I have been an Instagram user since 2011 and have always enjoyed sharing posts with my friends and family. When I began my bullet journal earlier this year, I started using Instagram to search for ideas and was amazed at what I found. I wanted to be part of a creative community (and to avoid spamming my friends and family with endless photos of my journal!). This was what ultimately led me to create an Instagram account for my bullet journal in March.
My account is not breaking any records in terms of followers by any means. It has been growing slowly and steadily for five months. I’m about to hit 1000 followers, so I thought I would share my experiences of bullet journaling and Instagram. Hopefully this will provide some advice to anybody considering doing the same.
1. Post regularly.
Assuming that you are starting your Instagram account with a view of sharing your ideas and spreads with as many people as possible, it is a good idea to post new content daily so that others see your posts and hopefully even begin to look out for them. I used to post three times a day, but ultimately struggled to keep on top of that whilst busy. So now I generally post once a day. I live in the UK, so I try to post around 7-8pm when a) it’s convenient for me, and b) my posts are likely to be seen by both European and US followers.
That being said, quality is definitely more important than quantity. You are more likely to amass followers posting one high-quality and thoughtfully-captioned photo than spamming with 10 rushed images daily!
2. Take part in challenges.
The main reason I was so keen to use Instagram was to be part of a community that shares ideas and encourages creativity. One of the best ways to instantly be a part of this is by participating in one of the various monthly photo challenges that run on Instagram. Using the hashtag for that challenge immediately gives you the opportunity to see other people’s work, and, if you’re just starting out on Instagram, challenges can also give you some great ideas for content.
There are challenges out there for planning, journaling, lettering and calligraphy, doodling, and all sorts. So you are bound to find one for you. Excellent places to start are the #planwithmechallenge (@planwithmechallenge) and the #bohoberrychallenge (@boho.berry). They both large followings as well as open-ended prompts that you can interpret in any way you choose!
3. Be nice.
This should obviously go without saying. In my experience, the bullet journal/studygram community is one of the rare corners of the web that seems genuinely supportive, friendly, and troll-free. It definitely pays to be active in the community. You can do so by liking and commenting on posts that you enjoy and tagging other users whose work inspires you.
I would recommend following lots of accounts when you first join up, and use the “explore” function as well as hashtags to find accounts that you like. You will certainly find that, the more you follow, the more likely you are to get followers in return. But just following is not how you will become an active member of the community. Words of encouragement and appreciation go a long way in all walks of life, and Instagram is no different, so spread the love!
4. Share the work of others as well as your own stuff.
This is an extension of the previous point, really. The “stories” function on Instagram is such a great way to show your appreciation for others’ work. Yes, it might take a few minutes to put together a story shout-out for someone, but that acknowledgement is appreciated. It can also get you noticed in the community.
Equally, as mentioned earlier, tagging others when you’ve been inspired by a spread or page you’ve seen is only polite, and it’s a real confidence boost when somebody tags you! Inspiring each other is, after all, what we’re all about!
5. Be true to yourself.
Finally, remember why you’ve started this. Instagram, and specifically the bullet journal community, is meant to be fun. It’s meant to be creative, and it’s meant to be personal to you. If you ever feel as if your account is becoming a chore, then it’s probably time to step away!
I recently tried to change my “aesthetic” on my feed, thinking that my photos would look cleaner and more appealing if I used a white background. Whilst they may have looked a bit more professional, it just wasn’t me (I like my old wooden coffee table!). I realized I was in danger of caring more about what my photos looked like than about what I’m journaling for and how it helps me personally with organization, mental health, creative thinking, and so many other things.
If you have a knack for flatlays and professional photography, that’s fantastic! But don’t be put off if–like me–your photos might not look as professional as other accounts! What matters is that your account is working for you and enables you to have fun, share your ideas and, hopefully, make some new friends!
Happy bullet journaling!
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