Talking Instagram with Rhianna Olivia
Charlotte here! I wanted to bring some more interview style content into the Blog and Beyond lineup, so here's a chat I had with the beautiful Rhianna Olivia all about Instagram. Instagram is one of those platforms that we all love to hate, especially with the algorithm to fight against, but it's hard to ignore these days. Rhianna shares some great insight into making the platform work for you!
Follow Rhianna: Blog - Instagram - Twitter
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How did you get started on Instagram, was it a natural progression as a result of your blog or did it start out as something totally different?
I started Instagram in 2012 when I was at Uni. It was a good 2 years before I even started blogging! To be honest, it was back when Instagram was considered hipster af and just a place where people shared photos of their Starbucks. I loved it from the offset because I'm a really visual person and I've always loved sharing photos.
When I started blogging in early 2014, I realised how I'd need to up my Instagram game (less blurry photos of nights out with a crappy Instagram filter on, more curated and consistent photos) if I wanted it to go anywhere.
What was the real turning point for you with Instagram? i.e. at what point did you start to approach it with a "strategy" or put more effort into it etc
To be honest, it wasn't until last year that I started taking it really seriously. I realised that Instagram was how a lot of influencers were getting their engagement/audience from and wanted to do the same, seeing as I already loved the platform. (Important to note this was still WAY before they messed with it so much. Sigh.) I started posting 2-3 times a day, being pickier with the photos I uploaded, utilising my hashtags, tracking my growth, and (somehow) I managed to gain about 7,000 followers in just short of a year. I feel like strategy is even more important now than it was then, what with all the algorithm changes etc.
Do you think Instagram is worth putting the effort in for bloggers?
YES YES YES. It's definitely my most lucrative platform (outside of my actual blog, anyway). Brands are really jumping on the Instagram #ad bandwagons and I can make more for an Instagram post than I can from a blog post now, which is mad.
And, even if you don't want to monetise your Instagram, it's still worth it for bloggers because it's such a visual platform. I use my Instagram as a sort of "add on" of my blog. Like a microblog - a way to see more into my life and see things you might not necessarily catch on the blog. (Mainly because I'm rubbish atm and am producing like 00000.1 blog posts a month oops).
The number of Instagram "influencers" (I hate that word) is growing on a daily basis - do you think there's still room for new accounts to "make it" on Instagram?
I actually also hate the word influencer, but I don't really know why?? I think there's always room for everyone. It really bugs me when people say the industry is over saturated and there isn't room for any new people. Because, to be honest, YES - it is a very saturated industry. Annoyingly so, sometimes. But that shouldn't put you off! At the end of the day, you should be blogging/using Instagram because you enjoy it and anything else should be a bonus. There's always room for everybody, and if you work hard enough you WILL see results <3
What do you think of the seemingly neverending Instagram "scandals" such as people using bots, buying followers, shadowbans etc? Do they put you off using Instagram? Have you had much experience with any of these issues?
It's AWFUL. I absolutely hate it all. I could go on essay-long rants about all of the above That said, they definitely don't put me off. I'd probably think differently if I'd been shadowbanned (Luckily, I've avoided it so far!), but they don't put me off. They dishearten me a little, especially with the previous issues of large scale Instagram "influencers" creating a full career based on using bots/buying followers (aka building a career on lies). But, you've just got to brush it off and think about yourself. There are still so many good people on Instagram and, as much as Instagram's constant changes/issues do my head in, they do still have some great features.
The ultimate question - to theme, or not to theme?
For me, not to theme. Mainly because I'm a lazy cow but also because blogging is my side hustle. I have a full-time job - I barely have enough time to keep up with my Instagram as it is, let alone if it had a strict theme as well!
That said, I guess I do technically have a theme of sorts, but only because over the years I've developed a photography style and I tend to edit photos in the same way out of habit. It's more of a "life theme" than an intentional one, though.
What do you do to help to tie in contrasting locations/aesthetics for a more consistent visual? For example, indoors vs outdoors?
Ooooh, this is an interesting question. To be honest, it depends on the time of year. Because I don't follow a consistent theme, and just tend to go with life, it depends on the time of year and the activities I've been up to when it comes to how I keep my feed consistent. E.g. in Summer, I'll tend to gravitate towards lightly coloured buildings, roof terraces and blue skies, whereas in Winter I'll go more towards cosy bars and cafes, warm fires and darker tones. And, on the flipside, in Summer I tend to be wearing lighter colours and there's more daylight for interior shots. Whereas, in Winter, there's more blankets, candles, jumpers etc when it comes to my indoor shots.
I really hope that made sense.
Basically, everything I do to keep my feed consistent tends to be subconscious/accidental, which I am aware is ZERO help. If all else fails - edit to your heart's content.
Do you have a favoured "style" when it comes to the accounts that you follow? Who are some of your favourite people on Instagram?
To be honest, no! Although I have found myself to be following a lot of landscape/travel based feeds recently... I think my subconscious is trying to get me to book a holiday! As an example, some of my favourite people on Instagram are Joe (@josephhburrows) because his photos are always just GREAT, Bee (@queenbeady) because she nails the slightly moody, almost ethereal countryside vibes, Sarah (@sarahjdocker) for her beautiful face and beautiful art, Hannah (@seateame) because of her slow living, seaside, cosy yet bright and airy goals, Beverley (@packyourpassport) for the darker, moodier tones and LOTS of architecture/travel amazingness, Martha (@marthajedwards) for ALL THE SASS and oh wow her style is A+, Carrie (@wishwishwish) because, well, obviously, and oh my god so many more!! I also follow a ridiculous amount of tattoo artists because I'm obsessed with tattoos (even though I don't have any yet). I could literally go on for years about great Instagram accounts, I may have to do a mammoth blog post about it...
Finally, what is your number one tip for growing your account?
The thing with Instagram is you've got to do so many things to grow now, so as much as I can give you my number one tip, that's definitely not the only thing you should do. (I hope that makes sense?) So I'm gonna be super broad and give the tip of "always be consistent". Whether that's with your style, the time you post, the amount you post, or anything else - consistency is KEY if you want to see growth. But, there are a lot of things you need to do on top of that. And the other problem is, everyone is different. So, I could preach to you to do 10 things that worked for me, and 9 might not work for you. You gotta try and fail before you can properly grow, I think. But definitely do try to be consistent.