One year ago today, I posted my first photo to @MyHouseOfZing and this blog followed just a few months later. The account wasn’t my first time in the Instagram Rodeo, but it was the first time I set out to launch a brand for myself.
It’s not a story I’ve explained before so I thought the first anniversary was a good time to tell the tale.
SETTING THE GOAL
For over ten years, I’ve worked in Social Media and Digital Communications but a year ago, my corporate job became redundant and it was time to set out on a new path. At the time, I had just started teaching as a part-time Communications Professor but it was immediately apparent to me that there was a huge hole…. I may have been instrumental in launching some of the biggest Canadian brands in Social Media and was part of a huge global network of Social Strategists, but I didn’t have a good example of a brand that I could immediately link to myself.
I decided on the concept of @MyHouseOfZing, an account predominantly about fashion and lifestyle, because I wanted something far away from corporate topics. Really, I just wanted to have some fun, learn some new photography techniques, and get back to blogging. My students were also just launching their own blogs so I decided to take the journey with them, follow the process and see where it would lead.
The goal was to organically grow an Instagram account to 1,000 followers within six months, focused on active engagement for posts related to everyday life as 40+ Canadian mom.
FORGETTING THE GOAL
It’s certainly not a terrible thing to happen but the account grew much more quickly than I had expected. Today it sits at just over 3,600 followers and I’m really lucky to be part of a community that supports and engages actively. But along the way, I had to make some changes based on the audience I was reaching.
For one, I dropped the focus on just “Canadian” and just “mom”. I’m both those things but not only those things.
I also lost my way for a couple of months and began focusing on monetization – attempting to make an income from this endeavour. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for me to realize I wasn’t enjoying that and it was also never the point. I have a new career I love that needs my attention to grow. While posting good content and participating in some collaborations definitely remains on the table, the point for me was never for this to be about the money.
Lastly, I hadn’t really taken into consideration that I’d be unexpectedly shy about putting myself out there. I’d always been behind-the-scenes. It took weeks before I put a picture of myself on the page and even longer before I was comfortable enough to look directly at the camera. I still haven’t told many of my friends about this and always get anxious when I bring it up in class. Clearly, I still have some work to do but everyday I get a bit braver.
SETTING A NEW GOAL
Growth will definitely be the focus over the next year because there are some new features I really want to get on board with. But, I’m also eager to try out some growth strategies — paid and organic — so I can bring them into the classroom. Anyone on Instagram today will tell you how hard it is to gain followers and it seems to be getting even harder if you have a brand account.
I’m also planning to focus on different content for the blog. Taking away some sections that I’m no longer interested in and adding some additional sections, perhaps even around communication topics. We’ll see! Slightly different content on Instagram is also something I’m considering so long as I don’t veer too far away from what my audience wants. Test and learn is the mantra for the next 12 months.
It’s a new adventure and I can’t wait to get started! Thanks so much to everyone who’s been part of the journey…. I couldn’t do it without your support.
Is there any particular type of content you’d like to see… either new or more of? Do you have a tip or lesson you’ve learned you’d like to share? Please tell me in the comments below!