How To Build A Thriving Instagram Community
Instagram has enabled Caroline Khoo to collaborate with big names like Maybelline and Royal Albert China. Since setting up home on this social media platform just two years ago, she has already amassed 276,000 followers. Each of her photos is hit with an average of 5,000 likes and more importantly, her followers reach out to engage with her on a daily basis.
These credentials alone would make the self-titled dessert designer and founder of Nectar and Stone, an authority on building a thriving Instagram community. Even through she readily admits that she has no social media strategy whatsoever.
“All I wanted was to take beautiful photos, have a presence and connect with people every day,” she said. And that, she certainly has. Here are Caroline’s three guidelines for building a thriving Instagram community.
Also read: Four Sweet Truths From A Dessert Designer
#1: Understand Your Purpose On Instagram
Why have you chosen this particular social media platform? Is it only because you love photos? What are you saying with what you are sharing? And why should people who know nothing about you choose to follow you?
Caroline understood the need for her reason for social media existence from the very start. So while she may not have an Instagram strategy, she has a rock solid purpose for being there.
“I ask myself what I want people to feel when they look at my photos. First and foremost, I want them to feel happy. If I can change even one person’s day, that is pretty special. I also want other mothers to feel inspired and empowered seeing a mother of two young kids working hard and taking chances.”
“And I want young girls who are making their way through their teenage years to have a safe space on my feed. It is so important to understand your purpose and presence on social media. People need to know what you are all about to make that decision whether to follow you.”
When she first started out on Instagram, Caroline called her followers her “following” but now she refers to them as her “community” because she feels a sense of belonging among them. Her purpose has led Nectar and Stone to become more than just a gorgeous Instagram feed about desserts.
#2: Be Consistent
When Nectar and Stone first appeared on Instagram, its feed was sprinkled with photos of Caroline’s personal life and images that tickled her. It did not take her long to realise that she had started off on the wrong foot.
“This was my first big mistake on Instagram. If it is a personal feed, keep it personal. If it is a business feed, show your business. If you love shoes, show shoes in every single photo. Just be consistent. Consistency is predictability, and that is what Instagrammers like.”
Interestingly, Caroline is among that rare breed of Instagrammers who have decided to lose the hashtag and rely completely on the strength of her photos to reach out to an untapped community.
“I do not think there is the need to hashtag too much. I do not hashtag at all now. If you are consistent with your representation of photos, the people on Instagram will find you and understand your message.”
“Nectar and Stone is who I am over a range of experiences and my voice is very true. I want people to know that when they meet me, that I am the same person on Instagram. That is also consistency.”
#3: Take Really Good Photos
Good photos are the bedrock of Instagram but you would be surprised at how many people forget this after a while. When people click on your profile to decide if they should follow you, they look at your feed as a whole first before clicking on individual photos. You have barely five seconds to make a smashing first impression and convert them into followers so every single photo counts.
Caroline’s personal philosophy is to always keep things simple and in doing so, she focuses on the one non-technology aspect that takes her photos from pretty to stunning.
“It’s all about the lighting. Learn to use the light at different times. I take my photos at 8am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm to experiment with different light. And I never use Instagram’s filters.”
“The more time and effort you put into taking a beautiful photo, the more likely people will want to regram it. And I do not have a fancy camera. I take most of my photos with an iPhone. It is about taking as many photos as you can until you get it right. Put in the work and it will show.”
Image credit: Nectar and Stone
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