) Identify your niche and keep your brand consistent
5. Do you ever feel alienated or judged by other people?
Greg: All the time, it bothers @london_mum_ more than it does myself but it’s never nice.
Rebecca: I feel judged at the time. People only see a tiny part of me on Instagram, which is actually my choice. I like to keep the biggest part of my life private. I just like sharing gorgeous pictures of mason and things I love. I’ve been judged a lot since being on Instagram. But people are entitled to their own assumptions.
Nicola: No. Other people’s opinion of me is none of my business :D I recently listened to a great podcast featuring Ricky Gervais and he talked a lot about positive and negative feedback from strangers online. It was a terrific listen and completely changed my perception of him.
6. Rachel, do you agree with making trolling illegal?
Oh I do absolutely, but in the same breath you have to be prepared for what is going to come at you. People say things for a reaction, but be aware that don’t say something if you’re not prepared for someone to say something.
7. Greg, your Instagram has lots of comic and relatable moments, and have moments that aren’t necessarily considered ‘Instagram worthy’. This is one of the many reasons you’re so popular. Why do you feel this is important?
It's important to show real parenting, real life and the real us for so many reasons but we always wanted to be a place where it’s okay to say it’s tough, it’s hard, it’s fun etc. without being judged, I think so many people portray the best versions of themselves or an alter ego on themselves or their life online and that’s just not healthy. Saying that we are guilty of it too as we follow a load of "inspirational" living and travel accounts that keep us focused on what we want.
8. Rebecca, how you balance everyday reality and the world of Instagram?
I just keep them separate. When I’m out with mason my phone doesn’t leave my pocket. My camera I have on me but even then I just forget because I just like to enjoy my life. Instagram is for when I get home, get a brew and get to edit my pictures. Love doing that! Instagram is the be all and end all.
9. Nicola, if you could change one thing about social media, what would it be?
It’s existence! I’m old enough to remember life before the internet and before mobile phones.. it was a lovely, simple time. Sadly it’s the way the world has evolved so I made my peace with the situation and decided I either keep up or get left behind!
Thank you to all four of these amazing people! It was so much fun putting this together and we would love to hear your feedback.
Please do let us know your thoughts by emailing us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Love and Fairy Dust,
The Neverland Fairies