Instagram / Instagram Tips

Instagram Tips

3 years ago today I randomly started a food Instagram and I cannot believe how much has changed since I started it. I get questions daily about how I started growing my food Instagram. I’ve been wanting to write this post for awhile to give people a more well thought out answer rather than just a quick few sentences reply over DMs. So finally here’s a post about everything I’ve learned the past 3 years about Instagram. Let me know your thoughts and any tips that would be helpful for others in the comments. Here’s a little summary of some Instagram tips I’ve learned along the way! 🙂

girl in black top and blue jeans with coffee

Pick a Topic You Genuinely Love

First, I want to say that when I started my Instagram I was just a junior in college trying to connect with other people who were interested in healthy food. I never had any intent to grow it or turn it into my job. It’s still crazy to me when I stop and think about how it all turned out. So my number one tip is before you try and start an Instagram account, really make sure you’re super passionate about the topic.

Make sure it’s something that you love so much you probably annoy your friends and family because you talk about it constantly. You’ll have to be creating content around it every day and thinking about it all the time. Whether it’s healthy food, fitness, fashion, art, travel, a specific hobby, etc. There’s room out there for everything under the sun. That’s the amazing thing about social media, it allows you to connect with people outside your geographic boundaries with different interests then maybe the immediate people around you.

Be Yourself

You don’t have to copy anyone else’s aesthetic or vibe. The best part about having a creative outlet is being able to express yourself and what YOU are all about. It’s easy to look at other pages and think “I want my page to be like that” and while it’s okay to get inspiration, being yourself is what drives people to follow you.

It’s impossible to keep up a facade and keep putting in the work on something that isn’t truly you or something you care about. For example, I’m not the greatest food photographer ever and I’m okay with that. I love to share what I’m eating in real time and it may not be beautifully staged or photographed with a professional camera but that’s what makes me happy and is sustainable. If I’m putting out two pictures a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, it has to be something I enjoy and care about.

You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be yourself.

Connect with Similar Accounts

After you’ve figured out what you want your Instagram to be about, it’s time to find other people who also are interested. Follow other accounts focused on the same topic. The chances of them liking and being interested in your content are so much higher than just a random person. Then you get to connect with someone with the same interests as you which is pretty cool and they may follow you back.

There’s a difference between being genuinely interested in the account vs being spam-y though. I think it’s okay to connect with people hoping they follow you back but also while still being genuinely interested in their content. You have to produce valuable content though too which leads me into my next point.

Create Valuable Content

This doesn’t happen overnight by any means but it’s important to always have in the back of your mind. You need to be creating content that brings value to others. I have to give credit from Lauryn at The Skinny Confidential because I definitely heard this on her podcast. Basically, you need to provide some type of value to others for them to follow you. Value comes from many different things for different people- entertainment, education, inspiration. So whether you’re trying to provide information to people, make them laugh, inspire them- it doesn’t matter what type of value they’re getting from it as long as they’re getting some.

For my account personally, the value comes in providing inspiration in my recipes. I hope every time I post to inspire others to cook healthier, to cook a similar meal, to make a healthy swap. Before every post, those thoughts are always at the back of my mind. You don’t have to be 100% curated all of the time, people definitely like authentic, real moments but those will probably also provide some type of value to others.

Also- don’t let the fear of creating “perfect” content stop you from getting started. Here’s the first recipe I ever posted on my Instagram. It’s nothing like what I’d post today. But everyone starts somewhere and again being yourself and authentically you is all that matters.

egg in a bowl with mushrooms and tomatoes

Be Consistent

Pick a schedule and stick with it. I heard this somewhere, I can’t remember where or I’d credit it. I’m not going to explain it as well as they did either but hear me out haha.

You need to show up to your audience like a TV show does. It sounds weird, I know, but say a new show is supposed to come on Mondays at 7pm (shoutout to all the Bachelor obsessed people like myself haha), you want it to be on then. You tune in at 7pm and for whatever reason, it’s not on. You’d be a little disappointed wouldn’t you? You check back next week and it’s on then, you watch, you enjoy it. You tune in again next week and once again, it’s been moved back a week. At that point you’d most likely be frustrated and over it, not giving the show another shot. Think about your content in the same way. People want to see a consistent amount of content. Whether it’s every day, every other day, once a week- commit to it and show up.

Educate Yourself

No one learns a skill overnight without putting practice, research, and time in. Most people aren’t born with an innate knowledge of how social media works haha. Which is more than okay because so many people out there are sharing their experiences, tips, and skills who been pioneers in the social media space. Like I mentioned Lauryn from The Skinny Confidential above, there are so many podcasts, books, interviews, blog posts that detail anything and everything you need to know about social media.

Personally, I love podcasts. (You can read my podcasts recommendations here). It’s so easy to put on a podcast while you’re cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, walking the dogs, etc. You’re able to get a ton of valuable information without having to set aside time to read. Anyways, some of my favorite podcasts about the business of social media are:

  1. Jenna Kutcher Goal Digger (shoutout to my girl Erin at for this suggestion!!)- This is the BEST podcast for all things social media related! Whether you’re an aspiring blogger or work on the business side of it- you’ll find lots of helpful information. Really, any entrepreneur will find some value from her podcast. Also follow her on IG- her little family is SO cute and she spreads some important messages.
  2. The Skinny Confidential Him & Her – Hosted by Lauryn and Michael, a couple who have such a funny banter and they have amazing business tips! Lauryn is a blogger and Michael is a businessman so they have really different perspectives. I learned so many tips about blogging from Lauryn, go back and listen to some of their earlier episodes for blogging tips!
  3. The Influencer Podcast– hosted by Julie Soloman. This one is really Instagram specific but again lots of great tips and insight!
  4. The Food Blogger Pro Podcast– hosted by Bjork Ostrom. This podcast is obviously for anyone interested in food blogging. The library of resources you’ll find here is unmatched by any other source when you’re looking into food blogging specific information. Go back through the old podcasts to find so many different topics that will be relevant to you now.

Don’t Give Up

The reason my first tip was to find a topic you’re super passionate about is because of this last tip. Social media is kind of an uncharted territory for business, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Once you start trying to build a following and maybe create a business from it, you start relying on people’s opinions heavily. This isn’t really that different from any business start up in the past- people have to like a product to buy it. But social media can be so tied to your identity were as a physical product maybe isn’t as much.

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in numbers, followers, likes, engagement, growth, comments, and a million other metrics. Those things are important, definitely. But if you’re consistently putting out good content, showing up for your audience, listening to feedback, constantly working to improve your content, utilizing resources- you’re doing to best you can do.

Honestly- some of social media is probably just luck. Which I personally believe is the case in any business probably. Keep pushing, keep creating content YOU love, keep connecting with people you enjoy, keep being yourself, keep learning. That’s truly all you can do, give it your best shot and don’t give up even if you aren’t seeing the numbers at first. All good things take time and all that cliché stuff, right? 🙂

girl in black top and blue jeans with coffee

If you’ve made it to the end of this long post, I hope you’re able to take some value from it! Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has followed me at some point over the last 3 years, has supported my recipes, has been with me through some wonderful ups and some pretty low lows. My foodie, internet family has truly become apart of my daily life as cheesy as that sounds. I learn so much from you all daily, whether it’s a specific recommendation for a product, to add black pepper in with turmeric, that Aldi has a new bomb product, or advice with all my crazy allergies. I am so grateful to have you all in my life.